Olson, again

While I'm on the subject, here are a few words from Ralph Maud that help explain my interest in Olson - and why his appropriation of Corbin's work is such a fertile field for digging.

The Post-modern — Olson was the first to use this word “post-modern”; but, given his clear and meaningful definition of it, he cannot be held responsible for the later careless and muddled application of the word in literary and art criticism. He pointed out (in letters to Robert Creeley at first) that to go ahead from the present stasis requires absorbing the lessons of the very different distant past — before Plato, who started what we now have. The post-modern, for Olson, would have a lot to do with Sumer and pre-Homeric Greek mythology. Olson was a “Professor of Mythology” at the State University of New York at Buffalo in the year 1964-65, or he claims that title as a reality, as a “myth.” In a word, the “post-modern,” for Olson, is the “archaic.”(This is from Maud's "Topics" page. He expands on this in the fine short essay "Charles Olson's Archaic Postmodern." That essay has a little surprise for me at the end where Maud brings in Stuart Kauffman, who taught me a great deal some years ago.)

Charles Olson and Robert Richman, Big Cranberry Island, Maine, August 1969 (Ralph Maud collection)


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