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Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and the Crowd

Holland, Tom (2004) Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and the Crowd. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

While the work of Pound and Lewis has often been read as the expression of 'high' literary culture's desire to erect a barrier against the incursions of the masses, this thesis argues that if we place their work in the context of the early twentieth-century dialogue on the crowd, the relationship between modernism and the masses . appears more complex. For both authors, their engagement with the apparition of the crowd, and the lessons they believed artists must learn from crowd culture, were key to their development. Chapter 1 positions Pound's Lustra in the context of continental and American ideas about crowds and argues that this collection is best understood as an ambiguous response to a new world where engagement with crowds is essential. Chapter 2 argues that Lewis's early texts should likewise be read in the context of the crowd, and that his experiments of Blast can be read as attempts to show readers how to master the emerging 'crowd-mind'. Chapter 3 examines the impact of the war crowds, and shows how Lewis engages with post-war London where ideas about the death of the ,crowd had taken on an immediate cultural urgency. It argues that, as particular visions of crowd-being faded from the political scene, the crowd, too, faded from the focus of literary modernism. The thesis cohcludes by speculating on the fate and future-if any-of crowd writing. An appendix presents a text of Wyndham Lewis's unpublished 'Cantelman: Crowd Master' prepared from the manuscripts in Cornell University Library.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.485098
Depositing User: EThOS Import (York)
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2015 17:23
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2015 17:23
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11053

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