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‘The pilot's periplus’: Ezra Pound, Cyril Connolly, and the Forms of Late Modernist Travel

‘The pilot's periplus’: Ezra Pound, Cyril Connolly, and the Forms of Late Modernist Travel <jats:p> This article argues that unexamined connections between Ezra Pound and Cyril Connolly illuminate a remodelling of form in late modernist travel writing, in a period when the genre was threatened by wartime restrictions on movement. In Cyril Connolly's The Unquiet Grave (1944) and Ezra Pound's The Pisan Cantos (1948), the ‘intellectual voyage’ becomes a compensatory response to the authors’ enforced stasis during the Second World War, and to their separation from those places in Europe whose influence was integral to their aesthetic sensibilities. Both writers adapt some of the formal strategies of high modernism to respond to this. The resulting late modernist form might be thought of as a ‘periplus’: like the navigational chart, it is shaped by a subjective ‘pilot's perspective’, and in communicating the writers’ journeys it relies on the affective quality of movement. In both works, structural and figurative motifs of the waveform in states of flux and recession reflect the writers’ compromising positions between nostalgia or escapism, and innovation. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

‘The pilot's periplus’: Ezra Pound, Cyril Connolly, and the Forms of Late Modernist Travel

Modernist Cultures , Volume 12 (2): 275 – Jul 1, 2017

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2017
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2017.0171
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> This article argues that unexamined connections between Ezra Pound and Cyril Connolly illuminate a remodelling of form in late modernist travel writing, in a period when the genre was threatened by wartime restrictions on movement. In Cyril Connolly's The Unquiet Grave (1944) and Ezra Pound's The Pisan Cantos (1948), the ‘intellectual voyage’ becomes a compensatory response to the authors’ enforced stasis during the Second World War, and to their separation from those places in Europe whose influence was integral to their aesthetic sensibilities. Both writers adapt some of the formal strategies of high modernism to respond to this. The resulting late modernist form might be thought of as a ‘periplus’: like the navigational chart, it is shaped by a subjective ‘pilot's perspective’, and in communicating the writers’ journeys it relies on the affective quality of movement. In both works, structural and figurative motifs of the waveform in states of flux and recession reflect the writers’ compromising positions between nostalgia or escapism, and innovation. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2017

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