[ilds] Gifford's "Late Modernism's Migrations"

James Gifford james.d.gifford at gmail.com
Tue May 5 14:40:43 PDT 2015


On 2015-05-02 11:33 AM, Bruce Redwine wrote:
> Thanks for the elaboration.  As you quote below, Durrell’s letter to
> Miller suggests that he already had in mind his “Heraldic Universe” when
> he shot off a response to Herbert Read’s ideas about the artist as
> “Marxian Socialist.”  Clearly, Durrell and Read had incompatible
> philosophies about the role of the artist.

I'd only add that Read changed his mind shortly thereafter, and he 
became a backer of the same groups inspired by Durrell and Miller, 
flexing his editorial muscle at Routledge to boost them.  Antliff has 
argued Read was only expressing that particularly vision in order to 
find common ground in a "big tent" move with the surrealists.  I suspect 
that's right, but I also think Miller gave him the shot of adrenaline 
that set things in motion.

> It’s fascinating to watch this “network” evolve over space and time, if
> you will.  There’s a certain grandeur to what was taking place during
> the 30s, 40s, and 50s among a small group of artists.  Nowadays all such
> activity has shrunk and diminished.

Our modern media does make it a bit more difficult, and I also suspect 
it's harder for us to see it when it's happening.  I'm reminded, though, 
of a recent book on Langston Hughes' support for Drum magazine in South 
Africa, and I wonder how much of that interaction is going on unnoticed? 
  On a small scale, I see that boosterism based on personal 
relationships all around, but I don't know if it breaks through to the 
mainstream successes we'd notice easily.  We might, per RW's post, 
notice the friendship behind Amis and Hitchens' "network," but it can be 
hard to spot them from the outside at the time...

Best,
James


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