Pomp and Intertext is a blog created and written by Erica Eller.

Commentary is a form of writing that deserves proper recognition. To write commentary does not require credentials, qualifications or well documented research. Writing good commentary does not depend on rigorous standards of style, citation or other formal conventions. Instead, commentary is a kind of writing that attests to an individual’s innate ability to produce a valid remark within a conversation through the combined virtues of their lived experience, observations, and autodidactic participation, regardless of their level of expertise.

Commentary is therefore a common form of writing, for the common good. It has gained greater traction in this era of comment pane windows and interactive readings online. Comments are coming to be privileged on par with information and data, at last. This site is my own reflective zone of commentary on the topics that inspire me most: literature, politics, daily life, and culture.

What does the title mean? Pomp and Intertext is a neologism I created to define a particular approach to generating commentary.

Pomp and Circumstance is an idiom for formal ceremony. The ceremonious circumstance I wish to draw my reader into entails intertextuality, the relationships between diverse texts. This blog seeks to rigorously pursue the act of drawing connections between diverse discursive texts, fields and frames of reference to help offer a form of synthesis of the seemingly fragmented surplus of information that we have at our disposal.

Such an approach can be demonstrated by performing an intertextual interpretation of the idiom the title of this site derives from:

Pomp and Circumstance was the title of of a series of symphonic marches composed by Sir Elwin Edgar, the most famous of which 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 the ceremony of navigation through an infinite library as a form of recovery. There are so many stones left unturned in the history of thought. In some small way, I’d like to unearth and define themes based on various fortuitous intersections of text in this blog.

Who is writing this?

Erica Eller is a writer and educator living in Istanbul, Turkey. She likes to study language, literature, and translation theory. In addition to writing commentary, she writes fiction, edits, illustrates, plays the piano and experiments with hybrid forms of creative production.