This article explores the ideology of the avant-garde, with particular reference to sacralization of novelty, technoscience and creativity in modernism in the work of William Carlos Williams. It explores ways in which inherent contradictions in the ideology of the avant-garde problematized substitutions for religious faith, and how Williams navigated questions of belief and doubt in his invented faith. Through readings of poems such as “Light Becomes Darkness” and “The Rose,” Williams evokes the perpetual present of the reading experience as a way of escaping the cycle of creation and destruction that threatened to undermine all “new” work and make it representative of the old. Through a semi-spiritual sacralization of the moment of encounter between the reader and the text, the Cult of the New becomes the Culture of Renewal in which the past is not rejected in favor of an essentialized time of the “new.”

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