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The Queen Mary Centre for Religion and Literature in English

Seminar 2018

9 May 2018: Professor Erik Tonning (Bergen),  ‘‘European Paideuma’: Ezra Pound’s Poetic and Political Faith in the 1930s’
In ‘European Paideuma’, an unpublished essay from 1939 intended for the propaganda journal Germany and You, Ezra Pound summarized his religious vision for a Europe at the cusp of war. The paper examines Pound’s construction of an authentically ‘European’ faith focused around polytheism, fertility rites and survivals of the Eleusinian mysteries, presented as a sharp contrast to the monotheism and asceticism of the ‘Semitic’. Surrounding correspondences with Leo Frobenius’ Institute of Cultural Morphology in Frankfurt, and with the editors of Germany and You, demonstrate that Pound’s essay must be understood as part of a larger propaganda effort, exploring the possibility of an Italian-German cultural collaboration that might strengthen the axis between these fascist regimes and give them a common purpose beyond their military pact of steel.

30 May 2018: Professor Miri Rubin (QMUL), ‘Ecclesia and synagoga

Church and synagogue are known as the carved female figures which were placed on the facades of several European cathedrals. They are taken to represent the triumph of Christianity over Judaism. This paper will present a current research project, which seeks to embed the images in regional and historical contexts, and which shows the imagery to have a dynamic history, one of images with very few words attached.