It is often argued that a shared culture, or at least shared cultural references or practices, can help to foster peace and prevent war. This essay examines in detail and criticizes one such argument, made by Patrick Leigh Fermor, in the context of his discussing an incident during World War II, when he and a captured German general found a form of agreement, a ground for peace between them, in their both knowing Horace's ode I.9 by heart in Latin. By way of introducing the sixth and final installment of the Common Knowledge symposium “Peace by Other Means,” this essay proposes that Leigh Fermor's narrative be understood in terms of commerce, rather than consensus. It concludes by examining Ezra Pound's use of the word commerce in his poem “A Pact” (“Let there be commerce between us”) to define his relationship with his “detested” and “pig-headed” poetic “father,” Walt Whitman.
Introduction: Peace by Means of Culture
Miguel Tamen, Michiko Urita, Michael N. Nagler, Gary Saul Morson, Oleg Kharkhordin, Lindsay Diggelmann, John Watkins, Jack Zipes, James Trilling; Introduction: Peace by Means of Culture. Common Knowledge 1 May 2016; 22 (2): 181–189. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-3464780
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