"Local Color": Ronald Johnson, Charles Ives and America

Hair, Ross (2011) "Local Color": Ronald Johnson, Charles Ives and America. Comparative American Studies, 9 (2). pp. 129-143.

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This paper considers Charles Ives's influence on the poetry of Ronald Johnson and its innovative reappraisal of American modernism and nineteenth-century transcendentalism. Keen to distance himself from Pound's Eurocentric ideas of history and culture, Johnson, following Ives's example, turns to American vernacular culture in his long poem ARK. In this essay, I propose that, from Ives, Johnson learns the importance of artistic sincerity and integrity that grows out of, and responds to, what Ives calls 'local color'. In doing so, I argue, Johnson's transcendentalist-inspired poetics perform a critical unlearning of European tradition. This is a tradition that the American artist, following Emerson, must initially master and assimilate into, rather than reject from, his or her own work in order that that their 'local color' achieves wider, universal, significance and impact.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The Idea of Influence in American Literature issue
Uncontrolled Keywords: ronald johnson,charles ives,collage,americana,transcendentalism,d.h. lawrence,art music
Faculty \ School: University of East Anglia > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > American Studies
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2015 16:18
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2021 23:26
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/52948
DOI: 10.1179/147757011X12983070065196

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