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Modernism, Inflation and the Gold Standard in T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound

Modernism, Inflation and the Gold Standard in T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound The great inflation of the 1920s had a dramatic effect on Anglophone literary modernism. Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway all recognized that financial signs had come unmoored from any objective reference, and their work explores the literary implications of representation's newly autonomous, performative power. Pound blamed the economic and cultural crisis on ‘usury.’ Following Aristotle, he conceived of usury as the unnatural reproduction of autonomous representation, and thus as the antithesis of natural sexual and semiotic fertility. He particularly deplored the historical role played by Samuel Loyd, the Victorian head of Lloyds Bank, who had cunningly manipulated the gold standard in order to give control of the economy to ‘usurers.’ In his financial journalism for Lloyds Bank Monthly, Eliot used the gold standard as an economic logos in order to facilitate usury. Pound saw that Eliot's theory of the ‘objective correlative’ was incompatible with the referential model of representation assumed by the gold standard. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Modernism, Inflation and the Gold Standard in T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound

Modernist Cultures , Volume 16 (3): 24 – Aug 1, 2021

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2021.0337
Publisher site
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Abstract

The great inflation of the 1920s had a dramatic effect on Anglophone literary modernism. Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway all recognized that financial signs had come unmoored from any objective reference, and their work explores the literary implications of representation's newly autonomous, performative power. Pound blamed the economic and cultural crisis on ‘usury.’ Following Aristotle, he conceived of usury as the unnatural reproduction of autonomous representation, and thus as the antithesis of natural sexual and semiotic fertility. He particularly deplored the historical role played by Samuel Loyd, the Victorian head of Lloyds Bank, who had cunningly manipulated the gold standard in order to give control of the economy to ‘usurers.’ In his financial journalism for Lloyds Bank Monthly, Eliot used the gold standard as an economic logos in order to facilitate usury. Pound saw that Eliot's theory of the ‘objective correlative’ was incompatible with the referential model of representation assumed by the gold standard.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2021

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