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Ezra Pound on the antithesis of good and evil as the driver of history

Wednesday, 4 Dec 2013

Ezra Pound on Staff and Scrip, Dr John Dunn First posted on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 at 21:36

Ezra Pound by Gaudier-Brzeska

In a Visiting Card (1942),Pound describes historical events and conditions as products generated through the interaction of two antithetical forces:

  • We find two forces in history: one that divides, shatters, and kills, and one that contemplates the unity of the mystery....
  • There is the force that falsifies, the force that destroys every delineated symbol, dragging man into a maze of abstract arguments, destroying not one but every religion.
  • But the images of the gods, or Byzantine mosaics, move the soul to contemplation and preserve the tradition of the undivided light.
The rhetoric of antithesis is used here to build a polarised structure of values contrasting the sterile, labyrinthine, blurring, destructive, dark, hylic force, which Pound usually identifies with usury and personifies as “Usura” or “Geryon”, with the sacred, fecund, clear, dynamic force identified with the “unity of the mystery,” and symbolised by the “tradition of the undivided light”

(From Ezra Pound and the Occult by Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos)

Posted by John Dunn.

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