Ezra Pound On Gender Essay Research Paper
Ezra Pound On Gender Essay, Research Paper
The followers is Pound & # 8217 ; s Introduction to his interlingual rendition of
Remy de Gourmont & # 8217 ; s The Natural Philosophy of Love
“ Il y aurait peut- ? tre une certain corr? lation entre La sexual intercourse compl? Te et
profonde et lupus erythematosus vitamin D? veloppement degree Celsius? R? bral. ”
Not merely is this suggestion, made by our writer at the terminal of his
8th chapter, both possible and likely, but it is more than probably that the encephalon
itself, is, in beginning and development, merely a kind of great coagulum of venereal fluid held in
suspense or modesty ; at foremost over the cervical ganglion, or, earlier or in other species,
held in several coagulums over the scattered head nervus Centres ; and augmenting in changing
velocities and measures into myelin oblongata, cerebellum and cerebrum. This hypothesis
would possibly explicate a certain figure of as yet uncorrelated phenomena both psychological
and physiological. It would explicate the tremendous content of the encephalon as a shaper or
presenter of images. Speciess would hold developed in conformity with, or their development
would hold been affected by the comparative discharge and keeping of the fluid ; this
proportion being both a affair of measure and of quality, some animate beings gaining barely
at all by the alluvial Nile-flood ; the baboon retaining nil ; work forces seemingly besoting
themselves in some instances by surplus, and in other instances dispatching seemingly merely a
excess at high force per unit area ; the idiot, or the mastermind, the “ strong-willed ” .
I offer an thought instead than an statement ; yet if we consider that the power of the
antherozoid is exactly the power of bring outsiding a signifier, and if we consider the deficiency
of any other known substance in nature capable of turning into encephalon, we are left with
merely one surprise, or instead one decision, viz. , in face of the littleness of the
mean encephalon & # 8217 ; s activity, we must reason that the spermatozoic substance must hold
greatly atrophied in its alteration from lactic to coagulated and hereditarily coagulated
status. Given, that is, two great seas of this fluid, reciprocally magnetized, the admiration
is, or at least the first admiration is, that human idea is so inactive.
Chemical research may hold something to state on the topic, if it be directed to
comparing of encephalon and spermatophore in the nuclear submarine, to the syrupy binding of the bee & # 8217 ; s
fecundative liquid. I offer lone contemplations, possibly a few informations ; indicants of earlier
prefigurations of an thought which truly surprises no 1, but seems as if it might hold been
lying on the survey tabular array of any doctor or philosopher.
There are hints of it in the symbolism of phallic faiths, adult male truly the Phallus or
antherozoid charging, head-on, the female pandemonium ; integrating of the male in the male
organ. Even oneself has felt it, driving any new thought into the great inactive vulva of
London, a esthesis correspondent to the male feeling in sexual intercourse.
Without any aside on feminism, taking simply the division Gourmont has given
( Aristotelean, if you like ) , one offers adult female as the accretion of familial aptitudes,
better than adult male in the “ utile gestures ” , the flawlessnesss ; but to adult male, given
what we have of history, the “ innovations ” , the new gestures, the extravagancy,
the wild shootings, the impractical, simply because in him occurs the new upjut, the new
bathing of the intellectual tissues in the remainder, in la mousse of the life
Or, as I am surely neither composing an anti-feminist piece of land, nor claiming
disproportional privilege for the antherozoid, for the interest of symmetricalness ascribe a
connate function to the ovule, though I can barely be expected to introspect it. A inundation is as
bad as a dearth ; the ovular bath could still account for the refreshment of the female
head, and the recharging, regracing of its “ traditional aptitudes ” ; where one
adult female appears to profit by an alluvial clarifying, 10 twelve appear to be swamped.
Contending that the intellectual fluid tried all kinds of experiments, and, striking
affair, forced it into all kinds of signifiers, by flushs ; we have true in insect life a
female predomination ; in bird, mammal and human, at least an increasing mate prominence.
And these four of import subdivisions of “ the fan ” may be differentiated harmonizing
to their evident head desire, or beginning of taking their species.
Insect, public-service corporation ; bird, flight ; mammal, muscular luster ; adult male, experiment.
The insect stand foring the female, and public-service corporation ; the demand of heat being present, the
insect chooses to work out the job by hibernation, i.e. a kind of negation of action. The
bird desiring uninterrupted freedom, plumes itself, Desire for ornament appears in all the
subdivisions, adult male bring outsiding it most. The chiropteran & # 8217 ; s secret appears to be that he is non the
bird-mammal, but the mammal-insect: economic system of tissue, hibernation. The female rule
being non merely public-service corporation, but utmost economic system, adult female, falling by this division into a male
subdivision, is the least female of females, and at this point one escapes from a journalistic
sex-squabble into the resistance of two rules, public-service corporation and a kind of adventurousness.
In its subservience to the money fetish our age returns to the darkness of medievalism.
Two osmies may do otiose eggless nests, but do non kill each other in contending
which shall lodge the supererogatory honey therein. It is possibly no more foolish to travel
at a anchorite & # 8217 ; s command to retrieve an old burial chamber than to do new burial chambers at the
command of finance.
In his turning subservience to, and worship of, and web in machines, in
public-service corporation, adult male rounds the circle about into insect life, the absence of flesh ; and may hold
necessitate even of horned Gods to salvage him, or at least of a signifier of idea which permits them.
Take it that usual idea is a kind of agitating or switching of a fluid in the syrupy
cells of the encephalon ; one has seen electricity depriving the atoms of Ag from a
plated knife in a chemical bath, with order and quickness, and garnering them on the other
pole of a magnet. Take it every bit materially as you like. There is a kind of spirit-level in
the ear, giving us our sense of balance. And dreams? Do they non go on exactly at the
minutes when 1 has tipped the caput ; are they non, with their incoherent commixture of known
and familiar images, like the pouring of a complicated honeycomb tilted from its
perpendicular? Does non this spring exactly the needful mixture of familiar signifiers in
non-sequence, the clutter of fragments each coherent within its ain bound?
And from the popular address, is non the reasonable adult male called “ healthy ” ,
has he non his “ caput ” good screwed on or “ screwed on heterosexual ” ; and
are non madmans and grouchs frequently recognizable from some curious passenger car or joust of the
headstall ; and is non the mind ever pictured with his caput bowed into his manus, yes,
but degree so far as left to compensate is concerned? The upward-jaw, head-back airs has long
been explained by the comparative places of the myelin and the more human parts of the
encephalon ; this need non be dragged in here ; nor do I intend to asseverate that you can bring around a
moonstruck simply by keeping his caput degree.
Thought is a chemical procedure, the most interesting of all transfusions in liquid
solution. The head is an up-spurt of sperm, no, allow me change that ; seeking to watch the
procedure: the sperm, the form-creator, the substance which compels the ovule to germinate in a
given form, one microscopic, small letter atom, come ining the “ castle ” of the
“ Thought is a vegetable, ” says a modern hermetic, whom I have frequently
contradicted, but whom I do non wish to belie at this point. Thought is a
“ chemical procedure ” in relation to the organ, the encephalon ; originative idea is an
act like fertilization, like the male dramatis personae of the human seed, but given that dramatis personae, that
interjection, I am absolutely willing to allow that the idea one time born, separated, in
respect to itself, non in relation to the encephalon that begat it, does take an independent
life much like a member of the vegetable land, blowing seeds, thoughts from the paradisial
garden at the acme of Dante & # 8217 ; s Purgatory, capable of lodging and shooting where
And Gourmont has the phrase “ fertilizing a coevals of organic structures as mastermind
fecundates a coevals of heads ” .
Man is the amount of the animate beings, the amount of their inherent aptitudes, as Gourmont has repeated in
the class of his book. Given, foremost a few, so as we get to our ain status, a mass of
these spermatozoic atoms withheld, in suspense, waiting in the organ that has been
built up through ages by a countless similar waitings.
Each of these atoms is, we need non state, witting of signifier, but has by all counts a
capacity for formal look: is non thought exactly a form-comparing and
That is to state we have the hair-thinning “ abstract idea ” and we have the
concrete idea of adult females, of creative persons, of instrumentalists, the mockedly “ long-haired ” ,
who have made everything in the universe. We have the form-making and the form-destroying
“ idea ” , merely the first of which is truly satisfactory. I don & # 8217 ; t wish to be
discriminatory, it is absolutely possible to see the “ abstract ” idea, ground,
etc. , as the comparing, regimentation, and least common denominator of a battalion of
images, but in the terminal each of the images is a small spoilt thereby, no 1 of them is
the Apollo, and the shapers of this sort of idea have been called dryasdust since the
beginning of history. The regiment is less interesting as a whole than any single in
it. And, as we are being highly material and physical and animate being, in the aftermath of our
writer, we will go forth old married womans & # 8217 ; shots about the profuseness of hair, and its opportunity
possible indicant or countenance of a possible neighbouring wellness beneath the skull.
Creative idea has manifested itself in images, in music, which is to sound what the
concrete image is to spy. And the idea of mastermind, even of the mathematical mastermind,
the mathematical prodigy, is truly the same kind of thing, it is a sudden out-spurt of
head which takes the signifier demanded by the job ; which creates the reply, and baffles
the adult male numbering on the abacus.
I question the comments about the sphex in Chapter 19, “ que le sphex s & # 8217 ; est signifier?
lentement ” , I query this with a strong belief for which anyone is at autonomy to name me
moonstruck, and for which I offer no better land than simple self-contemplation. I believe, and
on no better land than that of a sudden emotion, that the alteration of species is non a
slow affair, managed by cross-breeding, of nature & # 8217 ; s Belgian hares and mules, I believe that
the species alterations every bit all of a sudden as a adult male makes a vocal or a verse form, or every bit all of a sudden as he starts
doing them, more all of a sudden than he can cut a statue in rock, at most every bit easy as a
locust or long-tailed Sirmione false mosquito emerges from its outgrown tegument. It is non
even proved that adult male is at the terminal of his physical
Say that the variegation of species has passed its most sensational stages, say
that it had one time a great stimulation from the celerity of the Earth & # 8217 ; s chilling, if one accepts
the geologists & # 8217 ; reading of that thermometric cyclone. The cooling planet contracts,
it is as if one had some clay in a Sn bucket, and forced down the lid with such force per unit area
that the can jump a twelve leaks, or it is as if one had the clay in a linen bag and
squeezed ; simply as mechanics ( non numbering that one has all the known and unknown
chemical elements chilling at the same time ) , but simply as mechanics this contraction gives
energy adequate to squash flora through the pores of the fanciful linen and to detach
certain atoms, go forthing them still a impulse. A organic structure should chill with diminishing velocity
in step as it approaches the temperature of its milieus ; nevertheless, the Earth is
still, I think, supposed to be warmer than the environing unknown, and is presumptively
still chilling, or at any rate it is non proved that adult male is at the terminal of his physical
alterations. I return to horned Gods and the aura in a few paragraphs. It is non proved that
even the kind of drift provided by a shrinkage of planetal surface is denied one.
What is known is that adult male & # 8217 ; s great divergency has been in the devising of detached,
That is to state, if an insect carries a proverb, it carries it all the clip. The “ following
measure ” , as in the instance of the male organ of the nuclear submarine, is to turn a tool and detach
Man & # 8217 ; s first innovations are fire and the nine, that is to state he detaches his digestion,
he finds a agency to acquire heat without let go ofing the Calories of the log by internal
burning inside his ain tummy. The innovation of the first tool turned his head ( utilizing
this term in the full sense ) ; turned, allow us state, his “ encephalon ” from his ain organic structure.
No demand for greater aerial, a 5th arm, etc. , except, after a oversight as a circuit Delaware
force, to demo that he is still Godhead of his organic structure.
That is to state the crawfish & # 8217 ; s long antennas, all kinds of extravagancies in nature may be
taken as the consequence of a individual flush of idea. A individual out-push of a demand, made by a
spermous sea of sufficient energy to project such a signifier. To project it as one electric pole
will project a flicker to another ; to bring outside ; sometimes to move in this with more
enthusiasm than cautiousness.
Let us state rather merely that visible radiation is a projection from the aglow fluid, from the
energy that is in the encephalon, down along the nervus cords which receive certain quivers
in the oculus. Let us say adult male capable of bring outsiding a new organ, horn, aura, Eye of
Horus. Give a encephalon of this power, comes the inquiry, what organ, and to what aim?
Turning to folk-lore, we have Frazer on horned Gods, we have Egyptian statues,
by and large supposed to be “ symbols ” , of cat-headed and ibis-headed Gods. Now in a
crude community, a adult male, a volontaire, might put on the line it. He might desire prestigiousness,
authorization, want them plenty to turn horns and claim a Godhead heritage, or to turn a cat
caput ; Grecian doctrine would hold smiled at him, would hold deprecated his fanfare.
With crude adult male he would hold risked a good trade, he would hold been deified, or
crucified, or perchance both. Today he would be caught for a circus.
One does non asseverate that cat-headed Gods appeared in Egypt after the 3rd dynasty ; the
state had a long memory and such a phenomenon would hold made some splash in the vale.
The horned God would look to hold persisted, and the vastly high caput of the Chinese
contemplative as shown in art and the China images is another isolated grain of tradition.
But adult male goes on doing new modules, or burying old 1s. That is to state you have
all kinds of aptitudes developed without external alteration, which in an earlier biological
province would perchance hold found animal look. You have every exploited
“ hyper-aesthesia ” , i.e. every new signifier of mastermind, from the module of hearing
four parts in a fugue absolutely, to the ear for money ( vide Henry James in The
Ivory Tower, the transitions on Mr. Gaw ) . Here I merely magnify what Gourmont has indicated
in Chapter 20. You have the visualizing sense, the “ stretch ” of imaginativeness, the
mystics & # 8211 ; for what there is to them & # 8211 ; Santa Theresa who “ saw ” the microcosmos,
bell, heaven, purgatory complete, “ the size of a walnut ” ; and you have Mr. W. , a
wool-broker in London, who all of a sudden at 3 ante meridiem visualizes the whole of his letter-file,
three 100 paginations ; he sees and reads peculiarly the missive at booklet 171, but he sees
at the same time the full contents of the file, the whole thing about the size of two
balls of loaf sugar laid level side to level side.
Remains exactly the inquiry: adult male experiencing this protean capacity to turn a new organ:
what organ shall it be? Or new module: what module?
His first repudiation, flight, he has regained, about as if the repudiation, so
recent in footings of biological science, had been committed in foresight. Instinct conserves merely the
“ utile ” gestures. Air provides small nourishment, and anyhow the first great
pleasance surrendered, the simple aspiration to mount the air has been regained and
regratified. Water was ne’er surrendered, adult male with subaquatic longings is stiff, given a
knife, the shark & # 8217 ; s conqueror.
The new module? Without so the fanfare of an organ. Will? The hypnotizer has
shown the amour propre and Blake the uselessness of willing trifles, and black thaumaturgy its futility.
The telepathic module? In the first topographic point is it new? Have non travelers ever told prick
and bull narratives about its being in barbarian Africa? Is it non a module that adult male has
given up, if non as useless, at any rate as of a really limited usage, a distraction, more
bother than it is deserving? Missing a localizing sense, the barbarian knowing, if he does, what
happens “ someplace ” else, but ne’er cognizing rather where. The module was possibly
non worth the harm it does to concentration of head on some utile topic.
“ Instinct preserves the utile gestures. ”
Take it that what adult male wants is a capacity for clearer apprehension, or for physical
refreshment and energy, are non these exactly the modules he is for of all time hammering at,
possibly doltishly? Muscularly he goes easy, athletic records being invariably worn down
by millimeters and seconds.
I appear to hold thrown down spots of my note slightly at random ; allow me return to
physiology. Peoples were long ignorant of the circulation of the blood ; that known, they
appeared to believe the nervousnesss stationary ; Gourmont speaks of “ circulation
nerveuse ” , but many people still see the nervus as at most a telegraph wire,
merely because he does non shed blood visibly when cut. The current is “ interrupted ” .
The school books of twenty old ages ago were instead obscure about lymph, and assorted secretory organs
still baffle doctors. I have non seen the suggestion that some of them may function instead
as fuses in an electric system, to forestall short circuits, or in some discrepancy or
allotropic signifier. The antherozoid is, I take it, regarded as a kind of ether ; the
encephalon is besides a ether, or at least “ in resonance with ” all parts of the
organic structure ; the individual antherozoid demands merely that the ovule shall build a human being,
the suspended antherozoid ( if my wild changeable rings the mark bell ) is ready to distribute
with, in the actual sense, embodiment, enmeshment. Shall we postulate the mass of
antherozoids, foremost accumulated in suspense, so specialized?
Three channels, snake pit, purgatory, heaven, if one wants to follow yet another
nomenclature: digestive elimination, embodiment, freedom in the imaginativeness, i.e. dramatis personae into
an exterior formlessness, or into form stuff, or simply inventive visually or possibly
musically or possibly fixed in some other sensuous dimension, even of gustatory sensation or smell
( there have been possibly originative cooks and perfumers? ) .
The dead arduous digest and comparing of other work forces & # 8217 ; s dead images, all this is
mere labor, non the spermatozoic act of the encephalon.
Woman, the curator, the heir of past gestures, clever, practical, as Gourmont
says, non imaginative, ever the best adherent of any discoverer, has been ever the enemy
of the dead or arduous signifier of digest, abstraction.
Not sing the procedure ended ; taking the single mastermind as the adult male in whom the
new entree, the new overplus of spermatozoic force per unit area ( quantitative and qualitative )
upshoots into the encephalon, alluvial Nile-flood, conveying new harvests, new innovation. And as
Gourmont says, there is merely concluding where there is initial mistake, i.e. failing of the
jet, rolling hunt.
In no instance can it be a inquiry of mere carnal measure of sperm. You have the adult male who
wears himself out and weakens his encephalon, reverberation of the Pongo pygmaeus, evidently non the gifted
screen ; you have the contrasted instance in the type of adult male who truly can non work until he has
relieved the force per unit area on his spermous canals.
This is a inquiry of physiology, it is non a inquiry of ethical motives and sociology. Given
the spermatozoic idea, the two great seas of fecundative affair, the encephalon lobes,
reciprocally magnetized, aglow in their ain cognition of their being ; whether they may be
expected to seek exterior “ lust ” , or whether they are traveling to reiterate
Augustine anthem, is non in my legal power. An exterior Eden might non tempt them
“ La B? tise humaine est La seule chose qui Donne une Idaho? e de l & # 8217 ; infini ” , says
Renan, and Gourmont has quoted him, and all flesh is grass, a superior grass.
It remains that adult male has for centuries nibbled at this thought of connexion, confidant
connexion between his sperm and his thinking, the abstainer has tried to keep back all
his sperm, the enticement, the ignis fatuus possibly, of desiring to super-think ; the dope-fiend
has tried opium and every inferior to Bacchus, to acquire an excess boot out of the organ, the
mystics have sought the glow in the tap house, Helen of Tyre, priestesses in the temple of
Venus, in Indian temples, isolated priestesses in the streets, unuprootable usage, and
likely with a footing of saneness. A sense of balance might demo that asceticism agencies
either a drouth or a crowding. The liquid solution must be kept at right consistence ; one
would state the due proportion of liquid to syrupy atoms, a good circulation ; the
existent quality of the screen or centrifuge, numbering possibly most of all ; the balance and
Possibly the hint is in Propertius after all:
Ingenium nobis ipsa puella fecit.
There is the whole of the 12th century love cult, and Dante & # 8217 ; s metaphysics a small
to one side, and Gourmont & # 8217 ; s Latin Mystique ; and for image-making both Fenollosa on The
Chinese Written Character, and the paragraphs in Le Probl? me du Style. At any
rate the wrangle between cerebralist and viveur and ignorantist terminals, if the encephalon is therefore
conceived non as a separate and dried-out organ, but as the really fluid of life itself.