Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

School of English Research Seminar

Alex Davis (UCC) Collaborator: Ezra Pound, Translation, and Uncreative Writing

This paper addresses Pound in relation to that which Claire Davison calls the practice of ‘collaborative translation’ undertaken by many modernist authors. Whereas Davison’s concern is collaboration between living writers (Virginia Woolf’s and Katherine Mansfield’s partnership with S. S. Koteliansky), I will largely discuss Pound’s creative partnership with the dead. While such an alliance may strike us a somewhat one-sided affair, Pound’s translation of deceased precursors partakes of the kind of collaboration posited by Eliot, in ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ and elsewhere in his critical writings, in which, in Richard Badenhausen’s summary, ‘a reciprocity exists between dead writer and practicing artist, a relationship that readjusts past and present texts and the entire line of literary tradition’. Furthermore, I read Pound’s practice as a translator in relation to his influential development of a poetics of appropriation – the importation of others’ texts into his own – beginning with his composition of the Malatesta Cantos in 1922 and 1923: a collaborative endeavour that I suggest, by means of a comparison with the displacement of pre- existing or ‘found’ materials in the recent conceptual or ‘uncreative’ writing of Kenneth Goldsmith, has a significant relationship with the growing anti-capitalism of his epic poem, The Cantos.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 3-4pm
Location: Room 2.12 O'Rahilly Building
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Clíona Ó Gallchoir
021 4902664

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