This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Guy Davenport's narratives are hybrids of ﬁction, documentary, poem, and illustration, A disciple of Ezra Pound, he adapts to the short story the ideogrammatic method of The Cantos, where a grammar of images, emblems, and symbols replaces that of logical sequence. This grammar allows for the grafting of particulars into a congeries of implied relation without subordination. In contrast to postmodernists, Davenport does not omit causal connection and linear narrative continuity for the sake of an aleatory play of signiﬁcation but in order to intimate by combinational logic kinships and correspondences among eras, ideas and forces. His collages (he calls them "assemblages of fact and necessary ﬁction") are arbitrary without being gratuitous, play proceeding in them under the auspices of emancipatory containment. These features of Davenport's experimentation are revealed in three exemplary texts. Although rich meditations on squandered or misdirected cultural possibility, each is encomiastic and prospective r ather than elegiac and nostalgic. Davenport summons and rechannels dormant energies released by his archival subjects--the Vorticist art of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, the discovery of the Aurignacian cave paintings at Lascaux, and the utopian project of Charles Fourier. Assemblage For Guy Davenport "every force evolves a form." It is typical of him, who makes this epigram the title both of an essay and of a book, to ﬁnd a contemporary avant-garde formula not in, say, Shklovsky, Marinetti, or Rimbaud but in the founder of the Shakers, Mother Ann Lee. He scarcely trusts an idea that is not on closer inspection an old one. For Davenport it is always later the same day. He shares with the modernists a disposition towards syncretic structures. A Lascaux aurochs and a Picasso bull share their pigment; a Pre-Socratic fragment and a Wittgenstein Zettel share their ink."A work of art," Davenport claims in the forward to Every Force Evolves a Form, "is a
form that articulates forces, making them intelligible" (xi). Seeking out forms that might faithfully correspond to the range of forces inhering in his literary subjects, he follows his modernist precursors in assuming that a new subject entails the renegotiation of formal convention. As a consequence, his is one of the most eclectic and innovative bodies of ﬁction in contemporary American literature. Indeed, he has renegotiated the conventions distinguishing prose from verse. During a period when the ﬁrst person present retrospective narrative has nearly monopolized American short ﬁction, he has almost entirely eschewed the subgenre, except to adapt it. (Thus the youths who narrate "The River" and "O Gadjo Niglo" omit all punctuation except the period and the question mark.) He prefers to draw on much more heterogeneous stylistic instigations, such as surrealism, hexameter mime, formalism, dramatic monologue, classical e clogue, collage, Roman cento, Japanese renka, postcard, imaginary dialogue, Hellenistic philosophical sketch, and journal. In Davenport, collage structures predominate. Encouraged by William Carlos Williams's maverick deﬁance of the proprieties separating verse from prose, he has treated the story in a kindred way. In narratives inspired as much by modernist painting and poetry as by ﬁction, he juxtaposes a variety of discontinuous and discrete writings and images. Laurence Zachar argues that Davenport's writing is situated "aux frontieres intergeneriques" where manifold modes are brought into concord: "L'etonnant chez Davenport est la facon don't ce materiau qui parait l'incarnation meme du chaos--hermetique, enigmatique, obscur, avec son tropplein de references--se revele en fait etre construit, ordonne, structure. Plus l'on s'y plonge, et plus l'on distingue de cohesion dans le texte" 'What astonishes in Davenport is the way in which material that seems the very incarnation of chaos--hermetic, enigmatic, obscure, with its proliferation of allusions--in fact reveals itself to be constructed, organized, structured. The more on e immerses oneself in them the more one discerns the texts' cohesion, (62). Davenport also works along the intergeneric border between text and graphic, for he illustrates many of his texts. (1) "The prime use of words is for imagery: my writing is drawing," he states in an interview (Hoeppfner 123). Visual imagery is not subordinated to writing in Davenport, who draws on the assemblage practice of superimposing image and writing. "I trust the image; my business is to get it onto the page," he writes in the essay "Ernst Machs Max Ernst." "A page, which I think of as a picture, is essentially a texture of images. [...]The text of a story is therefore a continuous graph, kin to the imagist poem, to a collage (Ernst, Willi Baumeister, El Lissitzky), a page of
for example. or globe. This is the Poundian aesthetic Charles Olson attempted to translate into practical pedagogical terms as rector of Black Mountain College. image and sense to the fullest. the artists involved would say) that the world is opaque" (Geography 311). fusing matter and manner. that is. Davenport once offered a course with the Olsonian title "The Poem as a Field of Force. Particularity rather than abstraction discovers the orders of the real. that creates a new light. Architectonic form derives from modernist experiments in disrupted perspective (as. as Olson explained in a 1952 letter. to allow meaning to be searched out" (57-58). not the elements. ﬁrst. For him writing can enter into an isomorphic relationship with nature and a cosmos which is itself conceived of as a harmonization of independent forces. Genius always proceeds by faith" (312). rather than along a line" (318). when they see the possibilities of making a hieroglyph. a coherent symbol. a Brakhage ﬁlm" (Geography 374-75).Pound. and passages of dialogue than in the content of these elements. . Davenport calls his compositional principle "architectonic form. In architectonic form. and available to lucid thoughts and language. on the "principle that the real existence of knowledge lies between things & is not conﬁned to labeled areas" (quoted in Duberman 341). a school organized. "It is the conjunction. The essence of such art "is that it conceals what it most wishes to show. At the University of Kentucky (where he taught for most of his academic career)." (2) In the essay "Narrative Tone and Form." Davenport says in an essay on poet Ronald Johnson (194). A symbol comes into being when an artist sees that it is the only way to get all the meaning in. "The architectonics of a narrative." The force remains for him immanent in matter rather than transcendent in spirit. citation. The unparaphrasable architectonic text "differs from other narrative in that the meaning shapes into a web. an ideogram of the total work. With a nod to ﬁlm-maker Stan Brakhage. meaning may be generated more in the interstices between images. secondly. "are emphasized and given a role to play in dramatic effect when novelists become Cubists. in collage and vorticism). to assuming (having to assume. because it charges word." Davenport says. The materiality of the work of art and its constructed nature are consequently emphasized by his use of an ideogrammatic method that allows for the grafting of particulars into a congeries of implied relations without subordination." he identiﬁes in twentieth century literature "a movement from assuming the world to be transparent.
provides what art historians have come to call a 'frame. In The Dance of the Intellect. the repetitive vocabulary. In an essay he calls his "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" an assemblage (380). categories. (4) Though Davenport's conservative impulse dictates a stricter selection of materials and a more overt sense of order than do the assemblages of such artists as Robert Rauschenberg. "the writer assembles. If Henry James wrote stories. This is the best way in the world to make my assemblages. I don't write stories" (Alpert 3). the principle unit is the short phrase. the often primitive syntax. ﬁnds. but the actuality of 'the world' is permitted to erupt within the environment of the work. he explains. Ill Said as portentous instances of "free prose. it is also to say. and identiﬁable (nails. There is nothing to be gained by displacing the authentic" (383). and the syntax is prone to inversion and ellipsis. projective verse "insisted that the world is interesting enough in itself to be reﬂected in a poem without rhetorical cosmetics. shapes. Q uartermain identiﬁes Davenport's innovative use of assemblage as his most important "contribution to the art of ﬁction" (181). That is to say.' by means of which no attempt is made to represent anything. dried ﬂowers. old wood). • Marjorie Perloff makes a yet larger claim. or stage directions from the literary kit and caboodle" (Geography l92).' The interpolation of non-art material." in which converge attributes of free verse and associative prose: the rhythm of recurrence predominates. and activities dissolve" (180-81). as I call them. if Dostoevski wrote stories. She stresses the foregrounded patterns of sound in Davenport's text.A species of Pythagorean materialism underlies such procedures. (3) For Davenport. About assemblage. "the mind gets in the habit of ﬁnding cross-references among subjects. indeed the exclusive use of such material. photographs. For Davenport. dolls' eyes. that (compared to collage) 'its ultimate conﬁgurations are so often less predetermined. and in an interview extends the term to describe his ﬁction in general. an arbitrary tune for melodramatic coloring. Peter Quartermain notes that "its raw materials are often associationally powerful. . she identiﬁes "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" along with such later Beckett prose texts as Ill Seen. the visual arts analogy still holds. almost always ready made. in the words of one critic. I don't think I've ever written a story. they retain much of their previous history (their contextual residue). and the boundaries between objects. As a professor.
implicitly in their structure. however." . Divided into discontinuous titled paragraphs as well as into pen and ink "quotations. What we call the twentieth century ended in 1915. They are. (151) (5) To illustrate features of assemblage in Davenport's work. While mourning forfeited legacies.and the suspension of causal chains. Davenport's curious conjunction of time frames. associative monologues. Gaudier-Brzeska became like Tatlin an exemplary modernist casualty of the age's destructive politics. encomiastic and prospective rather than elegiac and nostalgic. the artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. Gaudier died on the Western Front. Along with his acquaintance T. lyrics of ﬁction. In "The Pound Vortex. Davenport ends it in 1915 . "The Bowmen of Shu" is a Poundian medley of syncretic image rhymes. They are celebrations of possibility. narrative and lyric forms. collage. etchings--that in Davenport's words "turn the text into a graph ['to write' and 'to draw' being the same Greek verb]") creates a hybrid mode for which we not yet have a generally accepted name. and verse and prose elements (not to speak of the sixteen remarkable illustrationsdrawings. explicitly in their subject matter.E. I will focus below on three characteristic texts and their subjects: "The Bowmen of Shu. accretions of isolate elements within an integral ﬁeld. Pieces. pictograms. texts." and "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier." these assemblages are rich meditations on squandered cultural possibility. Davenport seeks in all three texts to recover and adapt dormant energies released by the texts' subjects." (6) it resembles his earlier story "Tatlin!" Though the French expatriate never received the ofﬁcial patronage that his contemporary Constructivist brieﬂy enjoyed. Virginia Woolf dated the twentieth century from a day in 1909." Davenport contends that World War I blighted "a renaissance as brilliant as any in history" (Geography 166). assemblage." Illustrated with pen and ink "quotations. bricolage. photographs. free prose--perhaps the name is less important than the recognition that we are living in a world of new literary organisms. the year of Gaudier-Brzeska's death: "it is now clear that he died with the century. "The Bowmen of Shu" Davenport appropriately employs the principles of the Poundian ideogram in an assemblage whose subject was one of Pound's most gifted proteges. Hulme (the subject of Davenport's story "Lo Splendore della Luce a Bologna")." "Robot.
Davenport's story shares with its modernist precursors a sensitivity to historical recurrence. Pound quotes the letter in Davenport's primary source. Pound's versions of classical Chinese verse transliterated from Ernest Fenollosa's Japanese translations. or the letter of condolence from the captain of Gaudier's infantry company. Though it begins and ends by recording dates (of the letter to Cournos. I speak now of the 'Bowmen' and the 'North Gate' which are so appropriate to our case" (68)." ﬁrst published in 1983 in Blast 3 (a compendium in honour of Wyndham Lewis). I keep the book in my pocket. omniscient descriptions of the trenches at Neuilly St. Twelve l40). Some are documentary.]has sent me the Chinese poems. indeed I use them to put courage in my fellows. as in quotations from Rodin's notebooks. where Gaudier spent his last six months and from where he wrote letters and a report for Blast. and passages from Pound's version of Rihaku's "The Bowmen of Shu. Cathay. Davenport places Vorticism in the context of barbaric historical vortices. Its opening segues without transitions between a December 1914 letter t o John Cournos from the front. belongs to what in an essay Davenport calls the modernist "renaissance of the archaic" (Geography 20). Cathay. but yet more primitive forces are at work in modern Europe. of Gaudier's death)."The Bowmen of Shu. and of Gaudier as a child and in his London atelier. summaries of Vorticist doctrine. descriptions of the artist's Polish lover. Blast.. The stress thus falls as much on the monstrous cataclysm to which Gaudier-Brzeska eagerly contributed his chauvinism as on the aesthetic movement to which he contributed his genius. (7) borrows its subject from one of the most notable contributors to Lewis's avant-garde journal and its logic from a letter Gaudier-Brzeska sent to Dorothy Shakespear's s mother from the front two months before his death. I like them very much." Gaudier himself made the parallel: "like the chinese bowmen in Ezra's poem we had rathereat fern shoots than go back now" (Apples 3.. the memoir Gaudier-Brzeska: "E[zra . Others are recreations of the Kensington milieu. its titled paragraphs are organized solely by thematic juxtaposition and complementarity. The story's ligature is the trenches. Gaudier-Brzeska recovers and harnesses the primitive. and it is our own loss as much as the artist's that he chooses to align himself with . (8) Accentuating this sense of atemporality is the non-linear progression of the story. Vaast. which the story celebrates. glimpses of Rimbaud dying and of Brancusi embarking for Paris.
] What he feels he does so intensely and his work is nothing more nor less that the abstraction of this intense feeling. "It is part of the war waste. as he did later in "Mauberley" (17). so called because we draw it red from the round guts of pig-eyed Germans" (8. In 'The Bowmen of Shu. Gaudier-Brzeska 28]) is now swept into the atavism of trench warfare. "is continuing the tradition of the barbaric peoples of the earth (for whom we have sympathy and admiration)" (qtd. . "His work is emotional. . ." Such sculpture. 145). "Mort pour la patrie. Gaudier's article. for the connections between parts are made as much by intuition as by reason. however. he concluded. Davenport likewise reduces the narrative of Gaudier-Brzeska to the verbal equivalents of masses and planes. a single-sentence paragraph quotes (slightly altered) a letter sent to Pound within days of Gaudier-Brzeska's death: "The bayonet. a remark for which Davenport reserves a separate (uncapitalized) paragraph (9. Under the rubric LA ROSALIE. Gaudier-Brzeska declared." Gaudier-Brzeska wrote in The Egoist a year before his death. Gaudier-Brzeska 37). The penultimate paragraph of 'The Bowmen of Shu" quotes the Blast memorial to Gaudier-Brzeska. The artist who revives monumental stone sculpture by reduction in masses and planes ("I shall derive my emotions solely from the arrangement of surfaces." but omits its celebration of his military feats and adds the mensural eloquence of "4 Octobre 1891-5 Juin 1915" (20. Gaudier-Brzeska exalted instinct over reason--hence his preference for Minoan over classical Greek sculpture. goes on with martial fervor worthy of Marinetti: "THIS WAR IS A GREAT REMEDY [. 145). The ellipses exalt instinct. "I HAVE BEEN FIGHTING FOR TWO MONTHS and I can now gauge the intensity of life" (Pound. .] IT TAKES WAY FROM THE MASSES NUMBERS UPON NUMBERS OF UNIMPORTANT UNITS" (Pound." he wrote for Blast from the trenches [Pound." Davenport commemorates modernist primitivism: "the impulse to recover beginnings and primal energies grew out of a feeling that man in his alienation was drifting tragically away from what he had ﬁrst made as poetry and design and as an understanding of the world" (Geography 28). [." Davenport deplores the irony that so vital and regenerative an impulse could be diverted into the apocalyptic ﬁasco of trench combat." Pound lamented in his memoir. In his Blast report from the French front. .both. Gaudier-Brzeska 64). Gaudier-Brzeska 27). Gaudier embodies a modernism that interprets contemporary life by means of the archaic inheritence. 158). For his part. in Pound. In the essay "The Symbol of the Archaic. "The modern sculptor is a man who works with instinct as his inspiring force. As an artist.
the archaic themes and treatment--all invite Davenport's comparison of Gaudier to another mercurial young French genius attracted to warfare. (9) the afﬁnity with primitive artists. that. he cites Gaudier-Brzeska's epitaph. Davenport "quotes" Gaudier-Brzeska's varnished sandstone sculpture Red Stone Dancer. the Chinese frontier of Rihaku the Western front. a 4th century B. a Dordogne cave painter.' (20.What Davenport salvages from such a futile loss is the grandeur of GaudierBrzeska's accomplishment.C. In the ﬁrst. 156). to which the story turns for inspiration." the site of Magdalenian cave paintings in the Val Dordogne (18. Indeed. the Knossos labyrinth a German "Irrgarten lit with pale batterypowered lights" (7. Davenport expresses the appreciation of masses in relation. (10) Davenport eloquently reinforces that proximity in the story's two closing paragraphs. Chinese warrior. and the deﬁning of these masses in planes. as Pound makes clear. The enemy arrows of Bunno become the German artillery. II faut etre absolument moderne. Here. 'Our buttocks aren't theirs. a medieval cathedral mason. the story is as thematically cohesive as it is narratively disjunctive. as Rimbaud urged in Une Saison en enfer. and the value of his instigation. Gaudier-Brzeska became. It is necessary to be absolutely modern. Like much of Davenport's ﬁction. 158) In a small hatch work pen and ink in Apples and Pears and in a full page enlargement in Twelve Stories. Davenport's story both honors this legacy and involves itself. Davenport's story quotes these aphorisms from Blast). 143). to project the artists' consonance. Seizing on a coincidence. a kinetic image of a squat dancer's energy. which Davenport's numerous visual quotations celebrate. By locating instigations in the distant past. the second his fellowship with Rimbaud in posterity: The Red Stone Dancer Nos fesses ne sont pas les leurs. the sculptor's birth in the year of Rimbaud's death. the artist characterized as sculptural ability (see Gaudier-Brzeska 20. It descends through strata of parallel lives: Gaudier is a Rimbaud moderne. The aim less to depict a stationary subject than its energy. Gaudier-Brzeska's studio is described as "his Font de Gaume. "absolument moderne" 'absolutely modern' (152). . Davenport describes Gaudier's birth in a paragraph directly preceding one concerned with the poet's death.
" he adapts them to historical narrative." "Juno of the Veii. as in "Herakleitos. are not reproductions but mediations made strange by recontextualizatio n. as does a Resistance member later when a scheme is hatched to conceal arms in the cave. and a meditation on aggression. the drawings are faithful both to the limited available evidence . Dordogne geography. Indeed. a guided tour of the Magdalenian caves. "Robot" retains an atmosphere of romance calculated to undermine the illusion of documentary fact created by the historical images and documentation. an illustrated lecture on the sources of modernism. "Davenport notes in "Ernst Machs Max Ernst" (Geography 376). wartime France. In his texts. "Robot" effaces the perceived border between fact and ﬁction. "The subjects I chose for the stories in Tatlin! are all in the position of being. This interplay between fact and ﬁction extends to one between image and text. Henry Prize-story "Robot. In the 0.formally and stylistically as well as thematically." like Davenport's later meditation on Thoreau. essay." and "August Blue. and reindeer. named Robot. and adolescent male bonds. Attempting to retrieve the dog. and biography. as fact. interpolated throughout the story. poem. 2). Davenport's versions of Aurignacian horses. almost not there." Davenport works from archival yet remote and obscure material. in its perpetuation. the youths discover the largest and most richly painted of all prehistorical caves. Here. But more so than either of these texts. invitations to rethink ﬁction as a genre. "The Bowmen of Shu. Although in The Dance of the Intellect. documentary." Davenport adapts the techniques of assemblage to biographical ﬁction. "no accounts agree. Marjorie Perloff draws attention to the ideogrammatic design of Pound's memoir (see her ch. an idyll. (11) Based on the 1940 discovery of the paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux. "Robot" In "The Bowmen of Shu. it is a boys' adventure yarn about buried treasure." challenges the distinction between story. aurochs. "The Concord Sonata. it is left to Davenport to achieve in his work a genuinely ideogrammatic hybrid of ﬁction. Like the verbal evocations of the Lascaux murals. A group of Montignac youths lose their mascot dog down a hole while hunting rabbits in the Dordogne countryside. Davenport makes of literary genres simply conventions to be renegotiated. Of the discovery of Lascaux. He discusses at length the provenance and the import of the paintings with the boys before swearing them to secrecy. With his one good eye. and illustration. he says. the paleolithic authority Abbe Breuil soon attests to the murals' authenticity.
Picasso exhibited his massive memorial to the victims. (12) While the antifascist engagement of the story's Catalan expatriate Ramon aligns him with his artistic compatriot.[. He conjectures that "in the painter's vocabulary of symbols to die by the spear and to receive the male are cognate female verbs." not of art. monochrome printed page. as Breuil . The former are protecting invaluable paintings. In "Robot." Breuil recalls the artist's visit to the site: "The bison at Altamira were to him tres moderne. three years later. I have always thought of him as a Cro-Magnon painter out of time. for the Aurignacian glyphs are primitive to the very distinction. Breuil describes its bird-headed ithyphallic stick man beside a javelin and a gored bison whose "spilling entrails are an ideogram of the vagina.] The painting I see is as old as Lascaux" (99-100. The hieroglyphs of these cave painters for wound and vulva are probably the same." Davenport presents the analogy in the primitive art between sacriﬁcial violence and renewal as a tragic precedent reiterated in contemporary history. intimidating the youths with threats and unlike them using his masculinity belligerently. At the 1937 Paris World's Fair.[.. he made one of the bulls of Altamira dominate the design. he says of the arms stockpile: "Foutre les tableaux!" (93-94. A story that begins with a band of affable teens maintaining a merry vigil over a prehistoric gallery ends with Resistance members depositing a consignment of arms in a chthonic arsenal. 102). 98-99).] And when Picasso painted his great symbolic picture of the bombing of Guernica. its iconography indebted to the cave paintings at Altamira located near Guernica. The bison is life under the guise of death" (97. and for him death and regeneration are. On the page following Davenport's drawing of the painting. 104-05). The pen and ink drawings are breathtakingly accurate yet are intended not for a faux-Lascaux simulacrum but for the unavoidable and suggestive distances of the ﬂat. The stick-like bird-headed hunter is a "minor animal" among the meticulously realized animals of Lascaux. the latter invaluable freedoms. he is the unavoidably sinister agent of military reprisal.and to the material of Davenport's chosen media.. "This is a matter of cojones. and in such instances as the hunter mural transposes both verbal and pictorial evocations of the same image. He calls the artefacts ideograms. but where art is not honored liberty may not be respected.. Guernica was bombed by some of the same Henkel III B bimotors that now." In "Robot. ﬂy over the Dordogne. Davenport ﬁnds impetus for the fusion of image and word in the Lascaux caves themselves..
and cognate too is the reliance of men in both epochs on violence to safeguard life. Long cases of carbines packed in grease. (103. Their taut balance is Davenport's visual and literary image of human care and creativity bound inextricably to a capacity for self-slaughter. Their muzzles all pointed to the rising sun. The description of the Resistance arsenal is embedded between contrary depictions of early man: the brute idolaters of the cave bear and the Somaliland painters of domesticated oxen. ﬂares and . grenades. Here. nor to reconcile either of them to the Lascaux arsenal. 10 2). 108-09) The image of the horse is a melancholy inversion of the story's opening. which fell upon them dimly in the depth of their cave in the cliff. Though the Neanderthal was capable not only of these crude ursine totems but of the deft Somaliland drawings Breuil has also examined.proposes. grenades. a drawing of a Lascaux horse and a description of it "prancing as if to a fanfare by Charpentier" (71). ﬂares. Davenport concludes "Robot" with the pairing of syncretic images of violence. . The story does not attempt to reconcile these conﬂicting yet equipoised images of the Neanderthal. it is the menacing skulls that are left to gaze eyeless out of the story's conclusion. lighting all but the sockets of their eyes.45s rose in neat stacks to the black shins of the prancing horses. . which to him is the continuity of life" (97. "cognate" terms: "The hunter with arms outstretched before the wounded bison is embracing the idea of death. The carbines. he employ an alternative imagery. when the moon was dark. the second a cave explored years before by Breuil on the Swiss Drachenberg where Neanderthal hunters had placed cave bear skulls. that of discrete isometric paragraphs forming a kind of prose couplet. The ﬁrst paragraph describes the stealthy stockpiling of Resistance arms.45s stored by the Resistance in the Shaft of the Hunter are cognate with the stick-man's javelin. At the Drachenberg the bears' skulls sat on their ledges hooded in dust older than Ur or Dilmun. The ﬁrst boxes of ammunition were placed in the Shaft of The Hunter and the Bison late in October.
Davenport's text makes a renewed contribution to the renaissance of the archaic. juxtaposing it with descriptions of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. and the like. Davenport has the Dogon cosmogony dictate the text's form. Unlike Olson. however." he even more radically adapts ideogrammatic method by assembling it from a variety of elements according to what Charles Olson calls "composition by ﬁeld" (16). Davenport is careful to establish an overtly overarching order that will imply not merely the coherence of the text but the isomorphic nature of the cosmos itself. (13) Davenport imposed on all but three of its discrete paragraphs the same isomorphic pa ttern concluding "Robot. he lays out all these elements in asyndetic relation as in a Pound Canto. for the West African Dogon. The image is the basic form of ideogrammic composition. with only two exceptions. it is not simply a visual impression but a union of particulars transposed onto the conceptual plane" (xii). In the essay "Olson." Bach of its four-line paragraphs is in addition contained. are its central subject. Superﬁcially a congeries of heterogeneous paragraphs and images arbitrarily ordered. Such juxtapositions he called images. in revising the text for publication in Da Vinci's Bicycle. "the setting side by side. pollinating bees. Toklas in Paris." he says. Fourier's utopian New Harmony." Davenport defends Olson's use of this method: "The seeming inarticulateness of Olson's 'The Kingﬁshers' is not a failure to communicate. lending a . "ply over ply. "but a declining to articulate images and events which can be left in free collision" (Geography 99). Its rectangular paragraph blocks. of verbal pictures will perforce establish relationships between the units juxtaposed. in nine numbered paragraph sections. in "The Bowmen of Shu. the text is in fact meticulously structured to correspond to the intricate concords of Dogon cosmogony. da Vinci's bicycle." writes Laszlo Geﬁn in his study of ideogrammatic form. Beckett in conversation. Thus. Davenport imposes this arbitrary and severe order on the text with the same deftness and pliancy as Marianne Moore brings to her syllabic verse or John Berryman to the six-line triple stanzas of the Dream Songs." he creates a new kind of discontinuous biography out of formalist montage. Interpolating collaged images throughout."Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" In "Robot. considered among the most primitive of surviving Stone Age peoples." Davenport uses collage devices while adhering to linear historical narrative. In "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier. the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk. without copulas." as Pound says (Canto s 15). "For Pound.
or involucra. aleatory forces. Davenport explains in "Ernst Machs Max Ernst" that the text "isolates this theme of foraging and proceeds like an Ernst collage to involve seven themes. Twelve 174). (14) The Dogon are exemplary searchers who ﬁnd what nature hides. described as a kind of Dogon Hermes. is the genius of foraging. "is incompletely made. (15) In this they follow and honor their impish god of contingency Ogo. native American Raven. Like him it searches for its twin. the random and anarchic are indispensable to the larger benign order. strict physical law in its dance with hazard" (Apples 31. "They can represent anything four ways--from total abstraction to realistic portrayal" (Reece 46). Davenport writes. which when opened disclose the theme of foraging in several senses" (Geography 379-80)." Daven port told Erik Reece. Within random contingency. Pattern is not often a property of surfaces. Such attention to immanent pattern and symbol is reproduced in Davenport's text. coincides with the grid on which the Dogon map out the cosmos.grid-like appearance to the text. Seven Greeks 159)." the acacia that. the Dogon themselves forage in nature for divine traces. or Voodoo loa. Indeed. "I may be a Dogon. It searches in sunlight the completion of its being. like Ogo" (Da Vinci's 96)." Heraclitus declared in a thus-rendered passage of Davenport's translation of the complete fragments (Herakleitos 14. and the theme of "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier. It must search forever. the Dogon detect an elaborate system of correspondences. As the French anthropologist Marcel Griaule forages among the Dogon to learn the particulars of primitive cosmogony. Dogon facility for reading into phenomena multiple levels of harmonious sense inspires the reticulation of Davenport's text. like him. He praises "this Dogon sense that man is a forager trying to ﬁnd God's complete plan of the universe" (379). Ogo disrupts the demiurge Amma's oppressive scheme of creation. indices for larger and redemptive forces. Out of this radiates the story's reiterations of inquisitive and gamey . Davenport praises this tension in the story "Fifty-Seven Views of Fujiyama": "Dissonance chiming with order. never ﬁnding. The Dogon universe contains. but the world is now immitigably inﬂuenced by Ogo's "sign. but is in no way tyrannized by." worked out through the spiral interweavings of independent elements. Amma is compelled to patch up the world as best he can after his mischief (Ogo concocts a host of vexatious insects and inedible fruits). "Nature loves to hide.
The text celebrates those who "searched out the harmonies. in the stars" (85). for Christians the word made ﬂesh.. a blind metaphysician of the Heraclitean logos linked in the story to the Dogon priest Ogotemmeli. and controls the particulars that make .[. for Davenpo rt such a primary drive is more crucial to maturation and adulthood. the early photographer Henri Lartigue hunting for images to try to freeze time. it is written in the okra. But Olsen rightly notes that the author is the story's master forager. Like Ogo. the text throughout retains some of the enigmatic happenstance of those Savannah valley pastures. such a custom inculcated the peculiar virtue of disinterested curiosity. the afﬁnities. for arrowheads were sought without larger aims. for the Dogon bummo: "It is written in every crabgrass seed. Although Lance Olsen suggests that the story "is a translation of the childhood need to forage into the adult world" (155). While "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" proves to be an involved network of corresponding elements. dominates. People who know exactly what they are doing seem to me to miss the vital part of any doing" (366). emblems. (16) In the essay "Finding. Davenport himself searches out Fourier's Montmartre grave site and shares a drink with Samuel Beckett to learn more about Joyce. Wilbur Wright maneuvering his Flyer into ﬁgure eights. In Davenport's ﬁction diverse elements are arranged both for the sake of their place in the Heraclitean concord and for their own sake. In Davenport. who explains the cosmos to Griaule." Davenport describes the Sunday afternoons of youth spent combing the upper Savannah valley for Indian arrowheads with his "foraging family" (Geography 361). assembling from his often incongruous ﬁnds a textual ﬁeld in which the reader "ﬁnds himself metamorphosed into a detective attempting to solve a mystery through the logical assembling and interpretation of palpable evidence" (155).. the philosopher Fourier striving to base a utopia on the integration rather than repression or deﬂection of human passions. For Heraclitus the logos. In his study of The Cantos. in the spider's eye. and symbols. the kinship of the orders of nature" (68). "I learned from a whole childhood of looking in ﬁelds how the purpose of things ought perhaps to remain invisible. no more than half-known. Davenport deﬁnes the Poundian ideogram as "a grammar of images. rather than a grammar of logical sequence. da Vinci sketching a bicycle four centuries before its invention.intelligence: Gertrude Stein seeking the new in her car in Paris. for the biochemist DNA. the Dogon shepherds journeying to the mystic caves.] An idea uniﬁes. all these "must search forever" for the disclosure of an immanent order.
Davenport's use of Dogon cosmological structure). The ellipse. But though both authors place themselves within the ﬁeld of composition. Eliot's experiments in ideogrammatic method are equally germane to Davenport. for Davenport.. he inscribes his unavoidable subjectivity within the larger forces invoked by the text.the ideogram" (Cities 28. .S. is the invisible line of attraction between particle and particle" (74). independent of each other but not of the pattern in which they ﬁgure. In a 1976 interview with Barry Alpert. they adapt inherited structures (the terze rima inﬂections of Eliot's ﬁre watch.[. and both of these rigorously impersonal texts include an intensely personal pilgrimage to a grave site (Ferrar's and Fourier's). they cite a range of sources (sometimes the same one. e. which are revised eight or nine times. Heraclitus and Mallarme's "Au Tombeau d'Edgar Poe"). Davenport is more careful not to dominate it intellectually or morally. altering them. (18) yet T. Every sentence is written by itself. Davenport's text reverberates with echoes of Four Quartets. Davenport described how his stories emerge from the independent jottings of his notebook: "My writing unit is such that I start literally with scraps of paper and pages from notebooks. He insists on the intelligibility of this method: "The components of an ideogram cohere as particles in a magnetic ﬁeld. who shares with the poet an avant-garde aesthetic and a conservative temperament. Pound's imprint on "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" is obvious. Fourier's grave and a village in subSaharan Africa). which we feel to be the absence of predication. rather.. And both wish to imply complementarity among seemingly isolated elements. and making a kind of whole of them" (qtd.g. in Gardner 14). Eliot told the Paris Review's Donald Hall. 30). there are very few consecutive sentences in my work. And I ﬁnd a place for them. so that the actual writing of any of the stories of Tatlin! was a matter of turning back and forth in a notebook and ﬁnding what I wanted" (5).] Single sentences. Ferrar's rebuilt church at Little Gidding and the London of the Blitz.. both juxtapose distant ages without transitions. (20) Both writers endeavor to integrate the particulars into the general without violence to particularity. "That's one way in which my mind does seem to have worked throughout the years poetically-doing things separately and then seeing the possibility of fusing them together. (17) as is the "triple piled" method of William Carlos Williams's Paterson. (19) Both focus but do not depend on a speciﬁc place (for Elio t.
like the transmutations of light. It is. and I will show you the harmony of its place in its chord. . without the kind of metaphysical guarantees implied by Eliot's sacramental language. Davenport describes Fourier's deteriorated gravesite and imagines the body's decomposition ("the ﬂuid tongue is now trash" [Da Vinci's 681) to underscore the neglect of the philosopher's ideas. Davenport. and the Transcendentalists the conﬁdence that the diversity of living forms can be arranged according to an idealist morphology. this was primitive intuition before it became Enlightenment science." but the story is not itself the crystallization of this trait. the movement. an ox. Give me a sparrow. manifest in the content of Ogotemmeli's utterances and immanent in the text's form. Fourier who is presented as an exemplary instance of such a capacity. the concerto. (Da Vinci's 71) Fourier shares with Linnaeus. hence the predominance in "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" of Dogon metaphysics. what Goethe termed the open secret of empirically veriﬁable Urphanomene. who has called him "the greatest mind of the 19th century" (Alpert 6). the all. the phrase. rather. all but two of which are isomorphic. a leaf. "There are two hundred and sixty-six things out of which Amma made the world. archetypes that reveal nature's core principles. Thus an appearance of whimsical imposition of meaningless pattern proves on inspection to be dictated by the core content of the text. (22) Though Fourier's ideas are as eclipsed as his plot is derelict. each dividing schematically into geometrically strict divisions mapped out on a 266-cell grid.Davenport thus echoes Eliot in a method of composition predicated ultimately on a Coleridgean faith in the conversion of series into wholes. proceeds to insist on Fourier's centrality: All of nature is series and pivot. Swedenborg. (21) The difference between them is. Like the syllabic statuary of Marianne Moore's idiosyncratic yet strictly structured stanzas. the transcendental locus of unity in Eliot." Ogotemmeli tells Griaule (Da Vinci's 81). The seemingly arbitrary accumulation of the text's grid-like paragraphs. a ﬁsh. Order for Davenport remains immanent in nature. he said. like Pythagoras' numbers. Davenport's assemblage is carefully arranged to insinuate possibilities of patterned energy rather than to proclaim its source and nature. For Davenport. of course. a wasp. There are 266 "things" out of which Davenport made the text. fulﬁlls Dogon computations: 255 paragraphs plus eleven full-page visual collages. The ability to fashion a Coleridgean "whole" is the mastery celebrated in "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier.
and it renders that surface opaque.Davenport's strictly patterned prose stanzas are arbitrary but far from gratuitous. While the sections no longer separate independent material. da Vinci. Beckett said. that Joyce came to see that the fall of a leaf is as grievous as the fall of man. areas of dialogue). The blind. its paragraphs indented and also of varying length. Eliot's to proclamations of anarchic aesthetic liberty. the formal order both testiﬁes to conﬁdence in larger harmonies and constitutes a reaction as stern as T. order. A style has its rules. typescript all but one of the paragraphs are shaped into precise rectangles (disarrayed by the shift to print yet still apparent.' Each of my texts has its own architecture. Architecture may be behind much of this-'stanza' means 'room. Formal devices" (Hoepffner 122). For publication in Da Vinci's Bicycle. I have used isometric paragraphs as a formal device exactly like the paragraph itself. as medium. lam blind. regularizing the length of all but two sections.S. As originally published in The Georgia Review. Ogotemmeli said. By 'constraint' you mean rules. "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" was divided into 33 sections of varying length. long-ﬁngered smoker Joyce (illustrated by Davenport from a Gisele Freund photo ) is. Davenport jettisons causal connection and narrative continuity not in favor of an aleatory play of signiﬁcation. his head aloof and listening. (He employs this structure in several later texts. and thus the writing draws attention to itself as writing.") As in Moore." "Fifty-Seven Views of Fujiyama. disparate matter may converge in the same paragraph: You must understand. (23) In an interview Davenport objects to the use of the word "constraints" to describe this style: "Constraints is not exactly the word. Davenport completely revised the text. as it has its own narrative rhythm. the conjunction here of paragraphs neatly separated in the Georgia Review version of the text yields fortuitous parallels. Peter Quartermain notes a link to the techniques of Cubism: "It is a visual ﬂattening of surface. opening a blue paper of tobacco with his delicately long wrinkled ﬁngers. since all paragraphs remain four lines long). including "On Some Lines of Virgil. and Stein earlier in the text. Prose narrative has units (the chapter." the second part of "Apples and Pears. placed in structural proximity to imply afﬁnity to the Dogon metaphysician. In this revised. (98) As in the contents of a Joseph Cornell box or a collage canvas. but in order to intimate by combinational logic kinships and . like Fourier. in a manner directly analogous to that of Cubism" (179-80).
A radically antirepressive individualist polity is founded on a subtly . of the cello and cartography. fails to stay in sync." Davenport witnesses the contrastingly modest Giscard-D'Estaing inaugural on the same avenue: "There was no La Marseillaise. of history and embroidery. Hatless he strode along alone" (71). a rigid martial procession that. Toklas of the victory procession up the Champs Elysees. and the ﬁnal paragraph is not isometric. Stein and Toklas "were admirably placed and saw perfectly" (106). one in which even the Police of the Gardens and Corporals of Fine Tone march unarmed. no parade. The children ride totemic animals (such as the nowextinct quagga) and play trumpet fanfares: They are masters of horns and ﬂowers. Davenport is struck by another contrast. (72) Stein witnesses. The concluding ﬁve paragraphs of "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" are a quotation from Gertrude Stein's description in The Autobiography of Alice B. of crystals and snakes. The tension is inherent in Fourier's utopian program." Ogotemmeli explains ) along the same rout e as the military parade and the D'Estaing inaugural. They are companions palatine of the Great Bear of the Dnieper. of printing and dancing. and forces. in Davenport's text. This one occupies 22 paragraphs ("There are twenty-two families of things. that of an imaginary procession of New Harmony citizens in Fourier's utopia." Stein savors not only objects but intervals and lines in this fourth procession through "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier. sterile regimentation. of polyhedral tensegrities and cetacean speech. ideas.correspondences among eras. by contrast. Pershing and his ofﬁcer carrying the ﬂag behind him were perhaps the most perfectly spaced. The story thus embodies the characteristic tension in Davenport's ﬁction between a Rilkean yearning for fostering containment and a fear of bridling. but this is a brigade without national or political afﬁliations. its composite structure allies it with Ogo (the two deities functioning rather like the Urizen and Los of Blake's cosmology). While its isomorphic nine-paragraph units ally "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" with the Dogon demiurge Amma. On the eve of visiting Fourier's grave. Whereas the Fourier procession embodies a Pythagorean faith in measure. The concluding. the text's ending is not "perfectly spaced": the concluding section contains not nine but only two paragraphs. irregular paragraph reads: "The French carry their ﬂags best of all.
Every force evolves a form in Davenport. For him. play is force under the auspices of emancipatory utopian containment (idealized in the Dogon and in Fourier's social vision). discontinuous and spatial principles of the playing ﬁeld. continuous.) Davenport is an illustrator of books (such as Hugh Kenner's The Stoic Comedians and The Counterfeiters) and journals (such as The Kenyon Review. Ogo expresses a principle of play that operates as a voluntary. one to be venerated and appeased rather than loved. Parnassus. a paradoxical "calculus" of the passions as elaborate as the dietary regimen of Leviticus or the labor regimen of a Victorian textile mill." but they are none the less impish concoctions.coercive system of hierarchies. furnishing the organizing principle of his diverse ﬁction and validating his novel stylistic choices. His art is the subject of Erik Anderson Reece's monograph. which reveals the inseparable relationship between Davenport's literary and pictorial work. (2.) Brakhage has written admiringly of Davenport. limited. labyrinthine "involucra. In "Ice is for Coffee and . In Davenport's work. and Paideuma). A Balance of Quinces. Ogo disrupts the painstaking symmetries of Davenport's text by botching the last section and ﬁnal paragraph. those forces Fourier appreciated and Ogotemmeli classiﬁed under the dominion of the puckish god Ogo: "For it is Ogo's gift that he built accident into the world's structure" ( 97). Notes For valued assistance in the preparation of this essay I am gratefully indebted to Brian Jones. and temporal conventions of traditional ﬁction. but sets these against the spontaneous and the accidental. play is the genial human embodiment of aloof inhuman force. (1. His texts may be overtly structured. ones not only organized to assimilate accident and inspiration but also distinguished by every kind of verbal extravagance and teasing high jinks. and contingent expression of force. Davenport models his texts on the multi-dimensioned. In contrast to the linear. They are the domain of Ogo no less than Amma. "Au Tombeau de Charles Fourier" structurally emulates Fourier's taxonomical rigor. awesome and terrible property. Yet force is an impersonal.
) Perloff quotes from Davenport's "Ernst Machs Max Ernst" (Geography 380). The Art of Assemblage 25.) Quartermain quotes from Seitz. (8. Henry Awards. (9. "it. and in Prize Stories 1974: The O.) Of The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound. It will look like your energy" (16. in Twelve Stories at 147.) Pp." Davenport shows how this technique succeeds in "The Kingﬁshers" (Geography 80-99). Davenport published it as a limited edition (New York: The Grenfell Press. It will be the expression of certain emotions which I get from your character" (Gaudier-Brzeska 50).) The version of "The Bowmen of Shu" reprinted in Twelve Stories omits the stylized version of Gaudier-Brzeska's sketched proﬁle of Pound that separates the two paragraphs in Apples and Pears. not. which she goes on to argue marks a similar challenge to generic convention by being "a lyrical collage essay" (152). In Apples and Pears. the artist tells Pound. Mifﬂin). As well. like you. (6.. ed... where it is blown up into a full page image. 77-95.. "It will not look like you. (7. for instance.) In the essay "Olson. the preface to his book-length poem Flowers and Leaves: "The decorations for this volume are all quotations" (4). (10. It was reprinted in The Best American Short Stories of 1973 & The Yearbook of the American Short Story. you know. 9.i..) "Robot" was ﬁrst published in Hudson Review 25.) I cite the appearance of "The Bowmen of Shu" both in Davenport's Apples and Pears (1984) and in Twelve Stories (1997). (Boston: Houghton.3 (Autumn 1972): 413-46. 1984) before including it in Apples and Pears 1-20 and also in Twelve Stories 139-58.. Martha Foley. Pound tells us that Gaudier-Brzeska told his model. one whose intelligence was a way of feeling" (7). look. will. 1973: 67-98. (4. (3. . (5.. 156).. Davenport places his drawing of the sculpture at p. (11.e.for Wine" he speaks of the joy to have "at last met such a man as Pound describes Remy de Goncourt to have been..) See. In Davenport's story..
Wayfarer. transﬁxed by a spear. Who spat on silver to inspire The keepers of the sacred fire: Eyes in their loving generate Character. asleep. Promised kingdom of rust and moth. In my citations.) Davenport also makes the maxim the title and subject of a 1968 ink and gouache painting: Nature Loves to Hide is reproduced in Erik Anderson Reece's monograph A Balance of Quinces.William Abrahams. so that the dying horses cannot be an allusion to the disembowelled bison there. Splendid within that tetragraph." Davenport links Picasso's painting to Palaeolithic art: "The deepest allusion may be to the painted cave at Altamira (at Santander. In dust of roses. buttons. (Lascaux was not discovered until 1940. cloth.) In the uncollected 1985 poem "37. and to other prehistoric caves with their bulls and horses. a few miles from Guernica). (13. I identify ﬁrst its appearance in Tatlin!. ed. Cimitiere Montmartre. Circle and parabola stand. (23. We know that Picasso visited Altamira while Henri Breuil was copying its images in the early years of the century. Ellipse and hyperbola and. Avenue Samson. Deny If you dare that the good can die.) Au Tombeau de Charles Tomeau" ﬁrst appeared in The Georgia Review 29.)" (Hunter Gracchus 183).4 (Winter 1975): 801-41. fate.) Moore is the subject of the celebratory essay "Marianne . 1974: 186-214.) In the essay "Guernica. attraction. (12. The philosopher is also the subject of Davenport's story "Herakleitos" (see Taitlin! 1-51 and Twelve Stories 1-53). second in Twelve Stories. (14. Slant among these cornered stones. as is Davenport's acrylic painting Herakleitos and Knaps (see 126 and 84). Who is asleep. The old accountant's epitaph." Davenport describes Fourier's grave: Nigh mad Nijinski's wanton bones. though the accuracy of Picasso's evocation of Magdalenian cave art is inescapable. you have come upon Charles Fourier. (22. (New York: Doubleday). the merchant's son.
1991. Seamus Cooney. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. San Francisco: North Point P. Coleridge. Ed.3 (1976): 3-18. Thasos and Ohio. _____. 1974): 6-7. . "Interview with Guy Davenport. 1982. _____. 1983. 1986. Stan. _____." and is as well the inspiration. Samuel Taylor. with Louis Agassiz. of the poem that follows "At Marathon" in Thasos and Ohio. 1992. Rpt. Oxford: Clarendon P. _____. Biographia Literaria. Collected Letters. Ann Arbor: UMI Research P." Margins 30 (Aug." Vort 9 3. San Francisco: North Point P. 1996. 1974. San Francisco: Grey Fox P. _____. New York: New Directions. Apples and Pears. Herakleitos and Diogenes. _____. Barry. Vol. Seven Greeks. NJ: Bollingen. Bernard Lafourcade. The Hunter Gracchus. Flowers and Leaves. Brakhage. 4. San Francisco: North Point P. _____. 2. Rpt. the poem "At Marathon. Guy. The Geography of the Imagination. "Ice is for Coffee and for Wine. Davenport. _____. Works Cited Alpert. Every Force Evolves a Form. Jackson Bate. Washington: Counterpoint. James Engell and W. and Hugh Kenner.-Sept. Flint. 1984. Tatlin! New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. MI: Bamberger Books. San Francisco: North Point P. co-ed. "The Medusa" (25-27). Ed. 1984. Earl Leslie Griggs. Ed. Da Vinci's Bicycle. 1983. 1979. _____. _____. CA.Moore" (Geography 114-22). 1995.: Black Sparrow P. Santa Barbara. 1981. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP. _____. New York: Pantheon. 1987. Princeton. Blast 3. 1959. 1979. Bradford Morrow. Cities on Hills: A Study of Ezra Pound's A Draft of XXX Cantos. Vol.
New York: New Directions. Ed. London: Faber. Paterson. Louis Forestier. Martin. Perloff. The Cantos. Williams. Disjunctive Poetics. Zachar. 1961." Recherches ." Conjunctions 24 (1995): 118-24. William Carlos. Washington: Counterpoint. Laurence. Lance.4 (Summer 1975): 87-90. Gaudier-Brzeska. 1995. Illuminations. Gardner. Duberman. _____. Selected Writings of Charles Olson. Twelve Stories. 1992. "A Guydebook to the Last Modernist: Davenport on Davenport and Da Vinci's Bicycle. Haepffner. New York: Dutton. Paris: Editions Gallimard. New York: New Directions. The Art of Assemblage. 1984. Ideogram: History of a Poetic Method. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. 1966. "Guy Davenport: Une Mosaique du genres. 1972. "Pleasant Hill: An Interview with Guy Davenport. 1996. Une Saison en enfer. 1974. New York: Museum of Modern Art. T. Reece. New York: New Directions. Arthur. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. "A Lateborn Modernist. 1985. A Balance of Quinces: The Paintings and Drawings of Guy Davenport. 1959. William C. Laszlo. 1982. Charles. Robert Creeley._____. New York: New Directions. London: Faber. Williamson. Eliot. Helen. Ed. Geﬁn. The Dance of the intellect. Marjorie." The Journal of Narrative Technique 16.1 (Winter 1986): 148-61.S. Erik Anderson. The Composition of Four Quartets." Shenandoah 26. Olsen. 1997. Austin: U of Texas P. 1992. Four Quartets. Peter. Black Mountain. Quartermain. Pound. New York: New Directions. Seitz. 1978. Ezra. Rimbaud. Olson. Poesies. Alan. Bernard.
He is completing a study of Guy Davenport.ca) is assistant professor in the department of English at Concordia University. and postmodern historiographical drama in Canadian Literature. Montreal. Herman Melville's Platonism in Studies in Short Fiction. His recent publications include articles on Elizabeth Bishop's prose in Critique. Andre Furlani (furlani@alcor. .Anglaises et Nord-Americaines 21 (1994): 51-63.concordia. Forthcoming are chapters in books on the literary treatment of childhood sexuality (University of Minnesota Press) and on the American poet Ronald Johnson (University of Maine Press).