The Questing, Passive Gaze: Ezra Pound’s “Yeux Glauques,” John Ruskin, and the Pre-Raphaelite Moment

Author:Mark Scroggins Time:2019-07-09 Click:

Yeux Glauques,” the sixth poem of Ezra Pound’s 1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, has been read as an indictment of Victorian viewers’ and readers’ rejection of Pre-Raphaelite art and poetry, a rejection proleptic of Georgian readers’ rejection of Pound’s own innovations. This is largely accurate. But the poem’s citation (in its first stanza) of John Ruskin’s “Of Kings’ Treasuries” can be read as directing readers’ attention to Ruskin’s 1864 lecture, in part an exhortation to examine the etymologies of the words of the texts they read. Such an etymological examination of “glauques” in the poem’s title in effect reinforces a secondary implication of the poem as a whole: that the Pre-Raphaelite movement suffered from its members’ failure to convincingly or feelingly represent active female subjectivity.

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