Wed, 13 Oct 1999 12:05:55 -0400 (EDT) ON THE QUESTION OF MODERNISM AND 'THE HISTORICAL' ------------------------------------------------ 88'ers: On the question of "history" and modernism. This is a huge, tough question. I'm almost sorry I raised it! It's particularly difficult to think of Stein's writing in relation to what might be called the "historical imperative." She does raise the issue in her generalizations on composition but she only inconsistently *applies* the idea in her writing. I'd only say this, by way of a start on the topic: a language-conscious or language-centered or language-sensitive or linguistically self-reflexive modernist piece of writing is going to convey a sense of the way 'the social' is constructed through the words people use. That's the kind of historical immediacy--living history through composition--Stein means *at* *the* *very* least. I don't know if the above makes sense, but I tried. Remember the last lines of the Picasso portrait. What "history" (that is to say, historians or writers of history) needs to understand about itself is that its process is narrative. Never assume narrative as natural; never naturalize narrative. If you do, the grammar will turn and attack you! --Al Al had written: |The one place where "Metro" fails to embody Stein's high standards for |what composition is...is my favorite part: |of the time in which they are living |--a phrase that seems to suggest that the composition must be historical |in some sense; must show the traces or inscriptions of history. "Metro" I | think fails on that score. Alberto responded: > How historical is historical? Pound's poem (and its title) is well placed > in a recognizable historical moment. It doesn't seem to have the weight of > a momentous event, no kings nor wars, but it does have universality. What > does "traces or inscriptions of history" mean?