Tuesday, August 4, 2015

RAW writes to Hugh Kenner

Hugh Kenner

Hugh Kenner was a major literary critic who helped boost the reputation of Ezra Pound and who also wrote about James Joyce.

Robert Anton Wilson wrote to Kenner — and that correspondence has been preserved.

On July 23, Jonathan Goodman, associate professor of English at University of Louisiana, Lafayette wrote on Twitter, "Robert Anton Wilson wrote several letters to Hugh Kenner in which he argued that Kenner underestimated importance of Pound's economic ideas. And did not appreciate the importance of cybernetics."

When I asked Professor Goodman where those letters are available, he replied, "Harry Ransom Center."

That's a repository of papers and art at the University of Texas in Austin. I've actually been there. Years ago, I visited it and looked at the correspondence of Charles Henri Ford, a Surrealist poet I've been interested in for years. If I recall correctly, I was only allowed to make notes in pencil.

Anyway, the correspondence is there in Austin, if somebody wants to take a look. I doubt I can access it without being there in person.


supergee said...

If that is what RAW wrote to Kenner, he was dead wrong. The best explanation of social credit that I've ever seen is in Kenner's The Pound Era. The second best is in Kenner's Bucky. Kenner was bicultural and loved computers; they helped him deal with his lifelong hearing problem (although he was very good on how poems sound). He wrote a column for a computer magazine in the 80s.

beowulf1723 said...

I wouldn't advise a trip to Austin at the moment, Tom, as the highs have been around 100 of late. :(

The Ransom Center has a lot of material on Pound, Joyce, and -- interestingly for a library buried in the depths of the Bible Belt -- Crowley. There may be other RAW related materials there also.

Ben Turpin said...

Born 01/07/1923. Died 11/23/2003. Childhood bout of flu resulted in hearing loss. He as a deaf poetry critic and RAW as a sit-down comedian. Still on tour. The mystery works in worldly ways. I would hope RAW was not as "dead wrong" as Supergee seems to entertain, (a lively wrongness?) and that his questions were sensible, and not as stark and confrontational as the Tweeter made It seem; his other tweets seem to be composed of general blather. Supergee should write a book about all the times RAW was dead wrong, and cure some Guru-think. I doubt that Kenner loved computers, or typewriters, or paper. Maybe he did. Why did he get married to a human woman the second time around then? He could have wed a mainframe instead. Tom, you need to sharpen your pencil and go gander at those letters for us. Sadly, we pay no dues for your diligence. Have fun getting to Austin on Google Adsense revenue!

supergee said...

We're talking about hearsay. I would love to see what RAW said to Kenner, rather than what someone thinks he did.

PQ said...

That's funny. Our local Finnegans Wake Reading Group here in ATX is making a special visit to the Harry Ransom Center TOMORROW afternoon to get an exclusive tour of their Wake-related materials.