Thursday, May 28, 2015

Malcolm Cowley: 'Exile's Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s' (Take I)

Another book due for defenestration -- prompting me to read it through one more time for the cheap seats. 

This is a 1986 paperback reprint with a peculiar cover. Falling apart, it's almost time to go. Malcolm Cowley, Exile's Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s (Penguin Books, reprint of the 1956 Viking Press edition; original edition published in 1934). 

This handy tome follows the arcs of mostly American writer types born around the turn of the twentieth century (1900 +/- 5), as seen through the observations of Malcolm Cowley (1898-1989). 

The most exciting time for many of this rambling crew came between the Great War of 1914-1918 (volunteering as ambulance drivers, nurses, pilots) and the Great Crash of 1929, followed by a puttering on through the Great Depression and, of those who didn't go crazy, commit suicide or otherwise die in the meantime, proceeding into the 1950s. 

Snippets: "Paris was a great machine for stimulating the nerves and sharpening the senses. Paintings and music, street noises, shops, flowers markets, modes, fabrics, poems, ideas, everything seemed to lead toward a half-sensual, half-intellectual swoon . . ." (page 135). 

"It was during one of those Wednesdays in Paris that I was first introduced to the Dada group . . ." (page 135). 

Cowley became fond of Dadaists, loving their energetic rebelliousness and wild antics.

And so: more to come before the drop. 

Today's Rune: Warrior. 


Charles Gramlich said...

Now that's an impressive list of names. I'm rather proud of recognizing them all.

the walking man said...

Ahhh the crew that birthed the Beats. I guess the singularity of Dadaists and their idea of being the last art form needed failed the calling of the world for the likes of Burroughs,Kerouac and the best of them all who would shoot me for lumping his name in--Bukowski, born a few years too late. Which is probably good but it would have been fun to read about the alley fight between Hemingway and Buk and who bought the drinks afterwards,

jodi said...

Erik-Even I knew a few! And, I WILL get to Paris someday!

Erik Donald France said...

Cheers, y'all ~! Mark, good points, indeed.