The Poetics of Eros Redefining the Global: Examples in the Work of Khlebnikov, Qabbani, and e.e. cummings

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Angelina Saule


Currently, my research explores erotic desire in the poetry of three Modernist poets and the formal innovation that desire generated in poetics, as elucidated in the works of Velimir Khlebnikov (Russian-speaking), e.e.cummings (English-speaking), Nizar Quabbani (Arabic-speaking).

The paper analyses how global modernism as a field opens new interpretative horizons to reconceptualize the terrain of world literature and comparative literature.

The adjective ‘global’ provides an illustration of the temporal, geographical, and aesthetic expansions (and cross-territorializations-reterritorializations), yet ‘global’ also displaces the national and local, modifying and muddying the neat demarcations that had to conform to European and Anglo-American models associated with the studies of Comparative Literature and World Literature, [1] creating notions of North/South and/or East/West, and thus dictating locations of innovations which other national literatures had to compare to and not the other way around. 

Global modernist studies allows for new paradigms to develop in order to study the experimental literature of the world, stimulating various comparative strategies for reading modernism on a universal, planetary and even cosmological scale. 

 By rejecting the model of center/periphery that has dominated the fields of literary studies, certain scholars have questioned the scale of a singular modernity and instead suggests a polycentric model by mapping modernism from Central America to the Caucasus; by linking the peripheries of Latin America and Eurasia together, and demonstrating how these places were pregnant with modernism prior to and/or synchronically (rather than sequentially) with Western cities believed to embody modernist activity. 

My work is intent on reconceptualizing modernism as a global phenomenon, by establishing the aesthetic autonomy of language experiments and transgressions that embody modernist verse in the peripheries and centres of English-speaking, Russian-speaking and Arabic-speaking poets. By revealing shared poetic topologies between the paradoxes of time and space, which of them is primary?

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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