Cover image for The elsewhere community
The elsewhere community
Kenner, Hugh.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.

Physical Description:
xi, 163 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
First published in 1998 by House of Anansi Press Limited ; copyright 1998 by Hugh Kenner and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
CB425 .K44 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"'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.

Author Notes

Hugh Kenner is Franklin and Callaway Professor of English, Emeritus, at the University of Georgia. He has held fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society, and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the author of over thirty books, including The Pound Era, The Mechanic Muse (Oxford) and A Sinking Island: The Modern English Writers. He lives in Athens, GA

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Kenner, one of the foremost critical authorities on literary modernism, considers the Anglo-American tradition of the Grand Tour, in which young men visited the monuments of European culture. In that tradition, he says, he traveled to meet Ezra Pound and thereafter, with Pound's imprimatur, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, William Carlos Williams, and Georgie Yeats, the poet's widow. Both the Grand Tour and his journeys were quests for knowledge, for its own sake--for as Aristotle held, it is human nature to "desire to know" --and to help the quester establish personal identity by finding the "elsewhere community" that stimulates its growth. At a time when self-help advisors mostly promote journeying inward to find inner children, divine sparks, and other aspects of the ego, Kenner refreshingly points out that going out to the world is as or more crucial to personal growth. Moreover, the world yields better stories than the self does, such as the absolutely delicious T. S. Eliot tale Kenner tells because, you see, it was part of his journey. --Ray Olson

Library Journal Review

Part memoir, part essay on the theme of the Grand Tour, this work by KennerDa prolific critic, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia, and the leading authority on the poet Ezra PoundDdiscusses the role of travel as part of completing one's education and as a metaphor for intellectual discovery. Kenner speaks of travel as a search for mentors, which he refers to as the Elsewhere Community. In addition to examples of the Grand Tour, he draws on his Canadian father's trip to Rome, as well as his own experiences with mentors such as Ezra Pound, Samuel Beckett, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams, each part of Kenner's own Elsewhere Community. He discusses passages from these and other writers, such as Yeats and the poet Patty Kavanagh, to illustrate their own searches for a like group. He also reflects on the meaning of the Internet and reading as part of the community. Originally delivered as five talks on Canadian radio in 1997, Kenner's treatment is accessible, if occasionally repetitive. This thoughtful, witty, and charming book is highly recommended.DT.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.