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Killing the MoonlightModernism in Venice$
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Jennifer Scappettone

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164320

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164320.001.0001

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From Passéism to Anachronism

From Passéism to Anachronism

Material Histories in Pound’s Venice

(p.196) 4 From Passéism to Anachronism
Killing the Moonlight

Jennifer Scappettone

Columbia University Press

This chapter looks at Ezra Pound's collection of poems about Venice, the place he credited with awakening his interest in “civilization.” His first collection establishes an archaeological process that would inform his entire work: the “mingled chords” drawn “from out the shadows of the past.” The antique cosmopolitan city of Venice offers an archive for these “mingled chords” that remains productive for the duration of Pound's career, although he never settles on a single meaning of the place. From his first collection through multiple phases of The Cantos, Venice appears as a repository of material histories that motivate Pound's open historiography. The chapter examines how Venice inspires Pound to poetic reanimation that challenges both backward- and forward-looking teleological approaches to time—approaches manifested in Gabriele D'Annunzio's restorative nostalgia, Futurism's projected obliteration of the past, and the instrumental historicism of the Fascist ventennio.

Keywords:   Ezra Pound, Venice, The Cantos, Gabriele D' Annunzio, Futurism, Fascist ventennio

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