Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Modernists? Anti-modernists, More Like.

T.S. Eliot and I infiltrated a top-secret hotel and sat in an annexe to the room in which experiments were being performed on pigs...

Eliot got into my dreams because I went to sleep wondering why we use the word modernist of a bunch of writers who all hated the modern world.  Here's Eliot and he aspires to be a 17th century Anglican  and here's Ezra Pound and he wants nothing better than to be a 11th century troubador and here's Yeats and he wants to perne in a gyre back to Byzantium-  and- great poets though they all are- I can't see how they're so very different in their world view from medievalising Victorians like Rossetti and Morris   Then again, here are writers like Kipling and Wells- who are interested in mechanized warfare and contemporary politics and science and bicycles and motor cars- and we deny them the label.  Another thing about the so-called modernists is that a lot of them were very right-wing- by which I mean borderline fascist (or in the case of Pound whole-heartedly fascist).  And anti-semitic. Which puts them absolutely on the wrong side of history. (Kipling was an imperialist and Wells had totalitarian tendencies but both had too much taste to see anything attractive in Signor Mussolini or Sir Oswald Mosley or the guy for whom Yeats wrote marching songs.)   So the writers who really engage with modernity are called traditionalists or something like that, and the ones who reject it are called modernists. It doesn't make the least bit of sense.
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