Taking historical guidance from Pound's ideas, Luke Carson examines the political and economic reflections and investigations undertaken by Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky during the crucial period of the Depression. These three very different writers, he argues, share a complex set of attitudes and beliefs grounded in a collective social fantasy which is centred on the figure of 'material abundance'. He traces the contours of this social fantasy in Marxist and psychoanalytical terms to claim that it takes shape in relation to the rise of mass consumption and the emergence of corporate social forms. The Depression, he argues, provokes a crisis in the social values corresponding to the figure of material abundance, and instigates the return of an ethic of sacrifice associated with conditions of scarcity.
The tightly focused and often elegant work is essential reading for anyone concerned with the intellectual culture of the Depression and the influence of economic philosophy on the formation and diversity of modernist poetics. Modernism/ Modernity
Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction Consumption and Depression (Stein and Pound) Gertrude Stein's Great Depression Value From Obligation (Stein) 'New Deal or Steal' (Zukofsky and Pound) Animated Things (Zakofesky and Pound) Endnotes