Machine Art and Other Writings presents previously unpublished and rare writings by one of the literary giants of the modernist period, Ezra Pound. Written from the late 1920s to the early part of the 1940s, these essays, selected by Maria Luisa Ardizzone and including "Machine Art," "How To Write," "European Paideuma," and "Pragmatic Aesthetics," are typically Poundian in style-irascible, eccentric, and by turns both engaging and cryptic. Importantly, these essays from Pound's Italian years shed light both on the sections of the Cantos written in the late 1940s and on the underpinnings of his well-known anti-Semitism.
The essays in this volume address Pound's diverse aesthetic concerns, including his Vorticism and his criticism of Western metaphysics, his advancement of the machine as a new criterion for beauty, his encounter with the German Bauhaus movement, and his search for a type of writing ruled by mathematical rather than grammatical laws. Machine Art and Other Writings documents the wide proportions of Pound's polemic against the abstractions of modernism and reveals the extent to which he was at odds with the metaphysical assumptions of his time. The volume, edited by Ardizzone, is the result of years of systematic and intensive study of Pound's manuscripts, including glosses from the texts of his personal library. Proposing an unconventional approach to Pound studies that focuses on marginality and intertextuality, she subverts the canonical hierarchy of Pound's works by revealing the power of texts considered marginalia.
General readers, students and scholars in the fields of European and American modernism, aesthetics, the history of technology, and art history, as well as Pound specialists and the many poets and writers influenced by Pound, will greet the publication of Machine Art and Other Writings with interest and anticipation.