The Flagship ‘Speech’
INTERMEZZO 6: Pound and Peirce
CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE: A SKETCH OF LOGICAL CRITICS, 1911
Ezra Pound and Charles S. Peirce: astonished at being brought together.
The wealth of an unwritten book on them gives us uneasy feelings:
“Who are we, and what do we neglect?”
Pound and Peirce: the first is the poet who was a philosopher who liberated himself from all systemic and cultural ballast and wrote as a poet; the other was the philosopher who freed himself from systemic and cultural ballast and wrote as a poet. Surprising perspectives are open to those who study how the two were fascinated by language. A crossroads of cultures opens before our eyes. There are no names for such crossings. Are the two solely operating in one language—in English? By no means do they do so. They would, remarkably enough, never focus on how many languages they mastered as a means of communication or conversation, but were only interested in how many different languages were enclosed in their perspectives on life and its plurality of cultures. This phenomenon of enclosure has many layers of meaning.
To think, speak, or write about Pound in a mother tongue is a risky adventure. His prose contains a parallel with the lawyer’s problem: the speech most wanted and experienced is at a dangerous distance to the languages of the everyday. In the case of Pound, when reading his texts each fragment is a matter of translation from a multitude of languages, which became forged into...
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