Product details File Size: June 23, Sold by: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 1 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I first came across Dr. Woodson's work while researching the Harlem Renaissance for a project of my own.
Woodson proposes that much of the Harlem Renaissance writing was influenced by the teachings of Gurdjieff and by extension, Ouspensky and Orage. The book makes a compelling case, and as one reviewer put it, one would have to be an expert on African American literature, literary Modernism and esotericism in order to properly assess its validity. Doreski, African American Review, vol 35, no 2 I decided that if my own research were to be complete, I would have to go about becoming well versed, if not exactly an expert, in all of these myself.
African American literature and literary Modernism were givens, given the focus of my project. Delving into esotericism and its roots in literary modernism was a separate task, and one that increasingly took up more of my time and interest. One reason for this is that years ago, I wrote my thesis on Hart Crane's long poem, "The Bridge," and while at the time, I thought I had done a pretty thorough study of the subject, I increasingly realized I missed the Ouspenskian influence present throughout Hart Crane's epic. This is in part my own fault; I simply didn't follow the threads of Ouspenky's influence on Crane far enough.
On the other hand, it seems the trend to exclude discussion of the esoteric influence on literary modernism has been more or less wide-spread, and it's hard to know if this is from an academic disdain for esoterica, or simply because the nature of esoteric coding makes it extremely difficult to recognize and analyze for those who aren't interested in pursuing its various tropes and idiosyncrasies.
I see this new book of Dr. Woodson was primarily concerned with examining the esoteric influences on the Harlem Renaissance, this new book boldly attempts to look at how Gurdjieffian philosophy, as interpreted by A. Orage, editor of the influential New Age magazine, worked its way into the texts of Modernist writers, both black and white. To echo again the statements of C. Doreski, one would have to be an expert on all the writers Dr. Woodson includes in this book, as well as an expert in esotericism, to review the effort entirely competently.
I haven't read all of the authors cited in this study, but I have now made a thorough study of esotericism from the early and midth century through the mid 20th century, and have studied a great deal of Modernist literature, and in my opinion, the book is extremely important: Modernism, after all, was a direct reaction, political and spiritual, to the increasingly bloody and mechanized world of the 20th Century, and it only stands to reason, that in times of material crisis, spiritual concerns would come to forefront, especially among the artists of the time, as artists often feel their art works as a supplement to their religious and spiritual concerns.
This is not to say the book is inaccessible to readers who aren't familiar with esotericism, or even the authors cited. The book enticingly introduces the reader to lesser-known writers, such as Walter Gilkyson, Dawn Powell and Isa Glenn, and does so in a way that makes one want to immediately go out and hunt down their books. Woodson is always intriguing when he introduces us to the work of new writers.
Finally, the discussion of the phonetic Cabala brings up lots of interesting questions, for me at least, who found that writers like Hart Crane, up through the Beat writers were often interested in writing literature that read like incantation. While I'm not well versed in the phonetic Cabala, and certainly many of the constructions Dr.
Jon Woodson | Howard University - ogozoqosolym.tk
Woodson proposes are hard to follow, and so hard to swallow, it seems to me beside the point to nitpick each of his deconstructions of the phonetic Cabala - as incantatory language is by its nature difficult to deconstruct, and this is one of the first serious attempts at it. Woodson's exploration of metathesis and literary Modernism is in itself compelling and thought provoking.
As far as I know, the fascinating relationship between modern literature and incantation has not been much explored; but in "Oragean Modernism", Dr. Woodson makes good headway into understanding this aspect of Modernism. Whatever one takes away from this engaging study, it certainly has to be said that Dr.
Woodson has done a great deal here to illuminate the spiritual aspects of literary Modernism, thematically and linguistically. Literature is a living, vital, enriching gift from writer to reader, and vice versa. The spiritual and spiritualist aspects of it should not be overlooked. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.
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The treatment of subsections and quotations is varied. There are numerous stylistic infelicities but, more importantly, spelling errors abound. I am also a reader of books devoted to the Fourth Way, so I have a fair knowledge of the characters and personalities involved in the Work. I know about the contributions made by A.
Indeed, I knew Louise Welch, his biographer; I am familiar with her book Orage with Gurdjieff in America, which is cited here and there.
I have read C. Yet I am not an ideal reader of this book in the sense that I know little about its author, Jon Woodson, or his previous publications in this field.
Howard is historically a Black university that is located in Washington, D. He is a recognized specialist in the field of African American expression. Well received was his study To Make a New Race: He is knowledgeable about a whole raft of writers whose names are familiar but whose writings are not as familiar as they should be. Orage , whose last name is now an adjective, was the brilliant editor of The New Age in London. He devoted the last decade of his life to assisting G.
Gurdjieff in his work in France and the United States.
In essence, he formed a variety of study groups in New York City, some devoted to the craft of writing, others to the study of the Work. I wrote a dissertation that read Melvin B. I have since worked to explore the esoteric cast of American modernism and have published To Make a New Race: Gurdjieff, Toomer, and the Harlem Renaissance , an account of how Tolson was introduced to esotericism by contact with the members of the Harlem Renaissance, many of whom were writing coded esoteric fiction and poetry. I have taught at Towson University and at Howard University.
I now am at work on a series of comic novels. Has he been successful in realizing this aim and objective? Paul Beekman Taylor, the redoubtable historian of the Work, is quoted on the cover of the present book as saying yes: Your book is a major contribution to the cultural, intellectual, and spiritual history of the Harlem Renaissance and all the wells it drew from.
Earlier I mentioned there is a useful illustration in the book. Some names are household names, largely from Greenwich Village: Other names are those of respected writers, many identified with the Harlem Renaissance: In the past it occurred to no one to search for esoteric influences or hermetic references in the works of Agee, Ellison, Dos Passos, West, for instance. And how about Alfred A. Knopf who is included in this group?
Jon Woodson’s “Oragean Modernism”
He and his wife Blanche established the most distinguished literary publishing imprint in the United States, largely by translating and issuing the cream of European literature of the Interwar Years. This is thin gruel. In the years ahead there may be readers and researchers who, following the lead of Professor Woodson, will devote time and energy to tracing the evidence for such influences. Professor Woodson devoted his doctoral dissertation to the writings of Melvin B. Ouspensky in order to shape his poems, and that Tolson was nothing less than a follower of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff.
Though I was successful in earning a Ph.