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By Jefferson, Thomas; Pound, Ezra; Williams, William Carlos; Marsh, Alec; Pound, Ezra; Williams, William Carlos; Jefferson, Thomas

Marsh locates Pound and Williams firmly within the Jeffersonian culture and examines their epic poems as manifestations of a Jeffersonian ideology in modernist terms.

The modernist poets William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound have been latter-day Jeffersonians whose politics and poetry have been strongly marked by means of the populism of the overdue nineteenth century. They have been sharply conscious of the social contradictions of modernization and have been devoted to a hugely politicized, frequently polemical poetry that criticized finance capitalism and its institutions--notably banks--in the most powerful terms.

Providing a background of the aesthetics of Jeffersonianism and its collision with modernism within the works of Pound and Williams, Alec Marsh strains "the funds query" from the republican interval in the course of the Forties. Marsh can therefore learn modernist epics--Pound's Cantos and Williams's Paterson--as the poets was hoping they might be learn, as makes an attempt to wreck the carry of "false" monetary values at the American imagination.

Marsh argues that Pound's and Williams's comparable Jeffersonian outlooks have been the direct results of the political battles of the Nineties about the that means of cash. even supposing Pound's curiosity in funds and economics is widely known, few everyone is conscious that either poets have been lively within the Social credits monetary-reform stream of the Nineteen Thirties and Forties, a circulate proven by way of Marsh to have direct hyperlinks to Jeffersonianism through American populism.  eventually, the 2 poets took divergent paths, with Pound swerving towards Italian fascism (as exemplified in his Jefferson and/or Mussolini) and Williams changing into deeply motivated through the yank pragmatism of John Dewey. hence, Marsh concludes, Pound embraced the fascist model of state-capitalism while his previous buddy proclaimed a realistic openness to the recent selves engendered via company capitalism.

Money and Modernity exemplifies the simplest of contemporary literary feedback in its incorporation of yank stories and cultural reviews methods to deliver new perception to fashionable masterworks.

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Extra resources for Money and modernity : Pound, Williams, and the spirit of Jefferson

Sample text

The Jeffersonian version of the United States sought to limit the powers of finance because to its proponents finance capital represented British imperialism. ll At the same time, however, Jeffersonians recognized the need for the potential liberating power of a national, self-sufficient sort of capitalism, which they addressed in much the same ambivalent fashion as they did the federal government. The Jeffersonian slogan that the best government is that which governs least applies in effect to the financial side of capitalism-it is a necessary evil.

Debt decisively undermines, not the fact, but the meaning of production. It thus puts in question the integrity of experience and the evidence of the senses. Debt imposes arbitrary rules that effectively determine both the value of value and the reality of reality. Like its financial counterpart, cultural debt also generates an aes- 35 Jeffersonian Economics thetic of the unreal. "Men are driven to their fates by the qualities of their beliefs," Williams wrote. He meant that if our beliefs are derivative, if "the culture of immediacy, the active strain, which has left every relic of value which survives today," is overwhelmed by moneyed culture, as he believed, then "the success of [this) unrelated, borrowed, the would-be universal culture which [has been) imposed on men to impoverish them" will end up "disenfranchis[ing) their intelligences" (SE 148--49).

As Drew McCoy has pointed out, "The Jeffersonian vision grew out of an attempt to reconcile classical republicanism with more modern social realities and American conditions" (McCoy 10). Fully aware of these conditions, Jefferson understands that any attempt to "retard" the "natural" progress of what amounts to history itself cannot succeed. As we shall see, Jefferson's idealism is colored by a classical pessi- 16 Jeffersonian Economics mism absorbed from the Roman poets and their Whig popularizers.

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