This essay explores the development of a post-WWII aesthetic in relation to the Pound controversy, beginning with Shapiro’s dissenting vote as a member of the Bollingen committee — a vote he believed ruined his career. This is a two-part story, having first to do with the liberal response to modernism’s infatuation with the extreme right, and then with the poetic and critical reaction to liberalism. Liberal critics defended Pound by characterizing poetry as a form of individual expression. Later critics and poets abandoned the discourse of individualism for the group-specific language of identity. Shapiro makes this shift in reverse. He voted against Pound as a Jew voting against an anti-Semite. But when identity became fashionable he abandoned it as a poetically and politically suspect form of personification. The essay concludes by comparing the lyricism of identity to individualistic verse by considering Shapiro’s relation to Bollingen committee members Auden and Lowell.


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pp. 1-30
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