Rainey, Lawrence S. 1954-
Rainey, Lawrence S. 1954-
Born February 16, 1954.
Office—English and Related Literature, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Educator, writer, and editor. Yale University, New Haven, CT, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of English, 1997-98; University of York, York, England, professor of English and chair of modernist English, 1998—.
Mellon fellow, 1985-87; Best New Journal of 1995, Council of Editors of Learned Journals, for magazine Modernism/Modernity; Phoenix Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, for magazine Modernism/Modernity; Guggenheim fellow, 1996-97; Robert Motherwell Book Award for outstanding publications in the history and criticism of modernism in the arts, Dedalus Foundation, 2006, and Fredson Bowers Memorial Prize, Society of Textual Scholarship, 2007, for Revisiting "The Waste Land."
Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture: Text, History, and the Malatesta Cantos, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1991.
The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot's Contemporary Prose, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005, 2nd edition, 2006.
(Editor) Modernism: An Anthology, Blackwell (Malden, MA), 2005.
Revisiting "The Waste Land," Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2005.
(Editor and translator) Futurism: A Reader and Visual Repertory, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2008.
Cofounder and editor, with Robert von Hallberg, of magazine Modernism/Modernity, Johns Hopkins University Press Journals (Baltimore, MD), 1994—; editor of a series of William McBride Studies in Modernism for Yale University Press.
Lawrence S. Rainey is a professor of modernist English at the University of York in England, who specializes in modern literature, particularly the work of renowned poet Ezra Pound. Rainey's first book, Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture: Text, History, and the Malatesta Cantos, examines the Malatesta Cantos, an epic work consisting of four poems begun by Pound in 1922. Rainey focuses on the years 1922 through 1925 and argues that those were the most critical years in Pound's development as a writer and a leading modernist. Writers in the modernist movement, which flourished in the first half of the twentieth century, used experimental forms and new themes in their work. Rainey argues that the writing of the Malatesta Cantos was the most significant work of Pound's career. The poems celebrate the church of San Francesco in Rimini, Italy, and the church's creator, Sigismondo Malatesta.
The church, commonly referred to as the Tempio Malatestiano, captivated Pound the first time he saw it in the summer of 1922. The contradictory legacy of Malatesta—an opportunistic warlord and supporter of the arts—also entranced Pound. The Malatesta Cantos is considered groundbreaking in part because Pound included in the poems historical documents and historical quotes. More to the point, Pound included some documents and excluded others so that the poems would accord to his own vision of Malatesta as a transcendent human being. Rainey takes issue with the trend in literary criticism that allows the reader to make anything of an author's material. The Malatesta Cantos, posits Rainey, should be understood in its historical context and within the context of Pound's own intentions. According to Cary Wolfe for American Literature, Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture is, "at its best … a fascinating and compelling combination of scholarship and theory which calls for—and practices—a fully historicized critique of intertextuality." Vincent Sherry of the Times Literary Supplement credited Rainey's book with restoring historical context to textual criticism and praises Rainey for "brilliantly reassert[ing] the contingent nature of the literary imagination."
A Poem Containing History: Textual Studies in the Cantos, edited by Rainey, was published in 1997. The book offers nine different essays that examine the entire Cantos written by Pound between the late 1910s through Pound's death in 1972. The essays, all of them "high-protein," in the words of J.N. Igo, Jr., of Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, offer a variety of views on Pound and the Cantos. Igo noted that the book is a "superior starter work" for Pound novices and a "happy (and nourishing) gathering" for Pound experts.
In Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture, Rainey provides new details on five modernist luminaries—James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and F.T. Marinetti—to spawn new views on the history of modernism. Rainey also examines broad, large-scale movements such as the rise of mass culture over elitism, the ascension of the market as a determination of aesthetic values, and the issue of patronage for the arts. One of Rainey's major arguments in the book is that the rise of modernism made "close reading" a thing of the past. According to a contributor to Kirkus Reviews: "Rainey's revision of important modernist concepts is a sound contribution to literary theory."
Rainey also coedits the magazine Modernism/Modernity, which is issued three times per year and explores modernist studies in a methodological, archival, and theoretical light. The magazine is devoted to a study of all modernist arts, including music, architecture, visual arts, literature, and social and intellectual history. Robert Hauptman, writing for the Library Journal, called the periodical a "necessary addition to most academic and larger public library collections."
In Revisiting "The Waste Land," Rainey takes another look at T.S. Eliot's masterpiece of poetry. The author presents new material on how Eliot came to compose the poem. He also provides a new interpretation of "The Waste Land" that goes against the traditional interpretations that have been the mainstay of T.S. Eliot studies for nearly eight decades. Concerning the poem's composition, Rainey reveals in what sequence the various parts of the poem were written. "Despite the standard critical account of Eliot's poem as a unified and streamlined whole, Rainey's research proves that Eliot wrote the poem piecemeal and brought together more than fifty drafts in the final version," wrote Casey N. Cep in the Harvard Book Review. Cep went on to write in the same review that "the core of his book is an engaging description of how Eliot's masterpiece reached readers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Literature, June, 1993, Cary Wolfe, review of Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture: Text, History, and the Malatesta Cantos, p. 376; March, 2006, review of Modernism: An Anthology, p. 202.
Books in Canada, December, 2005, Hugh Graham, "Restringing the Waste Land," review of Revisiting "The Waste Land," p. 23.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, September, 1997, J.N. Igo, Jr., review of A Poem Containing History: Textual Studies in the Cantos, p. 128; October, 2005, R.J. Cirasa, review of The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot's Contemporary Prose, p. 291; February, 2006, M.S. Vogeler, review of Modernism, p. 1017.
Harvard Book Review, fall, 2005, Casey N. Cep, "Revisiting Eliot," review of Revisiting "The Waste Land."
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1998, review of Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture, p. 1654.
Library Journal, May 15, 1994, Robert Hauptman, "Modernism/Modernity," p. 109.
Modern Philology, November, 2006, Peter Howarth, review of Revisiting "The Waste Land," p. 280.
Space Between, spring, 2006, David Chinitz, review of Revisiting "The Waste Land," p. 143-147.
Times Literary Supplement, February 7, 1992, Vincent Sherry, review of Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture, p. 7.
Virginia Quarterly Review, summer, 1992, review of Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture, p. 82.
Yale University Press,http://yale.edu/yup/ (November 18, 2007), description of Revisiting "The Waste Land."
York University English Department,http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/engl/ (November 18, 2007), faculty profile of author.