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Essays on Modern American Literature
Author: David Herd

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

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Four Decisive Challenges Confronting Humanitarian Innovation
Gerard Finnigan and Otto Farkas

Foundation, 2016 ; UNHCR, 2016b ). This donor financing has been essential in promoting creativity to discover new and better ways of delivering humanitarian responses. However, policies that underpin the funding have also inadvertently pushed and pulled NGO responders towards practices that inhibit, restrict or stifle innovation. The current donor enthusiasm for scalability is a case in point ( Cooley and Linn, 2014 ; DFAT, 2019 ; USAID, 2019b ). Donors often emphasise the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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Enthusiasm and audit
David Herd

Afterword: enthusiasm and audit This book has been about the transmission of literature. It has shown various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within their writing or in their cultural activism. The word for both kinds of action has been enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, it has been argued, is integral to what Modern American literature, in particular, knows; enthusiasm being, as each of the writers discussed here has one way or another understood it, the state of mind in which composition is possible. It is also integral to the circulation of

in Enthusiast!
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Henry David Thoreau
David Herd

words. It illustrates, or offers an analogy for, a sense of voice which is both in some sense — ‘lustily’ – uncontrolled, and in another sense highly meaningful, which can be understood at least in part as issuing from somewhere else, and which when it goes out into the world – which it cannot help but do – results in action; it gets things going. What Thoreau means to do in Walden, in other words, in a very full sense of the word, is to enthuse, and what his epigraph gestures towards is the scope and understanding of his enthusiasm. So far I’ve drawn on – or alluded

in Enthusiast!
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Frank O’Hara
David Herd

filled with light reflected from the canal. I was a painter in Venice. (H, 101) The point here is the transformation, just as when Feldman, speaking of the conditions necessary to creativity, observes that ‘what really matters is to have someone like Frank standing behind you. That’s what keeps you going’ (H, 13). What both painter and composer are alluding to is what Renee Neu, Kenneth Koch and Donald Allen refer to as O’Hara’s enthusiasm. ‘Perhaps,’ O’Hara wrote of a posthumous Yves Klein show, in his third Art Chronicle, ‘not for a non-enthusiast.’ ‘But,’ as he

in Enthusiast!
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A short essay on enthusia
David Herd

Introduction: a short essay on enthusiasm Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm. Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose

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Ezra Pound
David Herd

curiously passive coercion: he has ‘always been impelled’ to make discoveries and to pass them on; everything was in the name of the art he ‘serves’. Poundian enthusiasm, in other words, as Eliot wants apologetically to put it, can sometimes tip over into authoritarianism, and it was founded – and here there is not an apology – on an act of servility. Here’s another portrait of the enthusiast: When I consider his work as a whole I find more style than form; at moments more style, more deliberate nobility and the means to convey it 80 Enthusiast! Essays on Modern

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Herman Melville
David Herd

American Literature was his wife, Sophia, who wrote about it to Evert Duyckinck: ‘I keep constantly reading over & over the inspired utterances ... There is such a generous, noble enthusiasm as I have not found in any critic of my writer.’4 The phrase is right: ‘inspired utterance’. Few writers ever, probably, have felt as capable of the inspired utterance as Herman Melville did when he was writing Moby-Dick. The evidence is all through the novel, but here’s a passage that seems particularly to the point: My hypothesis is this: that the spout is nothing but mist. And

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Marianne Moore
David Herd

presenting Moore, conflating as it does intellectual curiosity with acquisition, and privileging matters of procedure over questions of form and technique, significantly diminishes her sensibility, and in the process misses the point of her enthusiasm. To get closer to the point, one might, perhaps, think in terms of the question with which George Oppen opens his sequence ‘Five Poems about Poetry’. ‘The question is,’ Oppen writes, ‘how does one hold an apple / Who likes apples?’1 This is a difficult question; not a question it is hard to understand, maybe, but a question

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James Schuyler
David Herd

6 Relishing: James Schuyler More than any other writer discussed in this book – more, even, than Thoreau – James Schuyler’s enthusiasm is to be found in his language. So while there are ways in which this closing discussion could be front-loaded – through Schuyler’s art criticism or his consistently exuberant correspondence, with a consideration of his more manic episodes, or in terms of the traditions he managed so gracefully to absorb – the place to start is among the words themselves: in his poems, but also in The Diary, a work of exceptional quality in its

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