Guy Davenport: Postmodernism and After (Avant-Garde & - download pdf or read online

By Andre Furlani

ISBN-10: 0810123894

ISBN-13: 9780810123892

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Extra resources for Guy Davenport: Postmodernism and After (Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies)

Sample text

The historical referent in Davenport is obscure but not entirely inaccessible. The Ionian philosopher of “Herakleitos” may be a scarcely recoverable legend but he is denoted diachronically and realistically, a sustained and convincing literary impersonation consistent with what little is known of his namesake. In contrast to Robert Coover, William Gaddis, Thomas Pynchon, and Ishmael Reed, in whose novels meaning is not in the events but in the systems—frequently inimical—which confirm them as history, Davenport rarely focuses on the workings of institutional order.

But it is not merely that antiquity affords an approved cultural precedent for a liberal conception of sexuality. The archaic mind is for Davenport primitive to the very distinction isolating eros from other modes of cognition. His work depicts an archaic that is not mere retrospection but prospective, an exemplary unity of intellectual, creative, and sexual drives. The youths in Davenport are intelligent in large part because, like primitives, they have been permitted to learn from their bodies and with their bodies.

Davenport similarly wishes to perpetuate an inheritance for stimulus, direction, and the reverence that Marianne Moore exhibits when she pays her respects to the defenders of Greece “At Marathon”: “There are things one must not / leave undone, such as coming from Brooklyn / in one’s old age to salute the army / at Marathon. ” (Davenport 1986, 25). By adaptation of an ancient text, Davenport makes Pausanias a contemporary: cosmopolitan, eclectic, leisured, engrossed in particulars and their antedecents.

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Guy Davenport: Postmodernism and After (Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies) by Andre Furlani

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