Why do modern poets quote from dictionaries in their poems? How has the tape recorder changed the poet's voice? What has shopping to do with Gertrude Stein's aesthetics? These and other questions form the core of Ghostlier Demarcations, a study of modern poetry as a material medium. One of today's most respected critics of twentieth-century poetry and poetics, Michael Davidson argues that literary materiality has been dominated by an ideology of modernism, based on the ideal of the autonomous work of art, which has hindered our ability to read poetry as a socially critical medium. By focusing on writing as a palimpsest involving numerous layers of materiality—from the holograph manuscript to the printed book—Davidson exposes modern poetry's engagement with larger historical forces. The palimpsest that results is less a poem than an arrested stage of writing in whose layers can be discerned ghostly traces of other texts.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1997.