Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Finis classicae

The thought of what America would be like
If the Classics had a wide circulation
Troubles my sleep,
The thought of what America,
The thought of what America,
The thought of what America would be like
If the Classics had a wide circulation
Troubles my sleep.
Nunc dimittis, now lettest thou thy servant,
Now lettest thou thy servant
Depart in peace.
The thought of what America,
The thought of what America,
The thought of what America would be like
If the Classics had a wide circulation...
Oh well!
It troubles my sleep.

[Ezra Pound. 1918]

No one need lose sleep over this prospect. It ain't gonna happen, ever.

The mania over Michael Jackson--despite his evident pedophilia--shows that such phenomena have long since absorbed all the cultural oxygen. The expression "popular culture" is redundant. Today, popular culture is the only culture we have

I was lucky enough to pass my teaching career in "elitist" colleges where things like ancient Greek sculpture, medieval Cathedrals, Michelangelo, and Rembrant were still in the curriculum. Elsewhere such things are being crowded out by "media studies."

Of course, classic texts by all sorts of figures, from Plato and Aristotle to Ezra Pound himself may be found on the Internet. But when one makes an allusion to these things--well, forget it.

With each passing day, it seems that the Garden of the Muses is still shrinking. I will continue to enjoy it while I can.

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1 Comments:

Blogger The Gay Species said...

Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, Tennessee Williams, to name but a few great artists, and today their works are "too difficult" to understand. But rhetoric students can learn the Talmud and Post-Modernism and Social Constructionism. Anyone who reads Derrida and does not "get it" instantly really is a dunce. But then I had a Marxist philosophy professor who had not read any philosopher prior to Hume. Dialectical historicism obviated it. Imagine her consternation to learn Protagoras' axiom: Man is the measure of all things? That got her to open an ancient philosophy text.

12:18 AM  

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