Typology and the Modern Artist: Vasari, Burckhardt, Pound
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Since the 1980s, a central problem has generated much debate among scholars of literary modernism: how to reconcile the poetic and aesthetic innovations of modernists such as W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and Ezra Pound, among others, with the controversial political and economic views such writers espoused in the first half of the twentieth century. Pound’s blatant anti-Semitism and fascism as well as his affiliations with Mussolini make him the paradigmatic enigma in such debates over the relation of politics to aesthetics, and many have argued these factors ought to influence our judgment and acceptance of his poetry. Pound saw himself and other modern artists as capable of rewriting history and redeeming society through art. He also believed artists could influence those in power to reshape the political order based on aesthetic principles. In short, for Pound the artist (including himself) was the type most capable of fulfilling the social roles of historian, courtier, and saint. Still inexplicable to many, Pound eventually supported fascist Italy, believing it recognized the true value of the artist for the life of the nation.
KeywordsMiddle Period Modern Artist Typological Structure Cultural Nationalism Individual Artist
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