Entries published during January, 2013

Modernism and the Abstraction of Value:
Poetry and Political Economy in transition (1927-38)

During this recent era, linguistic understandings of political economy found purchase for a wealth of reasons, many of which have a grounding in actual conditions. Nonetheless [. . .] the literarity of such conceptions ended up participating in, and sometimes generating, serious analytic errors . . . . The misrecognitions of value engendered by modes of literarity thus pose a radical limit to the history of the present. —Joshua Clover, “Value/Theory/Crisis” (107, 109)


In my lecture at the Poetry of the 70s conference at University of Maine (under the rubric “Late Capitalism and Language Writing”; 2008), I made a strong claim that the “turn to language” in poetry must be seen as simultaneously a response to the emergent horizon of neo­liberalism after 1973 along with an anticipatory illumination, undertaken at the level of form, of what the new order of intensified commodification and mobility of capital would look like—and how it might be comprehended and opposed. … More

Modern Language Association
Boston, 3–6 January 2013

Session 150. The Poet-Scholar. 7:00-8:15 PM, 4 January.
Hillary Gravendyk, presiding; with Julie Carr, Heather Dubrow, Margaret Ronda, Jennifer Scappettone, and Juliana Spahr.

[Running commentary on Storify here.]

Session 370. Marxism and Modernist Studies Today, 3:30–4:45 PM, 5 January.
Jason Baskin, presiding; with Ruth Jennison.

“Modernism and the Abstraction of Value: Political Economy in transition (1927-38)”

 [Introduction here.]

[for Sarah Ruddy]

In lieu of a list of resolutions for the New Year, a bibliography of books acquired at the recent MLA in Boston and on a side trip to Gloucester may point toward some of its promises.


Isherwood, Christopher. Goodbye to Berlin. New York: New Directions, 2012. New ed. in single volume.

Walser, Robert. The Assistant. Trans. Susan Bernofsky. New York: New Directions, 2007.

———. Microscripts. Trans. Susan Bernofsky. New York: New Directions/Christine Burgin, 2012.


Beckett, Samuel. Waiting for Godot/En attendant Godot: A Bilingual Edition. 1952/1953. New York: Grove Press, n.d.

Perec, Georges. La Boutique obscure: 124 Dreams. Trans. Daniel Levin Becker. Brooklyn: Melville House, 2012. Advance copy.


Chang, Iris. The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotton Holocaust of World War II. 1997; New York: Basic Books, 2012.

… More