I’ve been reading a lot of Gelpi lately, both The Tenth Muse and Coherent Splendour–all about American poetry. I’m struck in particular by a possible relationship between information visualization and the philosophy of Imagism (according to Gelpi):
The Imagist does not blindly overlook the dynamic, even determining function of the psyche in the act of perception; no aware person after Kant could. But the Imagist was much closer to the Romantic than to the subject and object as the essential act of perception. The spiraling subjectivity of Symbolisme represented the implosion of Romantic epistemology. But whereas Imagism adopted a Modernist stance to clear away Romantic metaphysics which seemed to make for egoism and for an increasingly soft clutter of self-indulgent rhetoric, its epistemological aim was more Romantic than its founders, in the midst of their anti-idealist polemics, could recognize. The Imagist instinctively resists the surrender of objects to the inventions and impositions of the disintegrative, reintegrative mind because, in Duncan’s words again, Imagism is grounded in the “belief that meaning is not given to the world about us but derived from the world about us.” From Imagists like Pound and H.D. (herein, too, Lay Lawrence’s connections with Imagism) the psychological “complex” which the Image registers remains a genuine “sign,” which carries “into human language a word or a phrase (in Pound’s later poetics, the ideogram; in H.D.’s the hieroglyph) of the great language in which the universe itself is written” (CS261).
Wow. I continue to find myself wondering if some movements in literature will be easier to “visualize” than others, if genre matters, if the philosophical underpinnings behind the work matters, if the gender, the language, the cultural contexts matter in forming visualizations.
Any thoughts? Any suggested readings?