Imagism, the invention of T. E. Hulme and Ezra Pound, is often described as the modernist poetic par excellence. Designed to be everything that the mushy technique of the symbolist poets was not, imagism lays claim to the values of clarity, hardness and precision. While Pound continued to promote these values throughout his writings, his major work, The Cantos, displays another set of modernist traits: difficulty, fragmentation, obscurity. Asserting the classical virtues of objectivity and clarity, Pound wrote that the most pernicious literary and intellectual habits of Westerners derive from Jewish allegory, metaphor, hermeticism, and interpretation , yet his own poetic is derived from similar arcane sources and requires endless commentary. How, then, does this contradictory rhetoric of clarity and obscurity become inscribed in modernist works? In Late modernist poetics, Anthony Mellors argues that this question is crucial to negotiating the politics of literary innovation from the late nineteenth century to the present. He claims that while modernist poetry is ideologically diverse, its aesthetics derive largely from an occult tradition which is rarely acknowledged by literary historians and which has been inadequately theorised by postmodern critics. Rejecting the familiar notion that modernism dissolved during the1930s, he shows that post-war poets in Britain and the United States continued to endorse the secret wisdom Pound called real symbolism as the basis for cultural redemption. A central concern of Late modernist poetics is why this aesthetic mysticism, which was seen by Walter Benjamin as the faith of those who made common cause with Fascism , continued to be a guiding principle for literary elites and counter-cultural movements alike. In a wide-ranging contextual and theoretical study, the book focuses on the poetry of Pound, Charles Olson, Paul Celan and J. H. Prynne, and explores the significance of phenomenology, psychoanalysis, science, ethnography and ancient history in the formation of modernist culture.