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Literature, Modernism, and Dance$
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Susan Jones

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565320

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565320.001.0001

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Ezra Pound on Kinaesthetics, the Russian Ballet, and Machines

Ezra Pound on Kinaesthetics, the Russian Ballet, and Machines

(p.200) 9 Ezra Pound on Kinaesthetics, the Russian Ballet, and Machines
Literature, Modernism, and Dance

Susan Jones

Oxford University Press

The American writer Ezra Pound explored a range of genres, disciplines, and cultural contexts throughout his career. The chapter focuses on a neglected area of interest—his engagement with movement and dance, both in the formation of his poetics and in his essays on ballet, music, and sculpture. Although critical of aspects of Diaghilev's ‘orientalism’, his role as arts reviewer for the New Age and the Athenaeum provoked his interest in the relationship between human and machine movement. His praise for Massine's ‘impersonal’ choreographic style for the puppets of La Boutique fantasque leads to a re-evaluation of the Ballets Russes and to later enquiries into the human interaction with machines in industrial production. Pound's explorations intriguingly match the innovative dance theories of the expressionist Rudolf Laban, and show the extent to which dance and writing of the twentieth century inform the discourses of modernity.

Keywords:   Pound, Laban, kinaesthetics, poetics, puppets, machines, industrialization

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