‘No ideas but in things.’ One impact of this Emersonian clarion-call
by William Carlos Williams early in the twentieth century was the
demand for a more local version of modernism in poetry, one which
resisted the presumed universalising vagaries of more classicallyinformed
strivers after the ‘new’ like Eliot and Pound. In the more
intimately identifiable context of such ‘ideas’, ‘so much’was notoriously
taken to ‘depend’ upon practical and found objects in the
everyday world, without an irritable reaching after cultural, historical
or mythic correlatives which would serve to describe, in Eliot’s
phrase, ‘the mind of Europe’.
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