Education: Ph.B., Hamilton College, 1905; M.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1906.
Poetry prize, 1914.
Dial Award, 1927.
Honorary Doctorate, Hamilton College, 1939.
Bollingen Award for Poetry, 1948.
Harriet Monroe Award, 1962.
Academy of American Poets Award, 1963.
BY THE AUTHOR:
- A Lume Spento (Venice: Printed for the author by A. Antonini, 1908).
- A Quinzaine for this Yule (London: Pollock, 1908).
- Personae (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909).
- Exultations (London: Elkin Mathews, 1909).
- The Spirit of Romance (London: Dent, 1910; London: Dent; New York: Dutton, 1910).
- Provenca (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1910).
- Canzoni (London: Elkin Mathews, 1911).
- Ripostes (London: Swift, 1912; Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913).
- Gaudier-Breska A Memoir Including the Published Writings of the Sculptor and a Selection from his Letters (London: Lane / Bodley Head; New York: John Lane, 1916).
- Lustra (London: Elkin Mathews, 1916; enlarged edition, New York: Knopf, 1917).
- Pavannes and Divisions (New York: Knopf, 1918).
- The Fourth Canto (London: Ovid Press, 1919).
- Quia Pauper Amavi (London: Egoist Press, 1919).
- Instigations of Ezra Pound Together With An Essay on the Chinese Written Character by Ernest Fenollosa (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1920).
- Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (N.p.: Ovid Press, 1920).
- Umbra (London: Elkin Mathews, 1920).
- Poems 1918-21 (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1921).
- Indiscretions (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1923).
- Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1924; Chicago: Covici, 1927).
- A Draft of XVI. Cantos (Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925).
- Personae The Collected Poems (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1926; London: Faber & Faber, 1952).
- A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 (London: John Rodker, 1928).
- Selected Poems, edited by T.S. Eliot (London: Faber & Gwyer, 1928).
- Imaginary Letters (Paris: Black Sun Press, 1928).
- A Draft of XXX Cantos (Paris: Hours Press, 1930; New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1933; London: Faber & Faber, 1933).
- Imaginary Letters (Paris: Black Sun Press, 1930).
- How To Read (London: Harmondsworth, 1931).
- ABC of Economics (London: Faber & Faber, 1933; Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1940).
- ABC of Reading (London: Routledge, 1934; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1934).
- Make It New (London: Faber & Faber, 1934; New Haven: Yale University Press, 1935).
- Eleven New Cantos XXX-XLI (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1934; London: Faber & Faber, 1935).
- Homage to Sextus Propertius (London: Faber & Faber, 1934).
- Alfred Venison's Poems: Social Credit Themes, as The Poet of Tichfield Street (London: Nott, 1935).
- Social Credit: An Impact (London: Nott, 1935).
- Jefferson And/Or Mussolini (London: Nott, 1935; New York: Liveright/Nott, 1936); rewritten in Italian and republished as Jefferson e Mussolini (Venice: Edizioni Popolari, 1944).
- Polite Essays (London: Faber & Faber, 1937; Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1940).
- The Fifth Decad of Cantos (London: Faber & Faber, 1937; New York & Toronto: Farrar & Rinehart, 1937).
- Confucius Digest of the Analects (Milan: Giovanni Scheiwiller, 1937).
- Guide to Kulchur (London: Russell & Russell, 1938; Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1938).
- What Is Money For (London: Greater Britain Publications, 1939).
- Cantos LII-LXXI (London: Faber & Faber, 1940; Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1940).
- A Selection of Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1940).
- Carta da Visita (Rome: Edizioni di Lettere d'Oggi, 1942); republished as A Visiting Card, tramslated by John Drummond (London: Russell, 1952).
- L'America, Roosevelt e le Cause della Guerra Presente (Venice: Edizioni Popolari, 1944); republished as An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States, translated by Carmine Amore (London: Russell, 1950).
- Oro e Lavoro (Rapallo: Tip. Moderna [Canessa], 1944); republished as Gold and Work, translated by Drummond (London: Russell,, 1952).
- Introduzione alla Natura Economica degli S.U.A. (Venice: Edizioni Popolari, 1944); republished as An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States, translated by Carmine Amore (London: Russell, 1950).
- Orientamenti (Venezia: Edizioni Popolari, 1944).
- "If This Be Treason..." (Siena: Printed for Olga Rudge by Tlp. Nuova, 1948).
- The Pisan Cantos (New York: New Directions, 1948; London: Faber & Faber, 1949).
- The Cantos (New York: New Directions, 1948; London: Faber & Faber, 1950).
- Selected Poems (New York: New Directions, 1949).
- Patria Mia (Chicago: Seymour, 1950).
- Literary Essays, edited with an introduction by T. S. Eliot (London: Faber & Faber, 1954; Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1954).
- Lavoro ed Usura (Milan: All 'Insegna del Pesce d'Oro, 1954).
- Section: Rock-Drill 85-95 de los cantares (Milan: All'Insegna del Pesce d'Oro, 1955; New York: New Directions, 1956; London: Faber & Faber, 1957).
- Gaudier-Brzeska (Milan: All'Insegna del Pesce d'Oro, 1957).
- Pavannes and Divagations (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1958; London: Owen, 1960).
- Versi Prosaici (Rome: Biblioteca Minima, 1959).
- Thrones 96-109 de los cantares (Milan: All' Insegna del Pesce d'Oro, 1959; New York: New Directions, 1959; London: Faber & Faber, 1960).
- Impact Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization (Chicago: Regnery, 1960).
- Patria Mia and The Treatise on Harmony (London: Owen, 1962).
- Nuova Economica Editoriale (Milan: Vanni Scheiwiller, 1962).
- A Lume Spento and Other Early Poems (New York: New Directions, 1965; London: Faber & Faber, 1966).
- Etre Citoyen Romain, edited by Pierre Aelberts (Liege: Editions Dynamo, 1965).
- Canto CX (Cambridge, Mass.: Sextant Press, 1965).
- Selected Cantos (London: Faber & Faber, 1967; enlarged edition, New York: New Directions, 1970).
- Redondillas (New York: New Directions, 1968).
- Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII (New York: New Directions, 1969; London: Faber & Faber, 1970).
- Selected Prose 1909-1965, edited by William Cookson (London: Faber & Faber, 1973; New York: New Directions, 1973).
- Selected Poems 1908-1959 (London: Faber & Faber, 1975).
- Collected Early Poems, edited by Michael John King (New York: New Directions, 1976; London: Faber & Faber, 1977).
- Ezra Pound and Music: The Complete Criticism, edited by R. Murray Schafer (New York: New Directions, 1977; London: Faber & Faber, 1978).
- "Ezra Pound Speaking": Radio Speeches of World War II, edited by Leonard W. Doob (Westport, Conn. & London: Greenwood Press, 1978).
- Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts, edited by Harriet Zinnes (New YOrk: New Directions, 1980).
- From Syria: The Worksheets, Proofs, and Text, edited by Robin Skelton (Port Townsend, Wash.: Copper Canyone Press, 1981).
- A Walking Tour in Southern France: Ezra Pound among the Troubadours, edited by Richard Sieburth (New York: New Directions, 1992).
- Machine Art and Other Writings: The Lost Thought of the Italian Years, edited by Maria Luisa Ardizzone (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1996).
- Des Imagistes An Anthology, edited with contributions by Pound (New York: A. & C. Boni, 1914; London: Poetry Bookshop, 1914).
- Catholic Anthology 1914-1915, edited with contributions by Pound (London: Mathews, 1915).
- Harry Crosby, Torchbearer, notes by Pound (Paris: BlackSun Press, 1931).
- 'Noh' or Accomplishment, by Pound and Ernest Fenollosa (London: Macmillan, 1916; New York: Knopf, 1917)-edited, with introduction and translations, by Pound
- Guido Calvalcanti, Rime, Italian text, edited, with notes and some translations, by Pound (Genoa: Marsano, 1932).
- Active Anthology, edited, with contributions, by Pound (London: Faber & Faber, 1933).
- Confucius to Cummings An Anthology of Poetry, edited by Pound and Marcella Spann (New York: New Directions, 1964).
- The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1912; London: Swift, 1912).
- Cathay: Translations by Ezra Pound for the Most Part from the Chinese of Rihaku, From the Notes of the Late Ernest Fenollosa, and the Decipherings of the Professors Mori and Ariga (London: Elkin Mathews, 1915).
- The Natural Philosophy of Love, translated, with a postscript, by Pound (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1922; London: Casanova Society, 1926).
- Italy's Policy of Social Economics, 1930-1940 (Bergamo, Milan & Rome: Istituto Italiano D'Arti Grafiche, 1941).
- Confucius: The Unwobbling Pivot & the Great Digest, translated, with commentary, by Pound, Pharos, no. 4 (Winter, 1947).
- The Translations of Ezra Pound, edited by Hugh Kenner (London: Faber & Faber, 1953; New York: New Directions, 1953).
- The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954; London: Faber & Faber, 1955).
- Sophocles, Women of Trachis (London: Spearman, 1956; New York: New Directions, 1957).
- Love Poems of Ancient Egypt, translated by Pound and Noel Stock (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1962).
- The Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941, edited by D. D. Paige (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1950; London: Faber & Faber, 1951).
- Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce, edited by Forrest Read (New York: New Directions, 1967; London: Faber & Faber, 1969).
- Letter to Ibbotson, 1935-1952, edited by Bittoria I. Mondolfo and Margaret Hurley (Orono, Main: National Poetry Foundation, University of Maine, 1979).
- Letters to John Theobald, edited by Donald Pearce and Herbert Schneidau (Redding Ridge, Conn.: Black Swan, 1981).
- Pound/Ford: The Story of a Literary Friendship, edited by Brita Lindberg-Seyersted (New York: New Cirections, 1982).
- Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914, edited by Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz (New York: New Directions, 1984).
- The Letters of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, edited by Timothy Materer (New York: New Directions, 1985).
- Ezra Pound & Japan: Letters & Essays, edited by Sanehide Kodama (Redding Ridge, Conn.: Black Swan Books, 1987).
- Pound/The Little Review: The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson, edited by Thomas L. Scott and Melvin J. Friedman, with the assistance of Jackson R. Bryer (New York: New Directions, 1988).
- The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound to John Quinn, 1915-1924, edited by Timothy Materer (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991).
- The Letters of Ezra Pound to Alice Corbin Henderson, edited by Ira B. Nadel (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993).
- Ezra Pound and the James Laughlin: Selected Letters, edited by David McCall Gordon (New York: Norton, 1994).
- Ezra Pound and Senator Bronson Cutting: A Political Correspondence, 1930-1935, edited by E.P. Walkiewicz and Hugh Witemeyer (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995).
- Pound/Williams: Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, edited by Witemeyer (New York: New Directions, 1996).
One of the dominant figures of twentieth-century American literature, Ezra Weston Loomis Pound spent nearly the entirety of his controversial career in exile. Following in the footsteps of Henry James and Whistler, he left America in 1908 to make his literary reputation in London. Leader of the Imagist school and participant in the Vorticist movement, Pound moved to Paris in early 1921, where, for the next three years, he played a prominent role as champion of Joyce and Eliot, editor of little magazines, and mentor to young American expatriates. After leaving Paris in late 1924, Pound settled in Rapallo, Italy, to devote himself to his experimental epic, The Cantos. Written over the course of almost half a century, this unfinished "poem including history" has remained one of the most significant and most influential achievements of American literature in this century. During his long years in Italy, Pound became increasingly absorbed in political and economic theory and, optimistically convinced that Mussolini's policies presented an enlightened alternative to modern monopoly capitalism, Pound became an apologist for what he misguidedly construed as Fascist economics. In 1939 he visited America for the first time in twenty-eight years, but returned to Italy, where from 1941 to 1943 he made radio broadcasts against American involvement in the war, which subsequently led to his indictment for treason. Judged medically unfit to stand trial, Pound was placed in St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he remained incarcerated from 1946 until 1958. Upon his release, Pound returned to Italy, dividing his time between Rapallo, Merano, and Venice, while continuing work on his Cantos .
Pound's career presents an extreme version of the role of expatriation within twentieth-century American letters. Although he initially went abroad as a Jamesian "passionate pilgrim" in search of the holy sites of past cultural achievement, Pound's residence in Europe paradoxically enabled him to discover himself as a contemporary American writer. An early poem addressed "To Whistler, American" might equally typify Pound's own accomplishment in exile: "You had your searches, your uncertainties, / And this is good to know--for us, I mean, / Who bear the brunt of our America / And try to wrench her impulse into art." As in Whistler's case, Paris, the capital of the avant-garde, played a crucial role in shaping Pound's vision of an art which would integrate raw American impulse with the discipline and cosmopolitanism of Continental modernism. Vers libre, Imagism, and Vorticism were all to a certain extent imports from France, and as Malcolm Cowley points out, Pound's poetry and criticism between 1912 and 1920 was influential in determining the intellectual baggage a later generation of American expatriates would carry to Paris. But unlike many of these younger compatriots, Pound would stay on in exile to become, in his own phrase, "the last American living the tragedy of Europe." Displacement came to be the permanent condition of his art; it was his Odyssean fate, as Eliot observed, to be "a squatter everywhere, rootless, ever ready to depart." Ironically, this nomadism was perhaps Pound's deepest American trait.
To understand more fully the place of Paris within Pound's pattern of exile, one has to go back to beginnings, perhaps as far back as his grand tours of England and the Continent in 1898 and 1902: these early glimpses of Old World "kulchur" very likely encouraged the seventeen-year-old Pound to embark on what he would retrospectively term "an examination of comparative European literature." Although this is a rather ambitious description of his undergraduate course of studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Hamilton College, Pound received a respectable enough grounding in the classics, Provencal, French, Italian,and Spanish to go on to graduate work in romance languages at the University of Pennsylvania, where, after earning his M.A., he was awarded a fellowship in the summer of 1906 to do research on the plays of Lope de Vega at the British Museum, the Bibliotheque nationale, and the Royal Library of Madrid. Pound returned from his travels abroad increasingly intolerant of the provincial niceties of American academic life and more assured of his vocation as a poet. As if to play the part more convincingly, he began cultivating a number of Continental eccentricities of dress--black velvet jacket, wide-brimmed hat, and malacca cane. In a sense, Pound never fully abandoned this nineteenth-century Bohemian costume. Later, among the Dadaists of Paris, he would cut a curiously old-fashioned figure; as Paul Rosenfeld remarked, the beard, the cape, the cane appeared to have stepped straight out of the opera La Boheme. But what seemed obsolescent in the twenties proved provocative enough in 1907 at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where Pound had been appointed to the Department of Romance Languages. It was perhaps inevitable that his tenure at this small Presbyterian school should be brief. As it turned out, Pound lasted little over a semester, dismissed, according to most versions, for having sheltered an itinerant actress in his rooms overnight, and suspected, moreover, of being a "Latin Quarter type."
Pound's run-in with Midwestern parochialism determined him to try his fortunes in a climate more hospitable to the arts. Accordingly, he set sail for Europe, landing in Gibraltar in early 1908 with $80 to his name. He proceeded on to Venice where, at his own expense, he published his first book of poems, A Lume Spento --seventy-two pages of finely wrought "creampuffs" (as he would later call them), notable primarily for their skillful assimilation of the Pre-Raphaelites, Swinburne, Browning, and the early Yeats. From Venice he made his way to London, where his entree into literary circles proved remarkably smooth: A Lume Spento received at least one enthusiastic review, and by December 1908 Pound had brought out a second book, A Quinzaine for this Yule, with Elkin Mathews, one of the more prestigious publishers of contemporary verse in London. Mathews also printed, in rapid succession, Pound's subsequent volumes: Personae (1909), Exultations (1909), Canzoni (1911), all of which, given their rather idiosyncratic blend of archaism, fin de siecle luxuriance, and Yankee exuberance, were rather well-received by conservative British reviewers. Indeed, after the appearance of Personae, Pound was accorded that ultimate privilege of celebrity--satirical mention in Punch as "the new Montana (USA) poet, Mr. Ezekiel Ton, who is the most remarkable thing in poetry since Robert Browning ."
Pound had come to London in quest of tradition, and during these early years he cultivated above all the older literary establishment, survivors of the eighteen-nineties Rhymer's Club such as Victor Plarr, Ernest Rhys, Arthur Symons , and William Butler Yeats (whom Pound met through his future mother-in-law, Olivia Shakespear). Although he attended some of the 1909 meetings of the newly formed Poet's Club where T. E. Hulme and F. S. Flint were discussing vers libre and other recent importations from Paris, Pound's own work was still reaching in the opposite direction--back to the France of the troubadours and the Italy of Dante. His volume Exultations demonstrated exceptional technical virtuosity, but as several reviewers pointed out, the poems remained too heavily freighted with antiquarian learning. Indeed, Pound was reluctant to give up the persona of the professor entirely, and in late 1909 offered a "Course of Lectures on Medieval Literature" at the Polytechnic Institute. Revised and expanded, these studies on Arnaut Daniel, Cavalcanti, Dante, and Villon were published the following year in England and America as The Spirit of Romance (1910), Pound's first major attempt to define the canon of his own poetic tradition.
Although he wrote home that he seemed to "fit better here in London than anywhere else," Pound's rather precarious financial position led him to toy repeatedly with the possibility of resuming his academic career in America, and after a brief tour of the Continent in the spring of 1910, he returned to the United States for an eight-month stay, most of which was spent in New York, where he met up with old college friends William Carlos Williams and Hilda Doolittle (H. D.) and made the acquaintance of his future patron, lawyer John Quinn . Although Pound's description of Seventh Avenue crowds and Manhattan skyscrapers at night ("squares after squares of flame, set and cut into the ether") suggests Apollinaire's or Marinetti's Futurist enthusiasm for modernity, he was dismayed by the lack of direction, by the provincial taste for ersatz evident in American cultural life of 1910. (The Armory Show, which first brought the work of the Futurists and the Cubists to the United States, was still three years off.) In a series of articles published in 1950 as Patria Mia, Pound presaged the disaffection with American insularity and complacency of a later generation of expatriates: America tended to dissipate its enormous energy into self-indulgent sprawl; it was shapeless, at once everywhere and nowhere; it had "no center, no place by which it can be tested," no "city to which all roads lead, and from which there goes out an authority." Its citizens possessed a genuine generosity, "a desire for largeness, a willingness to stand exposed," but "so far as civilization is concerned, America is the great, rich Western province which has sent one or two notable artists [i.e. James and Whistler] to the Eastern capital. And that capital is ... the double city of London and Paris."
Unhappy with his literary or academic prospects in America, Pound sailed back to that "double city" in early 1911. Upon arriving in England, he immediately set off for Paris, where he spent the next three months completing his volume Canzoni and working with his friend the pianist Walter Morse Rummel on troubadour songs. He met up with Yeats and together they visited Parisian sights--as Pound would sardonically recall in Canto LXXXIII, "and Uncle William dawdling around Notre Dame / in search of whatever / paused to admire the symbol / with Notre Dame standing inside it." Together they also attended a number of literary gatherings, but Pound was not impressed: "the crop of poets at present existing in Paris seems a rather gutless lot given over to description." He was more drawn to recent developments in music (Debussy) and the visual arts, though with the exception of Matisse, his tastes still ran to the Impressionists. It was only some years later that he would become fully aware of the modernist achievements of early Cubism, admitting that "We London 1911-14 were subsequent to a great deal of Paris."
For the moment, though, he remained, in Wyndham Lewis 's phrase, a man in love with the past. When he left Paris in early June it was to visit Catullus's Sirmione, Renaissance Verona, and the Ambrosian Library in Milan for additional research on Arnaut Daniel. On his way back to England, he passed through Germany to see Ford Madox Ford who, as editor of the English Review, had taken an active interest in his work. After reading through Canzoni, however, Ford's reaction to Pound's "tertiary archaisms" and stilted diction was to roll on the floor in ridicule. "That roll saved me at least two years, perhaps more," Pound later confessed, "It sent me back to my own proper effort, namely, toward using the living tongue." With Ford's lesson in mind, Pound returned to London in the fall of 1911 prepared to bring himself up to date. He began seeing T. E. Hulme again, attended his lectures on Bergson, and was introduced to A. R. Orage, editor of the New Age. Guild Socialist in political temperament, open to a cosmopolitan range of intellectual and artistic experiment, the New Age would publish Pound's poetry and prose over the next decade, that is, until Orage himself left for Paris to become a disciple of Gurdjieff. Through the New Age, Pound came into contact with the younger London contemporaries--Rupert Brooke , Wyndham Lewis , Katherine Mansfield , John Middleton Murry --and, given the magazine's commitment to importing the best of Continental art and thought into England, he began paying closer attention to developments in Paris. Orage had been publishing Hulme's reflections on such contemporary French thinkers as Sorel, Bergson, and Gourmont, as well as F. S. Flint 's accounts of recent Parisian experiments in haiku and vers libre. Assimilating this recent French poetic and linguistic theory to what he had learned from Yeats and the nineties about image and symbol, Pound began to envision a poetry that would combine the suggestiveness of Symbolism, the sonorities of Provencal motz el son, the precision of Cavalcanti, and the limpidity of the Greek lyric. Toward the end of 1911, Pound started learning how to write such poetry. By mid-1912, he had found a name for it, Imagism.
Pound chose his "ism" partly with a shrewd eye for publicity and partly to align and contrast his "school" with contemporary vanguard movements on the Continent. Marinetti had been in London in March 1912 to launch the first Futurist Exhibition in England, and later that spring Pound visited Paris with the two other fledgling "Imagistes," the English poet Richard Aldington and the recently transplanted H. D. Significantly enough, it was precisely during these months that the bitter "guerre des deux rives" broke out among Parisian literary circles, leading the Left Bank to secede officially from the traditionalist bastions of the Right. A volley of "ismes" burst forth from the avant-garde presses of the Latin Quarter and Montparnasse--integralisme, impulsionnisme, dynamisme, paroxysme, synchronisme--all of which F. S. Flint dutifully chronicled in his survey of "Contemporary French Poetry" in the August 1912 issue of Poetry Review. Flint's inventory of Parisian schools probably decided Pound to invent his own Anglo-American variant, for by the fall of that year he was advertising the existence of "Les Imagistes" in the preface to "The Complete Poetical Works of T. E. Hulme ," six poems by Hulme included, half in jest, half in homage, at the back of his own new volume, Ripostes.
Although the official program of the Imagists would not be announced for another six months, many of Pound's poems in Ripostes clearly indicated the new direction in which he was traveling: "1. Direct treatment of the 'thing' whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation. 3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome." Compared to the ambitious, polemical manifestoes emanating from Paris, these three ground rules of Imagism constituted a modest enough program. The school did not propose a complete revolution of all existing verse forms, but rather sought to establish a few basic poetic standards "in accordance with the best tradition," a propaideutics oriented toward clear, clean technique: "Use no superfluous word, no adjective which does not reveal something. Don't use such an expression as 'dim lands of peace.' It dulls the image. It mixes an abstraction with the concrete. It comes from the writer's not realizing that the natural object is always the adequate symbol. Go in fear of abstractions.... Don't chop your stuff into separate iambs."
These and other "Don'ts by an Imagiste" were originally published in the March 1913 issue of Harriet Monroe 's Chicago-based Poetry, to which Pound had been appointed foreign editor six months previously. He had wasted little time securing manuscripts for the newly founded magazine: poems by Aldington and "H. D., Imagiste" were forwarded from London together with contributions by Tagore and Yeats. In his effort to export back home "whatever is most dynamic in artistic thought, either here or in Paris," Pound was especially emphatic that Poetry print the "best foreign stuff" and "keep an eye on Paris" by publishing "at least one French poem a month," for until American verse learned to measure itself against contemporary European achievement, its voice would be negligible abroad--and so far, only H. D. had produced "the sort of American stuff I can show here and in Paris without its being ridiculed."
"The important work of the last 25 years has been done in Paris," Pound reiterated to Poetry's readers in January 1913, though in truth he still knew relatively little about contemporary French verse (with the important exceptions of the post-Symbolists Gourmont and Regnier). It was not until a few months later in Paris that Pound actually began meeting some of the newer poets grouped around the magazine L'Effort Libre--the unanimiste Jules Romains, Pierre Jean Jouve (whose work he had reviewed for Poetry), and Charles Vildrac and Georges Duhamel , coauthors of Notes sur la technique poetique (1910), a study of verse libre which greatly influenced Pound. Sometime in April, he attended one of the group's gatherings and was invited to take part in a blague they were preparing--the election and feting of the "Prince des Penseurs," a certain Jules Brisset, retired railroad inspector and crackpot author of a volume purporting to prove man's descent from the frog. This mystification, aimed at satirizing the recent election by critics and journalists of two mediocrities to the title of "Prince des Poetes" and "Prince des Conteurs" would be remembered by Pound in his Pisan Cantos (1948) as a predecessor of later Dadaist tactics of literary provocation.
While in Paris, Pound also met for the first time two American poets, Skipwith Cannell and John Gould Fletcher , as well as Natalie Clifford Barney, wealthy American expatriate and close friend of the French author Pound admired most, Remy de Gourmont. Barney was unable to arrange a meeting between the two, but she did provide an unpublished English translation of Gourmont's Les Cheveaux de Diomede (1897) which Pound in turn convinced the New Freewoman to print serially later that fall. Indeed, upon his return to London, Pound threw himself wholeheartedly into his newly discovered role as cultural intermediary among the Left Bank, London, and Chicago. He sent Poetry Ford Madox Ford 's "Impressionism: Some Speculations," an essay which argued for the straightforward presentation of the "flashed impressions" of modern urban life through the "putting of one thing in juxtaposition with the other" in order to "suggest emotions"--an adumbration of Pound's later "ideogrammic method." If poets were to "register their own times in terms of their time," Ford insisted, they would have to learn, as contemporary French authors had, to write "in a language, roughly speaking, any hatter can use." The new poetry, in short, should be "as well-written as prose"; it should strive for the standard of precision set by the "exact, formal and austere phrases" of Flaubert.
Products of Pound's and Ford's conversations about the French "prose tradition," many of these ideas would be subsequently incorporated into "The Approach to Paris," a seven-part overview of recent developments in French poetry which Pound published in the New Age in the fall of 1913. "There are just two great and interesting phenomena: the intellectual life of Paris and the curious teething promise of my own vast occidental nation," he proclaimed in his first installment--the ensuing articles provided a critical survey of the current avant-garde (Romains, Vildrac, Laurent Tailhade, Henri-Martin Barzun, and Andre Spire) while assessing the earlier achievements of Rimbaud, Tristan Corbiere , Paul Fort, and Francis Jammes. While Pound's primary aim was to introduce possible models for new directions in Anglo-American poetry, "The Approach to Paris" also allowed him to define techniques he had been striving to incorporate in his own work. Emile Verhaeren and Barzun were, like himself, working out implications of Whitman, while the unanimiste Romains supplied the future author of the Cantos with "possibly the nearest approach to true epic that we have had since the middle ages." Vildrac and Jammes, in turn, had "brought the narrative verse into competition with narrative prose," and against the fin de siecle hyperesthesia of Symbolism ("that melange of satin and talcum powder"), there was the satiric vigor of Tailhade and the irony of Corbiere, "as careless of style as a man of swift mordent speech can afford to be." Pound praised this same "prose tradition" in his 1913 reviews of two unknowns, Robert Frost and D. H. Lawrence : the former he compared to Jammes because he had set New England rural life into "natural spoken speech," while the latter seemed closer to Vildrac's "short stories in verse."
Paris, at any rate, had now become for Pound the standard against which all contemporary writing was to be measured. As he summed up the purpose of his "Approach to Paris" series in the October 1913 issue of Poetry, "If our writers would keep their eye on Paris instead of on London--the London of today or yesterday--there might be some chance of their doing work that would not be demode before it gets to the press. Practically the whole development of the English verse-art has been achieved by steals from the French, from Chaucer's time to our own, and the French are always twenty to sixty years in advance." As this statement suggests, Pound's contempt for contemporary British letters had grown in proportion to his new enthusiasm for Paris. England, he warned Harriet Monroe , was "dead as mutton"--if American writing was to enter the twentieth-century, it would have to turn to Paris, "or any other center save London." The precise causes of Pound's bitterness toward the British "literary episcopacy" remain unclear: his volume Ripostes had, on the whole, been favorably received and, acknowledged chef d'ecole of Imagism, he was by now a recognized figure on the London scene. Still, his experience of Parisian avant-garde pugnacity and his association with the political radicals of the New Age led Pound increasingly to conceive of himself as a renegade against the entrenched London literary establishment. Like the young Expressionists in Germany, like the Italian Futurists or the splinter factions of the Left Bank, his work was beginning to register the profound malaise of a generation dimly aware that the nineteenth century was on the verge of a violent close.
Imagism had meanwhile begun to attract attention in America: Pound's celebrated "In a Station of the Metro" ("The apparition of these faces in the crowd; / Petals on a wet, black bough.") had appeared amid other "Contemporania" in Poetry's April 1913 issue, provoking the predictable attacks and parodies; and Amy Lowell had come over to England herself to size up the new "school." An official anthology was in preparation, calculated to counter the success of the Georgian Poetry anthologies (which contained the work of such poets as Rupert Brooke and Walter de la Mare and were published by H. H. Munro 's Poetry Bookshop in London, with introductions by E. H. Marsh). Containing work by Pound, Aldington, H. D., Flint, Ford, Amy Lowell , Williams, Cannell, John Cournos , Allen Upward , and Joyce (whom Pound had discovered through Yeats), the volume, entitled Des Imagistes, finally appeared in America and England in early 1914 after many delays. By this time, however, Pound had already begun to disaffiliate himself from the Imagist label, feeling that its stringent technical standards had been diluted into the flaccid free verse he later renamed "Amygism." His own work, moreover, was moving into other areas: he had spent the winter of 1913-1914 with Yeats working through the manuscript notes of Ernest Fenollosa, whose widow had appointed Pound literary executor, and by late January 1914 he had completed a version of the Noh play Nishikigi for Poetry--the full text of 'Noh' or Accomplishment would be published in 1916. He was also growing more and more involved in the new sculpture and painting through the work of his friends Henri Gaudier-Brzeska and Wyndham Lewis --coincidentally or not, Olivia Shakespear's daughter, Dorothy, whom Pound married in April, was herself a painter. At some point during this same spring of 1914, Pound, Lewis, and Gaudier-Brzeska, irked by the flamboyant presence of Marinetti in London, decided they had as much right as the Futurists to consider themselves a movement. That June, they made their existence officially known with the publication of a hugh calliope pink outrage aggressively titled BLAST, A Review of the Great English Vortex.
Like Dadaism later, Vorticism combined put-on with polemic. The inaugural issue of BLAST itself parodied both the typography and lyric truculence of Marinetti's and Apollinaire's Futurist manifestoes with a series of iconoclastic "Blasts" and "Blesses" aimed at all and sundry: France, for example, was blasted for its "sentimental Gallic gush," its "poodle temper" and "ubiquitous lines of silly little trees" and in turn blessed for its "masterly pornography," its "combativeness," its "great human sceptics, depths of elegance, female qualities." Ambivalently ethnocentric, Vorticism's grudging respect for France is caught by one of BLAST's characteristic aphorisms: "The nearest thing in England to a great traditional French artist is a great revolutionary English one." The movement, however, most resembled Continental avant-gardes in its proposal for a complete revolution of all the arts--there was to be a Vorticist painting, sculpture, poetry, fiction, and even photography ("Vortograms"). But even though Pound conceded, "we are all futurists to the extent of believing with Guillaume Apollinaire that 'On ne peut pas porter partout avec soi le cadavre de son pere,'" Vorticism loudly dissociated itself from what it considered Marinetti's "accelerated impressionism" and sentimental "automobilism." The Futurists' cult of the ultramodern, Pound and Lewis maintained, was no more than an updated version of nineteenth-century exoticism: they had absorbed the machine into their aesthetic merely on the level of content, whereas Vorticism was above all interested in the machine's implications for artistic form--the austere, solid geometries of "planes in relation." For Pound in particular, Vorticism involved a kinetic extension of the "hard light" and "clear edges" of Imagism: where he had previously defined the Image as "that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time," he now spoke of a more dynamic "VORTEX, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing"--an anticipation of the juxtapositional techniques of the Cantos.
But Vorticism represented far more than aesthetic to Pound; it embodied,rather, an entire style of revolt--pugnacious, irreverent, militantly intolerant of all the stagnant idees recues of bourgeois culture. No longer content to play the role of craftsman or critical observer, Pound now saw it as the artist's function "to sweep out the past century as surely as Attila swept across Europe." The cool, ascetic decorum of Imagism gave way to a rhetoric of increasing violence directed against all the "slut-bellied obstructionists" who refused to realize that, as BLAST trumpeted, the "Christian Era" was now over. In terms of Pound's future career as poet and provocateur, Vorticism proved to be a seminal engagement: in a sense he went to Paris in the twenties primarily to relive the exuberance and activist camaraderie of "The Men of 1914"--first with the Dadaists, then with the younger American expatriates. Still later, he would put his Vorticist virulence and flair for publicity at the service of another revolution--Fascist Italy.
The "Great English Vortex" was cut short, however, by the outbreak of World War I. Its most promising member, the young sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska, to whom Pound would devote a 1916 study, was killed in action in June 1915, and although a second number of BLAST appeared a month later, the whirlpool had lost its centripetal energy. Pound, at any rate, was busy on a number of other fronts. In his capacity as literary editor of the Egoist (formerly the New Freewoman), he was corresponding with Joyce in early 1914 about the serialization of A Portrait of the Artist (1916), and for a number of years thereafter, Pound would act as unofficial literary agent and promoter of this "most significant writer of our decade." With Yeats during the winter of 1914-1915, he again returned to the Fenollosa notebooks. Following the American Orientalist's word-for-word English transcriptions of classical Chinese poems, Pound managed, by a feat of sheer imaginative empathy, to produce a series of translations whose accuracy to the spirit, if not the letter, of the originals Sinologists still admire. Published in the spring of 1915, Cathay was also an extraordinarily contemporary work, for in such poems as "Lament of the Frontier Guard" and "Song of the Bowmen of Shu" Pound registered, with eloquent restraint, the harsh grief of exile and war.
The spring of 1915 also saw the publication of T. S. Eliot 's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in Poetry. Pound had first met its young author in the fall of the previous year (through Conrad Aiken ) and had immediately dispatched the manuscript of "Prufrock" to Harriet Monroe with the urgent recommendation that she "get it in soon." As it happened, Miss Monroe took some six months to print the poem; not until Pound threatened resignation did she capitulate to publication. The incident is characteristic of Pound's immediate belief in Eliot's importance. He called Eliot the only younger American writer who had actually "trained himself and modernized himself on his own, and during the war years the two Americans would come to work increasingly in poetical and critical tandem: Pound made his 1915 Catholic Anthology a showcase for Eliot's verse, and in the pages of the Egoist and the Little Review they conspired to mount a twin campaign for French poetry. Eliot had spent 1910-1911 at the Sorbonne and knew the language well enough to have considered abandoning English verse altogether for French vers libre. His "Prufrock" showed, moreover, just how profoundly he had assimilated that ironic distance on language which Pound would describe in his 1917 "Irony, Laforgue and Some Satire" (Poetry, November 1917) and later define as logopoeia, "the dance of intellect among words." Having experimented with the sophisticated obliquities of Laforgue in their own work, the two Americans went on to share another French poet, Theophile Gautier . Being convinced that "the dilutation of vers libre, Amygism, Lee Masterism, general floppiness had gone too far," Pound and Eliot jointly decided that a reversion to rhyme and regular meter was in order, and the chiselled stanzas of Gautier's Emaux et Camees (1852) provided the models for the hard, angular satirical verse Eliot would publish in his Poems (1920) and Pound in his Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920).
But of all the French writers the two Americans held in common, it was Remy de Gourmont, more than any other, who shaped Pound's vision of France and French literature during the middle and late teens. Even though the war had interrupted travel across the Channel, Gourmont's work remained Pound's major spiritual tie to Paris. Whereas Eliot tended to view Gourmont almost exclusively as a literary critic, Pound perceived him as a kind of polymath culture hero whose activities as poet, novelist, scholar, critic, editor, and journalist constituted "the best portrait available, the best record that is, of the civilized mind from 1885-1915." He had known Gourmont's oeuvre since 1912 and had imitated the Symbolist strategies of Litanies de la rose (1872) in the cadences of his own verse while absorbing the theoretical import of Le Probleme du style (1902) into his definitions of Imagism; but Pound revered Gourmont less for specific works than for the entire flavor of his intelligence--its clarity, its urbanity, its irony, its catholicity, its sensuousness, its imperturbable common sense, and its aristocratic refusal to allow itself to be stampeded by idees recues, qualities, in short, that made Gourmont "a symbol of so much that is finest in France." Even after Gourmont's death in 1915, Pound continued to look toward his Paris as the model "laboratory of ideas," as the true center of experiment, a place where "poisons could be tested" and "new modes of sanity be discovered." To a certain extent, Pound invented this Paris. Like China or Provence, it became a locus he inhabited above all in his imagination, an ideal city constructed from the various strata of his readings, capital of a tradition of poetry that stretched from Villon and the Pleiade down through the Symbolists and their modernist offspring, sanctum of critical lucidity, cosmopolitanism, and libertarian respect for individual values.
To praise Paris or France thus became a way of indirectly criticizing England and, until America officially entered the war, an occasion to lambaste the United States for its refusal to come to the support of a beleaguered ally whose achieved civilization provided the major buttress against the onslaught of German Kultur. The phrase "French clarity" became a battle cry of sorts in Pound's journalism of the period; closely related to the "clear hard prose" that he considered the particular glory of the French language and the ultimate "safeguard of civilization," this clarity had granted her an "inner strength" and, unlike imperialist Britain, America, or Germany, "a means of speaking to people whom she does not govern, and in whose commercial affairs she may have little concern." If France had consistently "held firm," it was because of the "respect for accurate statement" and mot juste established by the "solid core in her intellectual life"--that is, the "prose tradition" of Montaigne, Voltaire, Stendhal , Flaubert, Maupassant, and Gourmont. The staying power of French culture showed, in addition, that "literature pays a nation." After all, Pound observed, "France spends more on literature than either England or America." She prided herself on the French Academy, honored her writers with a variety of prizes, and, most importantly, "recognized the economy of permitting the special talent to apply itself to the special labor," and hence reserved a special tolerance for the artist or exceptional man inconceivable in America.
"The time when the intellectual affairs of America could be conducted on a monolingual basis is over," Pound proclaimed in 1918, and in his contributions to American periodicals during these years he carried on the French lessons initiated in Poetry. Margaret Anderson 's New York-based Little Review became his most reliable outlet, for John Quinn had arranged for him to act as the magazine's foreign correspondent in early 1917. Pound exercised considerable editorial leverage from the very outset: the Little Review began printing the first installments of Joyce's Ulysses in 1917 and over the following years Pound edited special issues devoted to Henry James (1918) and Remy de Gourmont (1919), as well as an anthology entitled "A Study in French Poets" (1918), which brought his earlier "Approach to Paris" series up to date. The Little Review printed, moreover, a series of his satirical essays and pastiches which were subsequently gathered under the title Pavannes and Divisions (1918). Complimenting the satires of "moeurs contemporaines" in his most recent volume of verse, Lustra (1916), the collection shows Pound attempting to astound, confound, and epater his American readers in a style that unsuccessfully mimics the wit of Whistler and the dazzling paradoxes of French dandies. Pound's more serious work continued to appear in Poetry: since late 1915, he had been working on a "cyselephantine poem of immeasurable length which will occupy me for the next four decades," and in 1917 Miss Monroe published "Three Cantos" (subsequently jettisoned when the poem was completely revised in the early twenties). Poetry also printed a number of sections from Homage to Sextus Propertius in 1918. A radical retranslation of the Roman poet into the modern urban ironies of a Laforgue, Propertius, together with Cathay (1915) and Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, remains one of Pound's most substantial poetic achievements of the decade.
Pound's multifarious activities as poet, critic, anthologist, and editor educated the tastes and values of the generation of younger writers who had been following his career from America. When Malcolm Cowley lists in Exile's Return (1951) the major aesthetic "catchwords" of his generation circa 1920--"form, simplification, strangeness, respect for literature as an art with traditions, abstractness"--the impress of Pound's (and of Eliot's) particular version of modernism is quite evident. And when Cowley remarks that "to young writers like ourselves, a long sojourn in France was almost a pilgrimage to Holy Land," one can assume that Pound's French curriculum played a considerable role in instigating the younger generation's departure for Paris. He had himself returned to France, for the first time in six years, in the spring of 1919, passing through Paris on his way to a walking tour through troubadour Provence with Eliot. While at Toulouse, Pound wrote a number of articles about French provincial life for the New Age ("Pastiche: The Regional"), but he was more engrossed in the implications of Joyce's Ulysses for his own Cantos than in contemporary French writing, and returned to London that fall to take a post as drama critic. It was not until he was named European correspondent to the Dial (New York) in March 1920, on the recommendation of John Quinn and Eliot, that Pound began entertaining the idea of moving to the Continent. After all, his most recent volume of verse, Quia Pauper Amavi (which contained Propertius as well as the first three Cantos) had been poorly received in England, and his aggressive espousal of the unorthodox economic doctrines of Major Clifford Hugh Douglas made him decidedly unwelcome in most London magazines. Enraged with "usury age-old and age-thick / and liars in public places," now convinced that the war had merely been fought "For an old bitch gone in the teeth,/For a botched civilization," Pound composed Hugh Selwyn Mauberley in early 1920. He would later term it "distinctly a farewell to London."
He left for the Continent that spring, partly to gather material for the Dial, partly to vacation in Sirmione, where he managed, at long last, to meet the author of Ulysses. Ever concerned about the state of Joyce's health, finances, and masterpiece-in-progress, Pound prevailed upon him to quit Trieste for Paris, thus setting in motion one of the major forces that would make Paris the magnet of modernism over the next decade. When Joyce and family arrived in Paris in July, Pound was there to help them settle: he arranged for lodgings and loans, found a translator for A Portrait of the Artist (Mme. Ludmilla Bloch-Savitsky), and introduced Joyce (through prewar acquaintance poet Andre Spire) to the future publisher of Ulysses, Sylvia Beach . Having installed Joyce in relative comfort, Pound scouted about for contributors to Dial. In the space of a single hectic month, he managed to secure "inedited writings of Remy de Gourmont" as well as "acceptable manuscripts or promises of collaboration" from Julien Benda, Marcel Proust , Paul Valery, Louis Aragon , Benedetto Croce, Miguel de Unamuno , Yeats, Eliot, Joyce, and Wyndham Lewis . Upon his return to London late that summer (where he learned he had been fired as the Athenaeum's drama critic), Pound embarked on a series of letters entitled "The Island of Paris," which was published in the October, November, and December issues of the Dial.
An invitation to expatriation, this series presented a wide spectrum of recent developments, calculated to provide "a poetic serum to save English letters from postmature and American telegraphics from premature suicide and decomposition." Among the established writers, Pound praised Valery for his Soiree avec Monsieur Teste (1896), subsequently published in the Dial in Natalie Barney 's translation, and cited Proust as "the nearest the French can get to Henry James "; Gide, by contrast, was dismissed as belonging to the Nouvelle Revue Francaise crowd, which Pound denigrated as a French variant of Bloomsbury artiness. As for the younger French poets, Pound compared the jazzy colloquialisms of Paul Morand to his own Lustra, observed that Aragon was experimenting with "the equivalent of the hokku," and singled out the "vitreous and impeccable versification" of Guy-Charles Cros and the "droll morgue" of painter Maurice Vlaminck's comic verse. He was above all impressed by the range of technical experiment going on in Paris: Andre Wurmser, for example, was exploring the possibilities of verbal orchestration in his half-sung, half-chanted compositions, and Robert de Souza, following the typographical innovations of Mallarme's Un Coup de des (1897) and Apollinaire's Calligrammes (1918), was trying to develop a system of notation to score the tone and rhythm of verse visually on the page--a technique Pound, like Cummings, would apply in his Cantos. But of all the new writers on the Parisian scene, the "young and very ferocious" Dadaists most intrigued ex-Vorticist Pound: "They have satirized the holy church of our century (journalism), they have satirized the sanctimonious attitude toward 'the arts.' They have given up the pretense of impartiality. They have expressed a desire to live and to die, preferring death to a sort of moribund permanence."
The roots of Dada reached back to 1915-1916, with Francis Picabia editing 291 in New York and Tristan Tzara masterminding the anarchistic antics of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Both men converged on Paris in 1920 and gathered around themselves the young authors associated with the magazine Litterature, Aragon, Breton, and Soupault. When Pound arrived in Paris in early 1921 officially to take up residence at 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs, the Dadaists were by far the most boisterous avant-garde on the Left Bank, and he accordingly threw himself into the fray. Much of Pound's involvement in the movement can be ascribed to his extraordinary esteem for poet-painter-impressario Picabia, whom he termed the "dynamic under Dada," a mind capable of "more somersaults than any other writer now living." Dadaism, for Pound, represented the apocalyptic searing away of defunct modes of art and thought, and Picabia appeared to him as the exterminating angel sent to wipe out the old order and usher in the new, "a sort of Socratic or anti-Socratic vacuum cleaner" bent on the radical nettoyage of all the filth of postwar Europe. Picabia, as Pound planned to show in a book entitled "Four Modern Artists" (the other three being Picasso, Wyndham Lewis , and Gaudier-Brzeska), worked neither in the medium of literature nor painting, but rather in the medium of thought itself; his major achievement was to have generated "the excitement of mental peril" by playing with abstract concepts and ideas in such a way as to subvert accepted modes of intellection altogether. Although "Four Modern Artists" was never written, Picabia's particular style of provocation had a considerable impact on Pound. The typographical oddities of Dadaist publications which burlesqued journalistic and advertising devices would find their way into his subsequent prose and poetry, and Dada's aggressive incoherence encouraged a similar tendency in Pound which, in his later polemics of the thirties and forties, often degenerated into mere cantankerousness. Picabia's nihilistic tabula rasa of received values also prompted Pound to conceive his own Cantos in a new light: his epic would record his maverick break with modern civilization in search of a new order of culture. Picabia's strategy of "anti-art" furthermore caused Pound to question his residual proclivities toward fin de siecle aestheticism. His inclusion in the Cantos of newspaper clippings, historical and economic documents, political slogans, and so forth can be seen as an extrapolation of Dada's attempt to redefine the boundaries and functions of art, to replace the work of art by what Pound called the "act of art," to take the artist out of the safety of the atelier and plunge him back into the immediacy and risk of the world.
Pound participated in a number of Dada stunts (most notably, the mock-trial of reactionary novelist Maurice Barres in May 1921) and contributed to various of its periodicals--Tzara's Dadaphone (March 1920), Breton's Litterature (September 1920), and Picabia's special issue of 391, Le Pilhaou Thibaou (July 1921). The Little Review had also begun leaning toward Dada: in the spring of 1921, it printed the manifesto "Dada souleve tout" with texts by Aragon and Soupault, and later that fall Pound and Picabia jointly edited a "Brancusi Number" for the magazine which contained, in addition to Pound's brilliant appraisal of the Rumanian sculptor's work, Picabia's essay "Fumigations," texts by Paul Morand and Yvan Goll, and a full-length translation by Jean Hugo (with Pound's assitance) of Cocteau's poem "The Cape of Good Hope." The back of the issue featured a number of Dadaist outbursts by "Abel Sanders" (i.e. Ezra Pound ), which parodied the "Baroness" Else von Freytag-Loringhoven's recent review of William Carlos Williams 's Kora in Hell (1920). Pound and Picabia also collaborated on the Little Review's Spring 1922 number, an issue devoted primarily to the latter's paintings and writings. In addition to a number of playful squibs by "Abel Sanders" ("STOP PRESS / The intellectual capital of America is still Paris"), the number also contained a "Little Review Calendar" concocted by Pound which proclaimed that "the Christian era came definitely to an END at midnight of the 29-30 of October 1921"--the date of Pound's birthday and of Ulysses 's completion. Years were henceforth to be denominated "p.s.U." (post scriptum Ulixi) and the months were systemically relabeled with Greek mythological names. Superficially a Dadaist joke, Pound's calendar nonetheless expressed his deep conviction that an inaugural age of the modern spirit was at hand.
Picabia, Dada, and the Little Review represent, however, only one dimension of Pound's activities during these Paris years, for in addition to acting as intermediary between the French and American avant-garde, he took on a variety of translating jobs. The Dial remained his most reliable employer, and during 1920-1921 the magazine published his translations of Gourmont's Dust for Sparrows, Morand's Turkish Night, and selections from Proust, Jean Giraudoux , and Oscar Milosz. Boni and Liveright in turn commissioned Pound to translate Edouard Estaunie's novel, L'Appel de la route (1921), and, more significantly, Gourmont's comparative study of animal sexuality, Physique de l'amour (1904), published in America as The Natural Philosophy of Love in 1922. Boni and Liveright also brought out Pound's Poems 1918-21 , which contained, in addition to the contents of Propertius and Mauberley, four new Cantos recently published in the Dial. One of these, Canto VII, is sometimes referred to by critics as Pound's "Paris Canto" (though it was written in 1919). Refracting the novelistic procedures of Henry James and Flaubert through the verbal textures of Eliot's "Gerontion" (1920), the poem presents a ghostly vision of a modern metropolis peopled by "Dry casques of departed locusts / speaking a shell of speech," and cluttered with the tawdry, pretentious furnishings of the Second Empire--an urban hell similar to the one Eliot would explore in his Waste Land (1922). Pound, nevertheless, remained relatively unsure of where his Cantos were heading. He had discovered the central technical innovation of the poem--the juxtaposition in time and space of "ideogrammic" clusters (as defined by Fenollosa's essay on The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry)--but his epic still lacked a clearly defined shape or direction.
Joyce's Ulysses suggested a solution to the problematic structure of the Cantos. Although Pound had been closely involved with Joyce's masterpiece since 1917 and had spilled a great deal of ink protesting its American censorship, it was only when he reread it in its entirety upon its publication in 1922 that he was able to grasp the novel's significance as a formal whole. In two important reviews of Ulysses published that year (the Dial "Paris Letter" of May and James Joyce in the June Mercure de France), Pound articulated his sense of Joyce's achievement: Ulysses had synthesized the older tradition of epic with its later version, the nineteenth-century realist novel, and had in the process created a new, encyclopedic literary form whose nearest ancestor was Flaubert's comic odyssey of the mind, Bouvard et Pecuchet (1881). Following Joyce's Homeric framework, Pound completely recast the opening of his poem in late 1922, making the exile Odysseus the central figure of the Cantos and patterning his epic around an encyclopedic voyage of discovery, at once individual and collective, local and universal. The poem now began with Odysseus's descent into the underworld to consult the wisdom of Tiresias, and, like a novel, included history past and present while enacting the modern mind's quest to reconstruct, out of the ruins of its experience, a vision of archetypal beauty and order.
Just as Ulysses helped him define his own Cantos, so Pound during this same year of 1922 aided Eliot in discovering the form of his Waste Land. The tale of Pound's midwifery is well-known--the dropping off of the first draft in Paris in late 1921, the blue-penciling of slack lines and excision of entire sections from the original version, the editorial shaping and pruning, the final shepherding of the manuscript into print. Eliot later handsomely repaid his debt by dedicating the poem to Pound, "il miglior fabbro" (as Dante had referred to Arnaut Daniel). A valuable comment on the cinematographic techniques of swift montage employed both by The Waste Land and by the Cantos is contained in a review Pound wrote of Cocteau's verse in early 1921. The "young aesthetic," he observed, was "partial to a beauty very rapid in kind," largely because of the accelerated tempo of modern urban experience. Whereas the life of a village could accommodate traditional narrative treatment, "in a city the visual impressions suceed each other, overlap, overcross, they are 'cinematographic,' but they are not a simple linear sequence. They are often a flood of nouns without verbal relations." The Waste Land, with Pound's help, had achieved precisely this "feel of the age," and he immediately recognized it for the masterpiece it was. Characteristically, Pound felt compelled to assist Eliot in more than an editorial capacity. Realizing that Eliot's health and work were suffering because of the pressures of his job at Lloyds Bank, Pound devised a plan in early 1922 to raise money on Eliot's behalf so that he might devote his full attention to writing. Called "Bel Esprit" and hatched in conjunction with Natalie Barney , who was arranging a similar fund for Paul Valery, the project managed to attract a number of patron-subscribers, but deeply embarrassed by the publicity of the scheme, Eliot asked that "Bel Esprit" be abandoned.
The episode is indicative of Pound's spontaneous generosity toward his friends--and Joyce and Eliot were only two of the many he helped in Paris. Hemingway has said that during these years, Pound devoted only a fifth of his energy to his own work, "with the rest of his time he tries to advance the fortunes, both material and artistic, of his friends. He defends them when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. He loans them money. He sells their pictures. He arranges concerts for them. He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying and dissuades them from suicide. And in the end a few of them refrain from knifing him at the first opportunity." Wyndham Lewis 's affectionately acid account of the "Pound Circus" in Paris also speaks of his "manic herding of talent," of his tendency "to act as a nursery and lying-in establishment, bureau de renseignement and unofficial agency for unknown literary talent"--especially American talent, given Pound's "tribal attraction for his fellow-countrymen." Indeed, for the first time in over a decade Pound was back in contact with Americans. He seemed to know everybody in Paris. Among the elder expatriates, there was his prewar friend Natalie Barney , at whose elegant salon Americans could rub shoulders with the older generation of French literati and aristocrats. Gertrude Stein 's rival gatherings on the rue de Fleurus, on the other hand, Pound did not attend after 1921. According to Hemingway, "she was angry at Ezra because he sat down too quickly on a small, fragile and, doubtless, uncomfortable chair, that it is quite possible he had been given on purpose, and had either cracked or broken it." There the matter rested.
The list of Pound's acquaintances among the more recent expatriates during 1921-1924 would be long to enumerate. But a brief chronological overview of his American contacts would have to include, from the very outset, Sylvia Beach , for whom Pound's wife Dorothy drew a map to guide new arrivals in town to Shakespeare and Company; he himself did minor carpentry around the bookstore and collected subscriptions for Ulysses . Early encounters also included Robert McAlmon and Hemingway, two practitioners of the hard, clean American prose that Pound had long been calling for. Hemingway would remain a lifelong friend: they sparred together at Pound's studio, traveled with their wives through central Italy in 1923, and Pound was instrumental in the publication of Hemingway's in our time the following year. Hemingway's work was part of a series William Bird had asked Pound to edit for his newly founded Three Mountains Press. Loosely titled "The Inquest" and designed, in Pound's words, to "tell the truth about moeurs contemporaines, without fake, melodrama, conventional ending," the series comprised, in addition to in our time, Pound's own autobiographical pastiche, Indiscretions, William Carlos Williams 's The Great American Novel, and three British works, Ford's Women and Men, B. C. Windeler's Elimus, and B. M. G. Adams's England. All but in our time were published in 1923. William Bird also agreed to publish a volume of Cantos in a deluxe edition with initials designed by the American artist Henry Strater; work began in 1923, and in January 1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos of Ezra Pound for the Beginning of a Poem of some Length finally appeared.
Pound also played intellectual cicerone to a stream of American visitors during these years. Harold Loeb and Alfred Kreymborg , whom he had been in correspondence with since the Imagist days of Glebe and Others, arrived in Paris in early 1921 in search of material for their new magazine Broom. Scofield Thayer, co-owner and editor of the Dial, came in July of the same year. Pound took him around to Gertrude Stein 's, and Thayer in turn introduced him to visiting E. E. Cummings , whom Pound would feature prominently in his Spring 1923 "Exiles Number" of the Little Review. Cummings, too, would remain among the most loyal of Pound's friends, despite their subsequent political divergences. The summer of 1923 saw another influx of visitors: Pound finally met the now aging editor of Poetry, Harriet Monroe , who later remembered that he seemed out "to start civilization again--nothing less" and that he was excited about the "spiritual force" evident in Mussolini's "modern movement." Margaret Anderson of the Little Review also dropped by Pound's pavillon at 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs that year. She found him high-strung, discomfitingly agitated, and over-elaborate in his attitude toward women: his name was dropped from the masthead of the Little Review the following year. The most notable visitor of 1923, however, was John Quinn , powerful and irascible patron of Pound, Eliot, Lewis, Joyce, and the Little Review. The Pounds gave a reception for him in their studio which has been memorialized by a group photograph featuring a glowering Quinn, a slouched Pound, and, gingerly seated in chairs designed and built by Pound himself, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford . Beneath Joyce's vacant gaze, Ford quizzically holds what he later described as a specimen of Poundian sculpture: "Ezra was of the school of Brancusi. He acquired pieces of stone as nearly egg-shaped as possible, hit them with hammers and laid them about the floor." Quinn's brief passage through Paris produced financial backing for yet another magazine venture. The transatlantic review, directed by Ford and assisted by Pound proteges Basil Bunting and Hemingway, with editorial offices above William Bird 's press at 29, Quai d'Anjou, made its first appearance in January 1924. The number included two Cantos by Pound, but his contributions to subsequent issues were almost exclusively restricted to music criticism.
An outgrowth of his research into the songs of the troubadours, Pound's interest in music reached back to his earliest days in London with Yeats and Rummel; by the late teens he was publishing music criticism in the New Age under the pseudonym of William Atheling. Upon arriving in Paris, he launched himself into his new vocation and began work (aided by Agnes Bedford) on an opera, Le Testament, based upon texts of Villon. Natalie Barney lent him the use of her piano and he purchased, moreover, a bassoon whose "deep rumblings and tootings" disquieted even the most sympathetic of friends. His proclivities toward music were further encouraged by the presence in Paris of American-born violinist Olga Rudge and by the arrival in 1923 of wunderkind pianist and composer George Antheil. Pound, sensing there was perhaps another prodigy here of Gaudier-Brzeska's stripe, proceeded to take charge of the career of the "infAntheil terrible." He introduced him to the influential, including Jean Cocteau , fellow "specialist in genius," and arranged concerts, while Antheil in turn helped Pound with his own compositions and discussed musical theory. The fruit of these discussions was Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony , a collection of Pound's transatlantic review music pieces, published in 1924 by Bird's Three Mountains Press.
Although critics differ on the value of Pound's musical theory, it is best understood as an extension of his Vorticist aesthetic, since what he admired above all in Antheil's percussive compositions was "the cold, the icy, the non-romantic, non-expressive," in short, that same machine hardness he respected in the paintings of Leger. Antheil's most celebrated composition in this mode was the Ballet Mecanique , scored for eight pianos, a player piano, electric bells, whistles, xylophones, and airplane propeller. Made into a film by American cameraman Dudley Murphy and Leger in 1924, the piece was first performed on 19 June 1926 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees, provoking a memorable riot in which Pound apparently took a valiant part. Ten days later, at the Salle Pleyel, Pound's own opera, Le Testament , received its first public performance by Olga Rudge, tenor Yves Tinayre, and bass Robert Maitland. While Hemingway remained skeptical about Pound's music (as did William Carlos Williams , who visited him in Paris at the height of his musical emballade), composer Virgil Thomson would later remember it favorably: "The music was not quite a musician's music, though it may well be the finest poet's music since Thomas Campion ." Pound, at any rate, thought he had produced something that "ought ultimately to be a French national fete, as Villon is their only substitute for Homer."
But despite this veritable pantechnicon of activity, Pound's Paris years reflect a progressive sense of disillusionment and isolation. In truth, no city could have lived up to the expectations of that ideal capital Pound created for himself and his American readers during the teens--a paradise of experiment and artistic integrity. Once Pound got over the initial ebullience expressed in his early collaborations with Picabia, he began shuttling increasingly between Montparnasse and Italy, where he spent almost half of 1922 and several months of 1923 and 1924 gathering material for his Cantos on the Renaissance condottieri Sigismondo Malatesta and Niccolo d'Este. Although still convinced that Paris remained "the place in which more than in any other there are the greatest number of men and things not for sale," Pound's "Paris Letters" (published regularly in the Dial from October 1921 through March 1923) provide a chronicle of his gradual disenchantment with contemporary French literature. He wrote perceptively of the satirical genius of Proust's Sodome et Gomorrhe (1921-1922); he praised Cendrars's Anthologie Negre (1921) and recent work by Giraudoux, Morand, and Cocteau; he applauded the republication of Jarry's Ubu Roi (1896) and extolled French cookbooks ("a complete civilization recognizes all the senses"). But more and more, he returned to earlier French achievements: two letters of 1922 are almost entirely given over to the Flaubert centenary, and by January 1923 he had become convinced that "the latest real news of the French is still Flaubert, Corbiere, Laforgue and Rimbaud." He lamented the lack of a real "chef d'orchestre" in literary Paris--Picabia had more or less faded from the limelight and Andre Breton 's star had not yet risen. (The first Surrealist Manifesto was not published until 1924.) Only Cocteau, whose range of activity as musical impressario, poet, artist, playwright, and cineaste equalled Pound's own, remained consistently high in his esteem as the "livest thing in Paris."
Increasingly convinced that it was now time to "build rather than scratch round for remnants and bric-a-brac," Pound found himself turning away from the "indisputable enervation of Paris" to the Italy of such poet-activists as Gabriele D'Annunzio and Marinetti. Mussolini had triumphantly marched on Rome in 1922, and Pound rather naively construed Fascism not for what it was, but rather as yet another modernist movement--not a literary or artistic movement, but rather a political avant-garde dedicated to the construction of the new order out of the ashes of the old. Rhyming Mussolini with those Renaissance culture heroes whose exploits he was documenting in the Cantos, Pound idealized Il Duce into a twentieth-century Malatesta devoted to the political and economic regeneration of Italy. He paid dearly for this vision: a direct line can be drawn between Pound's progressive alienation in Paris, his move to Italy, his confused propaganda activities during World War II, and the thirteen years he subsequently spent incarcerated. But behind the public, political implications of Pound's decision to leave Paris in the fall of 1924, there were also more private, more elusive reasons which biographers have been relatively hesitant to discuss. He had been relieved from his editorial post at the Dial in May 1923; his association with the Little Review had come to an end; and his personal life was growing increasingly complicated. He was named in 1923 as correspondent in divorce proceedings initiated by the husband of Bride Scratton, a friend of Pound's since his early London days. He was also seeing a great deal of Olga Rudge, and his wife Dorothy, disenchanted with the hectic pace of Paris, was anxious to move on to Italy, where, in 1925, Miss Rudge bore Pound a daughter, Mary. His wife had a child of her own, Omar, the following year, thus creating an impossible domestic situation which ultimately tore Pound apart.
"Having rejuvenated by 15 years in going to Paris and added another ten of life by quitting same," Pound settled in Rapallo to devote himself to his Cantos. Two publications in early 1925 more or less brought his Paris period to an official close: Bird's sumptuous edition of A Draft of XVI Cantos finally appeared, and later that spring Ernest Walsh and Ethel Moorhead dedicated the maiden issue of their magazine This Quarter to " Ezra Pound who by his creative work, his editorship of several magazines, his helpful friendship for young and unknown artists ... comes first to our mind as meriting the gratitude of this generation." The issue contained tributes by Joyce and Hemingway as well. In a later issue Moorhead retracted this "too generous dedication" after an editorial squabble with Pound. The incident is perhaps emblematic of Pound's deteriorating rapport with the literary life of Paris. His enthusiasm for Joyce had cooled; after receiving a sample of Finnegans Wake in 1926, he wrote to wish Joyce every success but admitted he could make neither head nor tail of it: "nothing short of divine vision or a new cure for the clap can be possibly worth all the circumambient peripherization." As the Joyce cult spread in Paris in the late twenties, Pound grew even more dismissive of "transition crap or Jheezus in progress," feeling that it was all mere "diarrhoea of consciousness." Joyce's plunge into what transition's editor Eugene Jolas termed "the language of the night" or Surrealist explorations of the unconscious through automatic writing remained abhorrent to Pound's aesthetic of hard, clear surfaces, of "planes in relation" patterned into luminous forms.
Pound did not entirely disengage himself from Paris, however. After a period of silence, he again erupted briefly onto the scene with a magazine edited from Rapallo. Entitled, aptly, the Exile, the first number was printed in Paris and contained John Rodker's "Adolphe 1920," Hemingway's "Nothoemist Poem" (a misprint for "Neo-Thomist Poem") on Cocteau's conversion, part of Canto XX, and Pound's disjointed apercus into the economic significance of the Russian and Fascist revolutions. Three more issues of the magazine appeared, now published by Covici Friede in America; contributors included old friends William Carlos Williams and Yeats, Paris companions Robert McAlmon and Ralph Cheever Dunning , and a new protege, Louis Zukovsky. The first and final magazine over which Pound had complete editorial control, the Exile drifted more and more toward political and economic concerns: Pound's experimental twenties were clearly giving way to the harsher ideological climate of the thirties. Pound returned to Paris in 1930 to oversee the publication of A Draft of XXX Cantos by Nancy Cunard 's Hours Press. His Imaginary Letters (originally published in the Little Review in 1917) were also brought out by Caresse Crosby 's Black Sun Press that year, and Pound contributed a brief introductory note to her posthumous edition of Harry Crosby 's Torchbearer (1931). After this final spate of publication, Pound more or less disappeared from the Parisian scene: he sent off occasional blasts to the Paris Tribune (the European edition of the Chicago Tribune), contributed a few items to Samuel Putnam 's New Review , took an interest in Henry Miller (whose 1936 Money and How It Gets That Way is a parody of Pound's economic pamphlets). As for contemporary French writers, only Cocteau, Rene Crevel, and, to a certain extent, Celine, struck him as important, convinced as he now was that France had exhausted herself and could no longer pretend to be "the whole hog and center of European culture."
The center had shifted elsewhere. American writing had finally come of age in Paris and there was a new vortex of talent to attend to back home--a loosely confederated group of Poundian disciples, including Zukovsky, Charles Reznikov, and George Oppen , who called themselves Objectivists. Italy, too, was engaged in a cultural risorgimento, and Pound did what he could to introduce new American talent onto the Italian scene. But as his publications of the thirties suggest, Pound's attentions were moving beyond literature. Besides such influential volumes of literary criticism as How To Read (1931), ABC of Reading (1934), Make It New (1934), Polite Essays (1937), one finds ABC of Economics (1933), Jefferson And/Or Mussolini (1935), Confucius: Digest of the Analects (1937), and Guide to Kulchur (1938). His Cantos of this period reflect a similar attempt to incorporate aesthetic with political, economic, and cultural vision: Eleven New Cantos XXX-XLI (1934) contrasts the ideal America of Jefferson and John Quincy Adams with the hell of contemporary Europe; The Fifth Decad of Cantos (1937) deals largely with banking and usury; Cantos LII-LXXI (1940) examines, from a Confucian perspective, the dynastic history of China and the career of John Adams. In The Pisan Cantos , written in captivity at the U.S. Army Disciplinary Training Center near Pisa and awarded the Bollingen prize for poetry in 1948 amid much public controversy, Pound returns to a more personal, elegiac mode. Among the flood of memories released by his fear of imminent execution, Pound recalls earlier days in Paris, "before the world was given over to wars." Bursting into occasional French ("Tard, tres tard je t'ai connue, la Tristesse"), Pound revisits the light, the bridges, the friends, and the restaurants of Paris, now transformed by memory into an ideal city of the mind, "now in the heart indestructible." From his subsequent confinement in St. Elizabeths Hospital, Pound continued work on the construction of his increasingly private vision of paradise. Section: Rock-Drill 85-95 de los cantares appeared in 1955, followed by Thrones 96-109 de los cantares (1959) and Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX to CXVII (1968). Released from St. Elizabeths in 1958, largely through the intervention of Archibald MacLeish , Robert Frost , Ernest Hemingway , and T.S. Eliot , Pound returned to Italy to an old age of doubt, remorse, and silence. He last revisited Paris in 1965 and 1967 for the French publication of his work: he dropped in on Natalie Barney at 20, rue Jacob, toured the Salle Gaudier-Brzeska at the Musee de l'Art Moderne, and apparently was moved by a production of Beckett's Endgame (1957).
Most of Pound's papers are in the Ezra Pound Archive at the Beinecke Library, Yale University. Other papers are in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, the Houghton Library of Harvard University, the Newberry Library in Chicago, and the libraries of Hamilton College, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The Lilly Library of Indiana University has about 12,000 letters to Ezra and Dorothy Pound, dating from 1945-1953.
FURTHER READINGS ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donald Gallup, Ezra Pound: A Bibliography (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983).
Beatrice Ricks, Ezra Pound, A Bibliography of Secondary Works (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1986).
Charles Norman, Ezra Pound, revised edition (New York: Minerva, 1969).
Noel Stock, The Life of Ezra Pound (New York: Pantheon, 1970).
Mary de Rachewiltz, Discretions (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971).
C. David Heyman, Ezra Pound: The Last Rower (New York: Viking, 1976).
C. David Heyman, The American Roots of Ezra Pound (New York: Garland, 1985).
E. Fuller Torrey, The Roots of Treason: Ezra Pound and the Secret of St. Elizabeths (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984).
John Tytell, Ezra Pound: The Solitary Volcano (New York: Anchor Press, 1987).
Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988).
James J. Wilhelm, Ezra Pound: The Tragic Years, 1925-1972 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994).
Robert J. Dilligan and others, A Concordance to Ezra Pound's Cantos (New York: Garland, 1981).
Christine Brooke-Rose, A ZBC of Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).
Ronald Bush, The Genesis of Ezra Pound's Cantos (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977).
Donald Davie, Ezra Pound: Poet as Sculptor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964).
Davie, Ezra Pound (New York: Penguin, 1975).
Earle Davis, Vision Fugitive: Ezra Pound's Economics (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1968).
L. S. Dembo, The Confucian Odes of Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963).
Harold Bloom, ed., Ezra Pound (New York: Chelsea House, 1987).
John H. Edwards and William Vasse, Annotated Index to the Cantos of Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957).
T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry (New York: Knopf, 1917).
Clark Emery, Ideas Into Action: A Study of Pound's Cantos (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1958).
J. J. Espey, Ezra Pound's Mauberley: A Study in Composition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1955).
Wendy Stallard Flory, the American Ezra Pound (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
Flory, Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980).
G. S. Fraser, Ezra Pound (New York: Grove, 1961).
Christine Froula, A Guide to Ezra Pound's Selected Poems (New York: New Directions, 1983).
James Laughlin, Pound as Wuz: Essays and Lectures on Ezra Pound (Saint Paul: Graywolf Press, 1987).
James Longenbach, Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
Eva Hesse, ed., New Approaches to Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969).
Thomas H. Jackson, The Early Poetry of Ezra Pound (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969).
Hugh Kenner, The Poetry of Ezra Pound (New York: New Directions, 1951).
Kenner, The Pound Era (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).
Lewis Leary, ed., Motive and Method in the Cantos of Ezra Pound (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954).
Stuart Y. McDougal, Ezra Pound and the Troubadour Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972).
Daniel Pearlman, The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound's Cantos (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969).
M. L. Rosenthal, A Primer of Ezra Pound (New York: Macmillan, 1960).
Peter Russell, ed., An Examination of Ezra Pound (New York: New Directions, 1950).
K. K. Ruthven, A Guide to Ezra Pound's Personae (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969).
R. Murray Schafer, Ezra Pound and Music (New York: New Directions, 1977).
Herbert Schneidau, Ezra Pound: The Image and the Real (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969).
Grace Schulman, ed., Ezra Pound: A Collection of Criticism (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974).
Vincent Sherry, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, and Radical Modernism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
Richard Sieburth, Instigations: Ezra Pound and Remy de Gourmont (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978).
J. P. Sullivan, Ezra Pound and Sextus Propertius: A Study in Creative Translation (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964).
James J. Wilhelm, Ezra Pound in London and Paris (1908-1925) (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990).
Hugh Wittmeyer, The Poetry of Ezra Pound: Forms and Renewal 1908-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969).
Wai-lim Yip, Ezra Pound's Cathay (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969).