Thursday, 5 October 2000

From lectures on Maximus IV, V, VI

By Jeremy Prynne, Simon Fraser University, July 27, 1971.

Well, right at the beginning of the new Maximus, the IV, V, and VI, we are told we turn our backs on the sea. We have been right out to sea. And by sea, of course, Olson means space and means the large condition of the cosmos; and we must understand that for Olson to look from the Gloucester coast out into the Atlantic is to look into the livelihood of the past, to look into the economic support of the whole of the beginnings of that race from which he felt he came, to look back to the cultural origins of the whole settlement of New England, and to look back to the mid-Atlantic ridges, those upthrusts of mountain ridges down beneath the Atlantic, which figure so largely in his imagination as the last residues of the birth of the great continents in the original orogenies which formed the earth as we know it. And when he talks about cosmos, what he does not mean, of course, is that squalid astral picnicking, recently propagandized by Dr. von Braun, which is an essential technological vulgarity of an entirely different order.

No comments: