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Modernism, antisemitism and Jewish identity in the writing and publishing of John Rodker

Williams, Dominic Paul (2004) Modernism, antisemitism and Jewish identity in the writing and publishing of John Rodker. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the relationship between the English Jewish writer and publisher John Rodker and the modernism of the Pound circle. Previous considerations of the antisemitism of Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot have either ignored or cited in their defence their Jewish friends and acquaintances. This thesis shows that the modernist interest in the figure of `the Jew' took effect not only in their poetry and social commentary but also in the social grouping which they formed in order to produce and circulate this writing. Rodker was both a necessary figure to Pound's theory and practice of modernism, but one who had to be kept on the margins. This resulted in his being able to articulate certain aspects of his experience as an assimilated Jew-loss, disconnection, feeling out of place place-while excluding any other possible aspects, including naming himself as Jewish. Chapter 1 shows that Pound and Eliot's antisemitic statements and poetry functioned as part of the formation of the `men of 1914', and as a means of shocking their audience through a poetry of ugliness. Chapter 2 considers a printing error in Rodker's Ovid Press edition of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), and reads it as a sign of Pound's failure to carry out his social and poetic project, a failure which he blamed on Jews, but, because this failure was inevitable, part of the task for carrying the project out was assigned to Jews. Chapter 3 reads Rodker's volume of poetry Hymns (1920), and traces how his marginal position within modernism resulted in a poetry which did not directly address Jewish issues, but was affected by his Jewish social position. Chapter 4 considers Rodker and two other Jewish writers, Carl Rakosi and Louis Zukofsky, who Pound published in The Exile (1927- 28), showing that Pound's interest in these writers was combined with an unease with them that played out in editorial decisions and means of framing their work. Chapter 5 examines Rodker's Memoirs of Other Fronts (1932). His selfdescriptions of himself as a foreigner are shown to be still influenced by the Pound circle's ideas of Jews, but also reworked through his increasing interest in psychoanalysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > University of Leeds Research Centres and Institutes > Institute for Advanced Study in Art (Leeds) > Centre for Jewish Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2009 17:06
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:43
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/414

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