The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukofsky
A paradox: Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Louis Zukofsky all wrote their central works to be "masterpieces," synoptic views of the world that would change the very consciousness of the public. And yet these writings are so hard to read that instead of producing social change, they have produced critical industries dedicated to decoding them.
In new, provocative readings of these demanding authors, Bob Perelman shows how the inaccessibility of their writing reveals the conflict between the goals of social relevance and literary innovation. As self-proclaimed geniuses, they used language in new ways that were inevitably incomprehensible to the large audiences that they sought to instruct, change, or simply dazzle. By seeing genius as a role that is simultaneously social and poetic, Perelman reads the difficulty of their works as rooted in the cultural relationship between authors and their readers.
Perelman's brilliant analysis offers scholars new insight and opens these works to readers who have been frustrated by their difficulty. The Trouble with Genius is one poet's passionate attempt to make sense of the stylistic and political challenge of these modernists and to find, although not uncritically, the value of their work for readers and writers today.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Pound and the Language of Genius
Joyces Sins Ulysses as a Novel
Seeing What Gertrude Stein Means
The Allegory of Louis Zukofsky
Other editions - View all
aesthetic allegory anti-Semitism artist assertion audience authority become Bloom career chapter Charles Olson Circe claims complete contemporary context conventional critical cultural display Eliot embodies epic Ezra Pound fact Fascism final Finnegans Wake genius Gertrude Stein gesture Guy Davenport Hell Cantos Homer Hugh Kenner ideogram irony James Joyce Joyce Joyce's Kenner Kulchur labor language letter light lines literary literature look Louis Zukofsky lyricism marriage matter meaning ment modernist Molly Molly's Mussolini narrative nature Objectivists passage Penelope phrase Pisan Cantos play plot poem poet poet's poetic poetry political Poundian present prose quoted readers reference rhetoric rhyme rose seems sense sentence sexual simply social society speech Stein's writing Stephen story styles stylistic symbolic syntax T. S. Eliot Tender Buttons thing tion Toklas transcendent translation Ulysses University Press verbal voice Wandering Rocks words written wrote York Zukofsky Zukofsky's