Pomp and Intertext is a blog created and written by Erica Eller.
I claim to write “cultural commentary.” But what is this?
First of all, I know what it’s not. Writing commentary doesn’t require special qualifications or well documented research. Writing good commentary does not depend on rigorous standards of style, citation or other formal conventions. As an editor, I know about those practices and deliberately allow myself freedom to defy them on this blog.
Instead, commentary is a kind of writing that attests to an anyone’s innate ability to produce a valid remark within a conversation. Through the virtues of lived experience, observations and autodidactic knowledge, I don’t have to be an expert to comment.
Commentary is common. It’s for the common good. It has gained greater traction in this era of comment-pane windows and interactive online engagement. This site is my own reflective zone of commentary on some of the topics that inspire me most: literature, politics, daily life, and culture.
The title of my blog, Pomp and Intertext is a neologism I came up with.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Pomp and Circumstance, the title of of a series of symphonic marches composed by Sir Elwin Edgar. The most famous of these is instantly recognizable as the music used in graduation ceremonies. Edgar took the title phrase from Act III, Scene ii of Shakespeare’s Othello:
Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war.
Yet, an added layer of subtext was produced by the first march, since it was set to this verse of a poem by Lord de Tabley which condemns the ceremony of war:
Like a proud music that draws men on to die
Madly upon the spears in martial ecstasy,
A measure that sets heaven in all their veins
And iron in their hands.
I hear the Nation march
Beneath her ensign as an eagle’s wing;
O’er shield and sheeted targe
The banners of my faith most gaily swing;
Moving to victory with solemn noise,
With worship and with conquest, and the voice of myriads.
According Edgar’s biographer, Basil Maine, the title of the marches signaled the inherent contradiction of the two terms: “the naïve assumption that the splendid show of military pageantry—’Pomp’—has no connection with the drabness and terror—’Circumstance’—of actual warfare.” I could not agree more with the bathos expressed by this metonymic equation.
To add my own layer of meaning, I have simply replaced one of the terms to produce an alternate series of associations. Pomp and Intertext is my ceremony of navigation through an infinite library. There are so many stones left unturned in the history of thought. In some small way, I’d like to unearth these.
To some extent, my site entails intertextuality, the relationships between diverse texts. This blog also seeks to create a synthesis of the seemingly fragmented surplus of information that we have at our disposal.
Who is writing this?
Erica Eller is a writer and editor living in Istanbul, Turkey. She likes to study language, literature, and translation theory. In addition to writing commentary, she writes fiction, researches topics in biodiversity, illustrates, plays the piano and experiments with hybrid forms of creative production.