A Comparative Approximation to the Chronotope of Pound’s Cantos
Pound’s vision of human history in Cantos challenges the clichéd assumption that the very phrase "American canon" (civilizational, historical, socio-political, philosophical, or aesthetic)
implies a foregone contemptuous oxymoron. As a long poem, it functions organically in the continuum of the American epic tradition founded by the Hartford Wits. The fundamental chronotope of Pound’s modern epic transforms the Enlightenment progressivist impulse of imperium sine fine dedi into a demiurgic discourse-centric "a continuous present" time based on Homer’s canon of in medias res. A multilevel artistic
chronotope in the Cantos is made up of and guided by the tenet of interaction, transfusion of the lyrical and the epic, the autobiographical and the historical, the fictional and the documentary components It is built on the modernist principle of montage that essentially depends on the demiurge concept and radically differs from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist, and Romantic long poems. It is against this backdrop of proleptic and etiological poetics in traditional epics and the function of the author’s word therein that constitutively original techniques of modern epic are made so pronouncedly perceived, including montage and kaleidoscopic optics, spontaneity of poetic expression, combination of social and artistic, self-conscious reflexivity, distrust of the consistency in the author or the speaker’s narrative. However, an opposite and reverse movement of parts can be traces down to even to the old-English long poems. Similarly, a shuttle-like or versified view of history as eternal repetition informs the chronotope of the Cantos. Pound employs versification as a derivative from versus, i. e. return, and follows the patterns of refrain-centered models of European fixed poetic forms which are extensively represented in the historical discourse of the poem. In the poems of Tychyna, Kyivan neoclassicists, and Mandelstam, this idea is embodied in isomorphic images of soil and plow that symbolize both the modernist demiurgic potential of the word to create worlds anew and the tragic fate of the Ukrainian "Executed Renaissance," expressed through the polysemantic boustrophedon-like images that seamlessly suggest the connotational halo of plow, arable land and versification.
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