Pomp and Intertext is a literature blog created and written by Erica Eller.
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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. Good commentary does not depend on rigorous standards of style, citation or other formal conventions. As an editor, I know the rules of writing and allow myself to defy them on this blog.
Through the virtues of lived experience, personal observation and autodidacticism, I don’t have to be an expert to comment on culture. Literary commentary, unlike literary criticism, is common.
I believe good commentary relies on creativity. It is the product of everyday innovation, just like common sense. I created the title of my blog, Pomp and Intertext, in this vein.
A bit more on Intertextuality
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 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’ve added the word “Intertext” to emphasize intertextuality, the relationships between diverse texts. Pomp and Intertext is my ceremony of navigation through an infinite library.
Who is writing this?
Erica Eller is a writer and editor living in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to writing literary commentary, she writes fiction, researches topics in biodiversity, illustrates, plays the piano and experiments creatively.