"'All humans, by their nature,' said Aristotle, 'desire to know.' A special and unparalleled way to know is to simply go where you've never been before. And the key to this quest for knowledge is 'elsewhere.'" So begins The Elsewhere Community by acclaimed literary critic Hugh Kenner, author of The Pound Era, and himself a living archive of modernism in twentieth-century literature. Kenner traces the quest for elsewhere as it manifests itself in various modes of "travel," from the eighteenth century English tradition of a Grand Tour to the continent, to literary meetings-of-the-mind (Milton's visit to Galileo, T.S. Eliot's to Ezra Pound, Kenner's own visit to Beckett), to today's planet-wide Internet journeys, free from all physical limitations. As he chronicles this Elsewhere Community built of people exploring the unknown, Kenner illuminates how this passion has infused literature, from Homer and Dante to Dickens and Joyce. Kenner frames this unique exploration with a witty rumination on the life of the literary expatriate, fondly recalling his friendships with Ezra Pound, Samuel Beckett, Wyndham Lewis, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and other twentieth-century literary luminaries. Thus a fascinating intellectual autobiography emerges of Hugh Kenner as critic and chronicler, a man whose own life and work uniquely position him to assess the importance of travel in literary life. Written with the confidence, grace, and verve that have always characterized Kenner's work, this delightful book is for anyone seeking to understand the irrepressible human urge to travel and to know.
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