Jacqueline A. Pollard

Modernisms, Museums, & Mingus

T.S. Eliot: Complete Prose online: it’s coming this summer!

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on June 17, 2014

. . .and Project Muse is making it available to individuals as well as institutions.

Some of the finest Eliot scholars, under the direction of Ronald Schuchard, have been working on collecting and editing Eliot’s essays, articles, lectures, reviews . . . and the entire corpus (I think so, anyway) will be published electronically. The collection will consist of eight volumes total, but they’ll be published in sets of two, not all at once. The first two volumes will roll out late July/early August this year.

If you hit Project Muse’s “about” page concerning the project, you’ll see that individuals can access the collection for $90.00 a year if they subscribe by 01/01/1.

I’m so excited.

Posted in Academia, Criticism, Culture, Dante, Literature, Modernism, Reading, T. S. Eliot | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A *Year*?

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on June 16, 2014

Goodness gracious but time–it flies. An actual year since I’ve posted?

I was distracted from my Barnes/Nightwood project because, first, I moved house (I’m a homeowner now!), and I was assigned a full course load. Of course, between these two items, I did little outside of teach and pack/unpack.  What I have done that isn’t work/home related is this: painting. I’ve been producing hard edged abstract paintings like mad for the past six months, so I may well be posting photos of one or two that I think have some kind of merit.

I do plan on restarting the Nightwood annotations shortly. Before I do, I’m traveling to England and to Italy for a few weeks. It’s time to revisit some old friends and favorite spots. I’m away tomorrow, so wish me well!

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TSE — the T. S. Eliot Listserv

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on August 25, 2013

A PSA:
After nearly 20 years of existence, the T. S. Eliot listserv (TSE), sponsored by U of Missouri, remains a viable, vibrant intellectual community. Its members include non-academics, poets, students, tenured academics, retirees, and independent scholars.

If you’d like to question, challenge, argue, or deconstruct Eliot’s poetry, plays, or criticism, know that new voices are always appreciated.

To join the TSE listerv, visit this page.

Posted in Criticism, Culture, Literature, Modernism, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Baron Guido, Genuflexion, & the Innere Stadt

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on June 14, 2013

What follows involves, mostly, some playing with the Oxford English Dictionary. The online version of  the Oxford English Dictionary. I also reference page numbers here that belong to the New Directions edition of Nightwood (preface by Jeanette Winterson).


Genuflexion
   a. The action of kneeling or bending the knee, esp. in worship.  b. Surg. A forcible bending of the knee as a curative measure in popliteal aneurysm (OED)

“Guido had lived as all Jews do”  A reference to the historical treatment of the Jewish people who, often exiled, ghettoized, and victimized, were branded as “Other” See A History of the Jews, by Abram Leon Sachar (a copy of which belonged to Barnes) for detailed accounts.

Barony  1. The domain of a baron  3. The rank or dignity of baron; the office of Baron of the Exchequer; baronship. 4. The tenure by which a baron held of his superior; military or other ‘honourable’ tenure (OED).

Baron  1. Hist. Originally, one who held, by military or other honourable service, from the king or other superior; afterwards restricted to the former or king’s barons, and at length mostly applied to the greater of these (the Great Barons) who personally attended the Great Council, or, from the time of Henry III, were summoned by writ to Parliament; hence, a lord of Parliament, a noble, a peer. 2 a. A specific order or rank, being the lowest grade of nobility.From the earliest period we find baron distinguished from earl, as the designation of an untitled military tenant; the name may be considered to have itself become a title, as distinct from a description of feudal relationship or of parliamentary privilege, with the creation of barons by patent, which began in the reign of Richard II.  2 b. A magnate in commerce, finance, or the like; a great merchant in a certain commodity, usu. defined by a qualifying word, as beef baron, coal baron. (Cf. king n. 6a) orig. U.S. (OED).

“He adopted the sign of the cross”  At the time of the novel’s opening, Viennese law forbade marriages between Jews and Christians: “for a mixed couple to marry, one of the partners had to convert either to the religion of the other or to the neutral category, Konfessionslos, ‘without religious affiliation’” (Rozenblit 128). The law also points toward the trend for assimilation amongst Jewish Austrians.

Coat of Arms  The coat of arms is described a few pages later, “[i]nto the middle of each desk silver-headed brads had been hammered to form a lion, a bear, a ram, a dove, and in their midst a flaming torch. The design was executed under the supervision of Guido who, thinking on the instant, claimed it as the Volkbein field, though it turned out to be a bit of heraldry long since in decline beneath the papal frown” (Barnes 8).

“One branch of his family had bloomed in Rome” See Nightwood’s earlier reference to the Roman races. See also the comparison of Guido to “certain flowers”

“Her goose-step of a stride”   Goose-step:  Mil.  a. An elementary drill in which the recruit is taught to balance his body on either leg alternately, and swing the other backwards and forwards.  b. A balance step, practised esp. by various armies in marching on ceremonial parades, in which the legs are alternately advanced without bending the knees (OED).

  • Although armies throughout Europe and the East used the Goose-step to varying degrees, the march is most keenly identified with the Prussian military (Davies).

“A house in the Inner City”  The Inner City (Innere Stadt) was a privileged area of Vienna that “housed many aristocrats, and [which] became the home of the richest Viennese” (Rozenblit 73).

The Volkbein home “overlook[s] the Prater, and, essentially, the site of the Viennese ghetto. Vienna’s grand park, the Prater, is located in the zone known as Leopoldstadt, which made up a large part of the ghetto in the seventeenth century. In the 1920s, Jewish writer Joseph Roth wrote that the Leopoldstadt, the home of “immigrant Jewry,” acted as “a sort of voluntary ghetto” (Roth 55).

The Inner City, Vienna

The Inner City, Vienna

Posted in Djuna Barnes, Fiction, Literature, Modernism, Nightwood, Reading, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trying out Google+

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on June 10, 2013

As if I’ve not enough of a social media presence: Jacqueline A. Pollard

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Accounts of Some Strange Disturbances

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on June 6, 2013

I’m sharing here:

There’s a new site that focuses on short supernatural fiction–Accounts of Some Strange Disturbances–that I recommend highly.  The site, created and operated by Steve Luttrell, focuses on critical readings of stories by the likes of Robert Aikman, Edgar Allan Poe, Fritz Lieber, Shirley Jackson, and, of course, HP Lovecraft. If you’re interested in genre fiction, give the site a view.

Enjoy!

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“Great & Mighty Things”

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on June 3, 2013

Only five days remain until it ends, but if you can make it to the Philadelphia Museum of Art before June 9th, you can see the exhibit  “Great and Mighty Things.

The show features what used to be called “folk art,” but which now is more commonly known as “outsider art”; that is,  it’s produced by self-taught artists who are, generally, uneducated, and poor. Quite often, they’re members of minority or immigrant communities. Their media include corrugated siding, house paint, paper scraps, or chicken bones.

The majority of the artists in this show haven’t displayed their works in galleries or profited financially from their crafts. There are exceptions, such as Howard Finster, who made a tidy sum after being “discovered” in the 1970s. (He  created the album art for R.E.M.’s Reckoning and Talking Heads’ Little Creatures). However, the majority of the art on display has been created by often-isolated and unknown artists–street preachers, the mentally ill, the physically disabled, the extremely poor–who channeled their energies into paintings and sculptures that alternate between vivacious and contemplative, spiritual and bawdy.

My favorite piece: the smiling, energetic BOFFO by William L. Hawkins (totally the show’s star).  A close second: the charming lynx by Felipe Benito Archuleta.

The exhibition’s artist list is here.

Aside: for a rather condescending (privilieged, perhaps) review of Hawkins’s work, see Grace Glueck’s article in The New York Times of October, 1997.

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Guido in the Prater, Part II

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on May 31, 2013

“Racial memories”  Refers to then-current psychological theories:  such memories are elements of the collective unconscious through which we instinctively “know” the ancient past.

In a 1922 lecture, “On the Relation of Analytical Psychology in Poetry,” Carl Jung defines the collective unconscious as “a sphere of unconscious mythology whose primordial images are the inheritance of all mankind . . . . a potentiality handed down to us from primordial times in the specific form of mnemonic images or inherited in the anatomical structure of the brain” (Jung 80). There are no inborn ideas, but there are inborn possibilities of ideas . . . . a priori ideas, as it were, the existence of which cannot be ascertained except from their effects” (80-81). In 1932 essay on Pablo Picasso, Jung praised the artist’s abilities to evoke “memories of the blood” that, if recalled, might “restor[e] the whole man” (140). It is arguable whether Nightwood’s evocations of “blood” or “racial” memories”  offer any restorative effect.

The Prater  Vienna’s grand park, the Prater, is located in the city zone known as Leopoldstadt, which made up a large part of the ghetto in the seventeenth century. In the 1920s, Jewish writer Joseph Roth wrote that the Leopoldstadt, the home of “immigrant Jewry,” acted as “a sort of voluntary ghetto” (Roth 55).

“the exquisite handkerchief of yellow and black linen”  The handkerchiefs represent the “Jew badge,” a medieval method of differentiating between Christians and Jews, which the Nazis appropriated and mandated  in 1939.  The primary motivation of this edict lay in the prevention of accidental sexual relationships between “Jews and Saracens” and Christians (Kisch 111).

Pietro Barbo  A Venetian elected Pope in 1464. He took the name of Paul II.

“The ordinance of 1468″  Pietro Barbo instigated the races as an element of the winter festival of Saturnalia in 1466 (Kertzer 74). Plumb notes the discrepancy in Barnes’s dating of the event in 1468, and suggests that the 1466 races “appear to be the ordinance that Barnes refers to, though the dates are not exact” (Plumb 212). Hanrahan further questions how Barnes arrived at 1468 and claims that “No explanation has ever been proposed for the enigmatic date of the ordinance, which corresponds to no recognizable historical referent” (36). Please see the longer entry here for a more detailed discussion and sourcing of Barnes’s reference.

Piazza Montanara” Area of Rome, “on the very confines of the Ghetto” (Story 409). The location of an open market attended by the peasantry.

“Roba vecchia!”  “Old things,” presumably, items for sale at the Pizza Montanara market.

Posted in Art, Djuna Barnes, Fiction, Literature, Modernism, Nightwood, Reading, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Guido in the Prater, Part I

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on May 29, 2013

All about Nightwood:

Following up on the introduction of Guido Volkbein in chapter one:

“burgundy, schlagsahne, and beer”  Granted, a bit obvious, but Guido, “a gourmet and a dandy,” enjoys his wines, whipped cream, and ale.

The Prater  Vienna’s grand park, the Prater, is located in the city zone known as Leopoldstadt, which made up a large part of the ghetto in the seventeenth century. In the 1920s, Joseph Roth wrote that the Leopoldstadt, the home of “immigrant Jewry,” acted as “a sort of voluntary ghetto” (Roth 55).

“the exquisite handkerchief of yellow and black linen”  The handkerchiefs represent the “Jew badge,” a medieval method of differentiating between Christians and Jews, which the Nazis appropriated and mandated  in 1939. The primary motivation of this edict lay in the prevention of accidental sexual relationships between “Jews and Saracens” and Christians (Kisch 111).

Posted in Art, Djuna Barnes, Literature, Modernism, Nightwood, Reading, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Introducing Guido Volkbein (briefly)

Posted by Jacqueline Pollard on May 28, 2013

Nightwood  introduces us first to Hedvig Volkbein then to her husband, Guido. While Guido follows Hedvig, he is the character who leads us into the novel’s themes (“Guido” =  “I lead,” “I guide”). Guido is Jewish and “of Italian descent”; his ancestry will be detailed in a separate post.

Some readers suggest that the first chapter’s emphasis on the Volkbeins (as well as its discussion of Judaism/ Christianity) is Barnes’s attempt to obscure gay and lesbian content (Abraham 199). [1]  However, evidence suggests that Barnes developed Nightwood from a proposed work of historical fiction about a Viennese “Court Jew.” In late 1930, Barnes applied for a Guggenheim Fellowship in order “To visit Austria, Vienna, to make a study of pre-war conditions, intrigues, and relations then existing between the Jews and the Court, tracing the interweaving between the two, for a book in progress whose chief figure is an Austrian Jew” (qtd. in Trubowitz 311, Plumb vii-viii).

Side note:  Although Guido has married an Austrian woman, in 1880, the time of the novel’s opening, Viennese law forbade marriages between Jews and Christians: “for a mixed couple to marry, one of the partners had to convert either to the religion of the other or to the neutral category, Konfessionslos, ‘without religious affiliation’” (Rozenblit 128).


[1] Jane Marcus, for example, asserts that “the ‘political unconscious’ of Nightwood is located in its supposedly irrelevant first chapter, meant to disguise its existence as a lesbian novel” (229).

Posted in Art, Criticism, Djuna Barnes, Literature, Modernism, Nightwood | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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