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).
- Provença (Boston: Small, Maynard, 1910).
- Canzoni (London: Elkin Mathews, 1911).
- Ripostes (London: Swift, 1912; Boston: Small, Maynard, 1913).
- Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir Including the Published Writings of the Sculptor and a Selection from his Letters (London: John 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 (London: 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: Harmsworth, 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: XXXI-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 Titchfield 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: Faber & Faber, 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, translated by John Drummond (London: Russell, 1952).
- L'America, Roosevelt e le Cause della Guerra Presente (Venice: Edizioni Popolari, 1944); republished as America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War, translated by Drummond (London: Russell, 1951).
- 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).
- Nuodu Economia Editoriale (Milan: Vanni Scheiwiller, 1962).
- A Lume Spento and Other Early Poems (New York: New Directions, 1965; London: Faber & Faber, 1966).
- Étre Citoyen Romain, edited by Pierre Aelberts (Liège: 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 Canyon Press, 1981).
- Des Imagistes: An Anthology, edited, with contributions, by Pound (New York: A. & C. Boni, 1914; London: Poetry Bookshop/New York: A. & C. Boni, 1914).
- Catholic Anthology 1914-1915, edited, with contributions, by Pound (London: Elkin Mathews, 1915).
- 'Noh' or Accomplishment, by Pound and Ernest Fenollosa (London: Macmillan, 1916; New York: Knopf, 1917)--edited, with introduction and translations, by Pound.
- Guido Cavalcanti, 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).
- Rémy de Gourmont, The Natural Philosophy of Love, translated, with a postscript, by Pound (New York: Boni & Liveright, 1922; London: Casanova Society, 1926).
- Odon Por, 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).
- Letters to Ibbotson. 1935-1952, edited by Vittoria I. Mondolfo and Margaret Hurley (Orono, Maine: 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 Directions, 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 's influence on the development of poetry in the twentieth century has unquestionably been greater than that of any other poet. No other writer has written as much poetry and criticism or devoted as much energy to the advancement of the arts in general. Nor has any writer been the focus of so much or such heated controversy. More widely recognized than any other writer by his poet-contemporaries for his influence on their work, he has at the same time been the most widely and bitterly condemned by critics. Opinions about Pound run the gamut from uncritical adulation to vituperative hatred.
Pound's energy was prodigious, and he applied it to his self-appointed mission of revitalizing poetry and the arts in general with an almost obsessive single-mindedness. As the artist and novelist Wyndham Lewis said of him in Blasting and Bombardiering (1937), "there was nothing social for him that did not have a bearing upon the business of writing.... He breathed Letters, ate Letters, dreamt Letters." T.S. Eliot , Ernest Hemingway , and many others have written on Pound's unselfish dedication to his making new of the arts, to the way in which, if he thought artists had promise, he would go to any lengths to help them, with complete disregard for his own convenience and with no suggestion that they were in his debt as a result. In his introduction to Pound's Literary Essays (1954) Eliot explained that, for Pound, "to discover a new writer of genius is as satisfying an experience as it is for a lesser man to believe that he has written a great work of genius himself. He has cared deeply that his contemporaries and juniors should write well; he has cared less for his personal achievement than for the life of letters and art." Pound had an almost infallible sense for talent and genius and a remarkable facility for making contact with major artists, often identifying them before anyone else. He was both friend and literary adviser for many of the greatest writers in English of his time: T.S. Eliot , William Carlos Williams , James Joyce , William Butler Yeats , Marianne Moore , Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), Robert Frost , and Ernest Hemingway . In addition, he helped many other writers by getting their work published, by reviewing it enthusiastically, by introducing them to one another, and even by lending or giving them money.
Knowing that Pound spent much of his life in Europe, insisted that serious American poets should be thoroughly familiar with the great works of the European literary tradition, and denounced the actions of the American government during World War II, many people have thought him "un-American"--an adoptive European. But Pound always considered himself completely American, and, when he was in Europe, he exaggerated his American accent. He wanted American writers to know the heights of European literary achievement, not to be overawed by these, but to surpass them, reasoning that "when an American in any art or métier has learned what is best, he will never after be content with the second-rate."
Pound saw in himself the combination of two strong and contrasting American traditions. On his mother's side was the colonial family with its "respect for tradition," in particular his grandmother Mary Parker Wadsworth Weston who, through her mother, was a member of the same Wadsworth family that had produced Joseph Wadsworth (who saved the Connecticut Charter by hiding it in the "Charter Oak") and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow . On his father's side was the pioneer family with "the most rugged kind of idealism," in particular his grandfather Thaddeus Coleman Pound.
Thaddeus Pound's colorful career held a considerable fascination for Pound who, as a child, heard a good deal about how his grandfather had built three railroad lines, owned the second store ever opened in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, owned a lumber company and a bottled spring water company, was one of the founders of a bank, was Lieutenant Governor and then Acting Governor of Wisconsin in 1870 and 1871, a United States Congressman from 1876 to 1882, and a strong contender for the post of Secretary of the Interior under Garfield in 1880. After 1928 Pound viewed Thaddeus Pound as the type of the selfless public servant and as an idealist upon whom he could model himself.
In the true pioneer tradition, Pound himself was born on the frontier, in Hailey, Idaho, on 30 October 1885. His father, Homer Pound, ran the land office there, but the rough and ready atmosphere of the town seems to have been uncongenial to Pound's rather self-consciously genteel mother, Isabel Weston Pound. She claimed that she could not stand the high altitude any longer, and the family moved to New York in the late spring of 1887 during the Great Blizzard, behind the first rotary snowplow. The family stayed first in New York, with "Aunt Frank" (Frances A. Weston) at 24 East 47th Street, and then, when Pound was three, at Thaddeus Pound's farm in Wisconsin. In June 1889 the family moved to Philadelphia, where Homer Pound was to spend the rest of his working life as assistant assayer at the United States Mint. They lived first at 208 South 43rd Street, West Philadelphia, then at 417 Walnut Street, Jenkintown. In 1891, they moved to 166 Fernbrook Avenue, Wyncote. In addition to local schools, Pound at seven attended the Chelten Hills School, run by the Heacock family and founded by Annie Heacock, a suffragette, and at twelve the Cheltenham Military Academy, going from there to the Cheltenham Township High School.
In September 1901, shortly before his sixteenth birthday, he entered the University of Pennsylvania, where his major professor in English was Felix Schelling. At about this time he met William Brooke Smith, a painter and the first of a series of artists in whom Pound would take a keen interest. Smith died of tuberculosis in 1908, and that same year Pound dedicated his first published book of poetry, A Lume Spento , to the memory of this "first friend": "mihi caritate primus William Brooke Smith. Painter, Dreamer of dreams," as one who loved "this same/beauty that I love, somewhat/after mine own fashion."
In the summer of 1898 Pound had traveled in Europe for three months with Aunt Frank, visiting England, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Morocco. In the summer of 1902 he made a second trip to Europe, this time with his parents. Back at the university he met William Carlos Williams , beginning a firm friendship which was destined to continue, despite a variety of stand-offs, largely on Williams's part, until Williams's death in 1963.
Pound transferred to Hamilton College in 1903 and completed his degree there, receiving a Ph.B. in 1905. His study of Anglo-Saxon under the Reverend Joseph Ibbotson and the instruction he received from William Shepard in French, Spanish, Italian--and by special arrangement in Provençal--helped to turn his literary enthusiasms in a direction that would have a decisive influence on his poetry, criticism, and translations. He claimed that the idea of writing the long poem that would eventually be The Cantos came to him in the course of a talk with Ibbotson, and, when he finally decided how to begin this poem, he chose to present the subject of Odysseus's descent into the underworld in a verse form that would imitate Anglo-Saxon prosody.
During this period, Pound was still very much under the influence of his religious upbringing. His parents were very actively involved in the affairs of the Calvary Presbyterian Church of Wyncote, and Pound was to recall many years later, for one of the psychiatrists who interviewed him at St. Elizabeths Hospital, that he "read the Bible regularly up to the age of sixteen years" and was, between the ages of twelve and sixteen, an "earnest Christian." In 1909 he dedicated Exultations to the minister of Calvary Church--the Reverend Carlos Tracy Chester--and from the letters that Pound wrote to his parents from Hamilton College it is apparent that he paid close attention to the sermons delivered by the president, Dr. Stryker, and other faculty members. In 1903 Homer and Isabel Pound began missionary work among Italian immigrants in the Philadelphia slums, and by 1905 Homer Pound was superintendent of the First Italian Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. Pound appreciated the value of his parents' "practical Christianity" and helped them with the children's activities.
Having graduated from Hamilton in 1905, he returned to the University of Pennsylvania to take a master's degree in Romance languages. He studied English again under Felix Schelling and Latin under Walton McDaniel, working on Catullus, Ovid, and, on his own initiative, investigating the works of the Italian renaissance Latinists (who appear prominently at the end of Canto 5). Yet when he applied for a fellowship to do research abroad it was to work on Spanish literature--in particular the plays of Lope de Vega--which he had been studying with Hugo Rennert and which he intended to make the subject of his doctoral thesis.
During his fellowship year, 1906-1907, he did research in the British Museum and the National Library in Madrid. He was particularly impressed by Velázquez's paintings in the Prado, and he visited Burgos, where he allowed his imagination to take him back (as in Canto 3) to the days of El Cid. He also spent some time in Paris, where he discovered Joséphin Péladan's writings, which develop the theory that the troubadours were the guardians of a "mystic extra-church philosophy or religion" which dated back to the Eleusinian mysteries.
In 1907, after one more year of graduate study, he took a teaching post in Romance languages at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. That summer he had become romantically involved with Mary S. Moore, and wrote to her from Crawfordsville that "you are going abroad with me next summer ... we need spend no futile time in disputing the matter"; it came as quite a shock to discover that she did not share his assumption that they would marry. By then he had lost his position at Wabash--partly because of the scandal resulting from his having allowed a stranded traveling actress to spend the night in his rooms--and had definitely decided to go to Europe.
Shortly after this time he began his serious courting of Hilda Doolittle , whom he had first met in 1901. Beginning in 1905, when she entered Bryn Mawr, they had spent a good deal of time together, and, after Mary Moore made it clear that she did not intend to marry him, he became engaged to H.D. Although in End To Torment, her memoir of Pound, H.D. claims that he was responsible for the breaking off of the engagement, in Hermione, a lightly veiled autobiographical account of this period in her life, it is quite clear that her overwrought state of mind and her strong attraction to a female friend, Frances Gregg, were the real causes of the increasing distance between her and Pound. He had made and handbound for her a small book of twenty-four poems, written between 1905 and 1907, which he entitled Hilda's Book, and after their engagement was broken she gave it to Frances Gregg to keep for her. Although the Hilda poems are mannered and archaicized--in the worst he descended to a strained "Miltonism" and describes the perfume of a "flower mortescent" as "Marescent, fading on the dolorous brink/That border is to that marasmic sea"--he was also capable in others of a lyric gracefulness and interesting variations of cadence. He later included four of these poems in A Lume Spento , and of these "The Tree" has earned a place among the best known of Pound's short poems--its allusion to the myth of Baucis and Philemon looking forward to the opening of Canto 90, the central canto of the Rock-Drill sequence of The Cantos.
Pound left Wabash College in January 1908, and on 8 February sailed from New York to Gibraltar (several of his experiences there are recorded in Canto 22). He then spent three months in Venice. Though he was very short of money, the city was a source of romantic inspiration for his poetry, and he collected forty-four of his poems and published them in Venice under the title A Lume Spento in June 1908. A strong undercurrent of studied medievalism of allusion and diction runs through the poems, which--when they are not ballads--are often in the manner of Robert Browning , Algernon Swinburne, François Villon , and William Butler Yeats . Several of them, such as "Plotinus ," describe poetic rapture and show his fascination with a Neoplatonic state of visionary transcendence. "Scriptor Ignotus" is dedicated to K.R.H. (Katherine Ruth Heyman), a concert pianist whom Pound had met in 1904. She was on tour in Venice, and at this point was the muse who inspired Pound--in the persona of an eighteenth-century "Dante scholar and mystic"--to conceive a "great forty-year epic." Pound took A Lume Spento to London in September. It was favorably reviewed in the Evening Standard, and in America by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
In early December Pollock and Company published a twenty-eight page pamphlet of Pound's poems, A Quinzaine for this Yule . In little more than a week the hundred copies of that printing sold out, and Elkin Mathews brought out a second printing of one hundred. Between 21 January and 25 February 1909 he gave a series of six lectures at the Regent Street Polytechnic on "The Development of Literature in Southern Europe," paying particular attention to the troubadours and the renaissance Latinists. At the salon of the wife of Albert Fowler (who is the "Hamish" of Canto 18) Pound met Olivia Shakespear--a novelist, a first cousin of the poet Lionel Johnson , and an intimate friend of Yeats. He was invited to tea at the Shakespear home in Brunswick Gardens, Kensington, where he met Olivia Shakespear's daughter Dorothy, whom he would later marry. He was rapidly coming to know many of the literary personages of Olivia Shakespear's generation. In the spring of 1909 he met Laurence Binyon , Maurice Hewlett , Selwyn Image, Ernest Rhys, May Sinclair , Sturge Moore, George Bernard Shaw , and Hilaire Belloc . In April 1909 Elkin Mathews published Pound's third book of poems, Personae, with a dedication to "Mary Moore of Trenton, if she wants it."
While his association with these writers gave him the sense of having made contact with a part of the literary establishment, the contacts that would prove to have a direct and significant influence on his own writing were those he made with the younger group of poets which had gathered around the philosopher-poet T.E. Hulme --F.S. Flint , Edward Storer, Florence Farr, Joseph Campbell, Francis Tancred, and, on occasion Padraic Colum and Ernest Rhys. Hulme, who would be killed in World War I at the age of thirty-four, was the first to expound the aesthetic principles behind imagism and to put them into practice in his poetry. Hulme's ideas about the remaking of poetry in English were much influenced by his reading of French poetry and the philosophical writings of Henri Bergson, and Pound was impressed by the lectures on Bergson's aesthetics which Hulme gave in December 1911 and February 1912. As a consequence of his relationship with Wyndham Lewis , Pound later misrepresented the nature and extent of his debt to Hulme. Lewis felt a strong sense of rivalry with Hulme, begrudged him his "discovery" of the French neoclassicists, and suspected him of championing sculptor Jacob Epstein over Lewis himself. As Pound came increasingly to admire the vitality and revolutionary nature of Lewis's painting and writing, he started to side with him against Hulme. In "This Hulme Business" (Townsman, January 1939) he echoed Lewis's low opinion of Bergson, contending "the critical LIGHT during the years immediately pre-war in London shone not from Hulme but from Ford (Madox etc.) in so far as it fell on writing at all."
Although this is not a fair appraisal in any objective sense of the relative aesthetic influence of Hulme and Ford, it does convey Pound's consciousness of what the development of his writing owed to these two men. His association with Ford Madox Hueffer (later Ford Madox Ford ) was an introduction into a literary circle of real distinction. Hueffer's the English Review published the work of Thomas Hardy , Henry James , William Butler Yeats , Walter de la Mare , John Galsworthy , W.H. Hudson , Norman Douglas , H.G. Wells , Joseph Conrad , Hilaire Belloc , and Wyndham Lewis , and, in June 1909 it ran Pound's "Sestina: Altaforte" and in October "Ballad of the Goodly Fere." In May 1909 he finally met Yeats, becoming a regular guest at the elder poet's "Monday evenings," and spending his Sundays with Victor Plarr discussing the "old days" of Ernest Dowson , Lionel Johnson , and the Rhymers' Club. The "Siena Mi Fe'" section of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), in which Plarr appears as "M. Verog," gives the reader a good idea of Plarr's topics of conversation.
By July 1909 Pound had made arrangements to give a second series of twenty-one lectures on medieval literature at the Polytechnic. (This material was published in 1910 as The Spirit of Romance.) The lectures began on 11 October, and both Olivia and Dorothy Shakespear had signed up for them. On 25 October Exultations was published. The volume contains fourteen new poems along with thirteen from his earlier books, and it received largely favorable reviews although the praise was not as unqualified as it had been for Personae . Altogether, the speed with which Pound had attracted the attention of the London literary establishment was quite remarkable, and he was even noticed by Punch, which gave notice that "Mr. Welkin Mark [Elkin Matthews] begs to announce that he has secured for the English market the palpitating works of the new Montana (U.S.A.) Poet, Mr. Ezekiel Ton, who is the most remarkable thing in poetry since Robert Browning ."
In early March 1910 William Carlos Williams was in London for a week and, before he left for Paris, Pound took pains to make his stay as interesting as possible. On 23 March Pound himself left for Paris, where he stayed for two days with the pianist Walter Morse Rummel before going on to Italy. From Verona he traveled to Sirmione on Lake Garda, where--as apparent in such poems as "Blandula, Tenulla, Vagula," and the first of the "Three Cantos" (which appeared in Poetry in June 1917)--he felt strongly attracted to the "genius of the place." He felt himself inspired both by the beauty of the landscape and by his strong sense of the past: he found himself thinking not only of the Sirmio of Catullus's day but sensing also those energies which the ancients had pictured to themselves as "Etruscan gods" and as "Panisks/And oak-girls and the Maenads." Pound, like Emerson, had "transcendental" intimations and found the Neoplatonic way of conceptualizing "the radiant world ... of moving energies" to be helpful in conveying something of the quality of transcendent experience, which he presents graphically and dramatically by describing the apparitions of pagan divinities. "A god is an eternal state of mind," he said, who becomes manifest "when the states of mind take form."
Pound values the Provençal and Tuscan poets highly, partly because of what he believed to be their Neoplatonic sensibilities: they were the exponents of an "unofficial mysticism"--an "ecstatic religion" that could be traced back to the Eleusinian mysteries and was reserved for an élite of highly developed intellect and sensibility. Where Christianity called for the suppression of the senses as the road to spiritual enlightenment, Pound felt that in the Eleusinian tradition, approach to the divine was through the senses--by refining the emotions. In the Tuscan poets and particularly in Cavalcanti Pound found a similar sensibility accompanied by a rigorous intellectualism--a sophisticated "conception of the body as perfect instrument of the increasing intelligence." Although his admiration for Dante remained unwavering, he was fascinated by the "intellectual hunger" of the less orthodox Cavalcanti and his ideal of a strenuous intellectual progress toward "The Truth." At Sirmione he set himself the goal of translating all of Cavalcanti's poetry.
In April he escorted Olivia and Dorothy Shakespear from Sirmione to Venice and then returned, setting out again in the middle of May for Verona, Vicenza, and Venice, where he stayed for a week before returning, via Paris, to London. On 10 June 1910 he sailed for America and spent the summer and fall in Swarthmore, where his parents were staying, devoting most of his energies to his translations of Cavalcanti. By November he had written the introduction for The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti (1912). In the late fall and winter he stayed in New York and spent time with Yeats's father, artist John Butler Yeats, and with the lawyer John Quinn , who would later be a valuable patron for Lewis, Gaudier-Brzeska, Eliot, and Pound.
On 22 November Provença, the first American edition of his poetry, was published and on 22 February 1911 he sailed, via England, for Paris, where he spent a good deal of time with Walter Morse Rummel, discussing the music of the troubadours and Debussy. By June he was back at Sirmione and wrote in July of his plans for a study of philosophy from Richard of St. Victor to Pico della Mirandola. He made a brief architectural tour of Northern Italy with Williams's brother, Edward, and then returned to London, stopping at Milan and Freiburg-im-Breisgau to research troubadour poetry, and at Giessen to give Hueffer a copy of Canzoni (published on 11 July.) Hueffer literally rolled on the floor at some of the stilted language, a response which, Pound later said, "saved me at least two years, perhaps more. It sent me back toward using the living tongue."
Pound reached London in August and the next month met G.R.S. Mead, a man of many talents and wide education. Musical and a brilliant mathematician, Mead was a lover of Greek literature and a student of Eastern religions. As head of the Quest Society--a group devoted to the study of gnosticism and theosophy--he invited Pound to give a lecture on the connection between medieval gnosticism and the troubadours. In 1901 Mead had published a study of the life of the neo-Pythagorean Apollonius of Tyana, and Pound would later devote Canto 94 to this "philosopher-hero."
In October 1911 Pound was seeing a good deal of Walter Morse Rummel and of Hilda Doolittle , who were both now in London, and he had his first meeting with A.R. Orage, editor of the New Age , who was to have a decisive influence on the course of his career. On the practical level Orage made it possible for Pound to continue writing poetry by regularly publishing his articles--and paying for them. Pound called him, in his 1934 obituary notice, "the man whose weekly guinea fed me when no one else was ready to do so, and that for at least two years running." Yet, most important, through his association with Orage, Pound was introduced into a circle of intellectual and artistic discussion which was more rigorous and pragmatic and hardheadedly practical than any he had been exposed to before.
Orage was originally a Guild Socialist, and the New Age lived up to its claim of being "An Independent Socialist Review of Politics, Literature and Art." A.J. Penty called it "a centre of free intellectual discussion which in our time has led to nothing less than a revolution in thought on social questions," and its contributors over the next several years were George Bernard Shaw , G.K. Chesterton , H.G. Wells , Arnold Bennett , Hilda Doolittle , Katherine Mansfield , G.D.H. Cole. T.E. Hulme , Wyndham Lewis , T.S. Eliot , and, of course, Pound. With his remarkable breadth of knowledge and vision, and his judicious turn of mind, Orage provided a center of gravity for this wide range of intellectual activity. His own deep interests in social reform and religious mysticism, tempered by common pragmatic sense, by what Edwin Muir called his "incorruptible adherence to reason," had a profound effect on Pound.
The vista of new talents and interests that opened up for Pound as he became acquainted with the writers of the New Age circle was exciting and energizing. Pound had an extraordinary affinity for people of artistic talent or genius, and his almost unerring sense of genius in others was balanced by his lack of competitiveness. No talent, however formidable, seemed to overawe him; he felt no jealousy toward other writers whom he considered talented or any need to advance his work at the expense of theirs. He had an instinctive and unself-conscious conviction of his own poetic genius and never felt threatened by the genius of others. Pound's own creativity was quickened when he was in close proximity to other sources of creative energy, and he consistently took pains to be wherever this energy was most intense.
But for his later fascination for economics, Pound's wide range of interests was already established while he was still in America; yet in England and Europe he managed to find increasingly talented exponents of the arts that he admired. In the fine arts he had begun by admiring the paintings of his friends Frank Whiteside of Philadelphia and Fred Vance of Crawfordsville, Indiana, but in Europe he turned to the futurists and vorticists, to the paintings of Wyndham Lewis and Picabia and the sculpture of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Epstein, and Brancusi. After his friendship with Katherine Heyman, he became acquainted with Rummel, Olga Rudge, George Antheil, Tibor Serly, and Gerhardt Münch. From his early reading of the Neoplatonists, he graduated to the esoteric investigations of Yeats, Mead, and Allen Upward , another New Age writer whose work The Divine Mystery (1913) impressed Pound deeply.
Pound's first series for Orage was "I Gather the Limbs of Osiris" (30 November 1911-22 February 1912) and, interestingly, the first of its twelve parts was a translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem "The Seafarer," which his biographer Noel Stock calls "the first clear sign of major ability." The "Osiris" articles and "Credo" (December 1911) set out Pound's new poetic program. In "Credo" he wrote of his belief in an "absolute rhythm" in poetry which "corresponds exactly to the ... shade of emotion to be expressed"; that "the proper and perfect symbol is the natural object"; that "technique is the test of a man's sincerity," which means "the trampling down of every convention that impedes or obscures ... the precise rendering of the impulse." He predicted a new poetry that would be "harder and saner ... 'nearer the bone' .... austere, direct, free from emotional slither." These formulations show Pound becoming increasingly clear about the possibilities, suggested by Hulme's aesthetic theories, for innovation in his own poetry. In fact, it was in his note to accompany Hulme's Complete Poetical Works (published at the end of Ripostes, 1912) that Pound first used the label Les Imagistes, whom he identified as "the descendants of the forgotten school of 1909." Before he wrote this note, in about April 1912, Pound, Doolittle, and Richard Aldington had agreed upon three "imagist" principles: direct treatment of the subject, no superfluous words, and poetic rhythm based on the musical phrase and not on "strictness of the metronome." After a walking tour of "troubadour country," Pound was in London in August refining his ideas about poetry in light of Flint's long "Contemporary French Poetry" in that month's Poetry Review. Harriet Monroe 's invitation to Pound to work on her projected Chicago magazine, Poetry, no doubt spurred Pound on. In the following months he sent her poems by Doolittle (which he signed "H.D. Imagiste," thus giving her her pen name) and by Yeats, and prose publicizing the Imagistes: a long letter ("Status rerum," published in the January 1913 issue), a self-interview attributed to F.S. Flint and his celebrated "A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste" (both in the March issue). At this time, he met Robert Frost (through Flint) and reviewed Frost's first book, A Boy's Will, enthusiastically in Poetry (May 1913). He also got verse by Williams published in the Poetry Review (October 1912), Poetry (June 1913), the Egoist (March, August, and December 1914), and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, Ripostes had been published in October 1912 by Swift and Company, but the firm failed the next month, and Elkin Mathews took over the bound copies and sheets of the book, bringing out Canzoni & Ripostes of Ezra Pound in May 1913 and Ripostes alone in April 1915. Hueffer's "roll on the floor" had impressed upon Pound the need to wean himself from his mannered style, and he worked hard in the years between 1911 and 1920 until he had found his own, distinctive voice. The main weakness of the earlier verse had been its inclination to looseness and lack of inevitability. Its presentation tended to the expository and the movement of the verse to a simple forward flow. For presentation he would come to the view that "the natural object is always the adequate symbol" (Poetry, March 1913), and in the matter of verse flow he would learn how to energize his poems through the use of tension. The act of translating "The Seafarer" from Anglo-Saxon helped by requiring him to work both with the very rigid prosody of the original (with its pattern of three strongly stressed alliterating words in each line and breaks both in the middle and at the end of each line), and also with the tension between the original Anglo-Saxon vocabulary and his own modern (although archaized) English, which sometimes echoed the words of the original and sometimes could not. His close analysis, also in 1911, of Arnaut Daniel's Provençal verse with its short lines, complex rhyme schemes and its frequently brisk, staccato and sometimes even clashing sound patterns provided additional training in tightening up his own verbal looseness. Also, by becoming aware of the extent and persistence of the evocative power of the broken form of Greek poems that have survived only on parchment scraps and fragments, he learned that "less could be more," that he could write a more powerful poem by suggesting rather than stating, by leaving gaps and requiring his readers to exercise their imaginations in making connections and visualizing for themselves.
Already in Ripostes , "The Return" shows the effectiveness of combining openness and incompletedness of form and of presentation with various kinds of tension between opposites--in this instance between how the subjects of the poem were and how they are, between the different kinds of meter associated with these two states and between our expectations of forward movement in the verse and the counterforce of hesitation and partial reversal. His efforts in this volume to pare away his esoteric and archaic vocabulary and simplify his verse to greater concision and directness, seeking the "luminous detail," find their first full achievement in "Contemporania" (Poetry, April 1913), a group of poems including the much-anthologized "In a Station of the Metro." Attributing this technical breakthrough to the extreme brevity of the Japanese haiku (in an essay significantly titled "How I Began"), Pound pointed to a new area of interest and technical resource: Chinese and Japanese writing. His interest in current French writing was unabated, however; witness his decision in April 1913 to meet in person the group of writers surrounding Charles Vildrac and Jules Romains. He later wrote a seven-part series on this group for the New Age ("The Approach to Paris," 4 September-16 October 1913) and reviewed Odes et Prières , by Romains, for Poetry (August 1913). He learned from them a sense of indebtedness to Rémy de Gourmont. He also met John Gould Fletcher and Skipwith Cannell in Paris before he left for Sirmione and Venice, where he spent some time with Doolittle, her parents, and Aldington. From here he returned to London via Munich.
Back in London, Pound's association with Frost came to an abrupt end when Pound sent out "The Death of the Hired Man" to the Smart Set without bothering to consult Frost first. Characteristically, Frost's annoyance in no way lessened Pound's resolve to promote the older poet's work, and he wrote a favorable review of A Boy's Will for the New Freewoman (later the Egoist), for which he became literary editor in August. The New Freewoman published "The Serious Artist" (15 October-15 November 1913), an important statement of Pound's growing economic and political concerns. Concurrently, despite his distaste for D.H. Lawrence personally and for what seemed to him an excessively confessional impulse in Love Poems and Others (1913), Pound publicized Lawrence's work by reviewing it in Poetry (July) and sending poems by Lawrence to both Poetry and the Smart Set. He told Harriet Weaver that "If I were an editor I should probably accept his work without reading it. As a prose writer I grant him first place among the younger men."
Pound even persuaded Yeats to consider his call for greater directness and simplicity in poetry, and Yeats was prepared to rethink his own poetic practice to some extent in the light of Pound's ideas. On 3 January 1913 he had written to Lady Gregory that Pound "helps me to get back to the definite and concrete away from modern abstractions. To talk over a poem with him is like getting you to put a sentence into dialect. All becomes clear and natural"; and, Yeats added, he was "writing with new confidence having got Milton off my back." In November of that year, Yeats invited Pound to stay with him for three months at Stone Cottage, Coleman's Hatch, in Sussex, where, in addition to working on their own poetry, they spent a good deal of time following up Yeats's interest in a comparison of Irish folklore and mythology with those of other countries. It was here that Pound first heard of James Joyce , and when Yeats found him a copy of Joyce's poem "I Hear An Army Charging" Pound immediately got permission from Joyce to include it in his anthology Des Imagistes which appeared in February 1914 as a number of the Glebe and was published as a book in March in the United States and in April in London. It was Pound who persuaded Harriet Weaver to run Joyce's Portrait of the Artist serially in the Egoist.
At Stone Cottage, Pound was also busy making his own rendering of the Japanese Nö play Nishikigi from a verbatim translation made by Ernest Fenollosa, an American who had taught rhetoric in Japan and was finally made Imperial Commissioner of Art in Tokyo. He had died in 1908, and, after his widow came to know Pound in 1913, she chose him as her husband's literary executor and entrusted to him sixteen notebooks of research on and translations of Chinese and Japanese works, as well as an essay, "The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry." Pound's version of Nishikigi appeared in Poetry for May 1914.
Pound had, meanwhile, been courting Dorothy Shakespear since 1911; it was not until 23 March 1914 that, overcoming her parents' objections, they announced their engagement. They were married on 20 April. On 18 January 1914 Pound, together with Yeats, Sturge Moore, Fred Manning, Plarr, Flint, and Aldington, had gone as a delegation to honor Wilfred Scawen Blunt for his services to poetry and as a champion of individual freedom. They had given Blunt a marble "reliquary" carved by the young sculptor, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. Pound had met Gaudier in 1913 at an art show at the Albert Hall, and the friendship which developed between them would profoundly influence Pound's thinking about the arts and his attitude toward social issues. Gaudier was, as Pound saw, a sculptor of great promise; the body of work that he left--both sculptor and drawings--is an impressive achievement indeed. His death in action in 1915 at the age of twenty-three was a severe blow to Pound, not simply as a personal loss but as a symbolic instance of how those forces in a culture that lead to war simultaneously work to destroy the arts and culture itself. After Gaudier's death Pound dedicated himself with relentless determination to do whatever was in his power as a man of letters to prevent another world war. That he was bound to fail is only too clear now, but it was a defeat that he refused to concede until long after the cause was lost.
He particularly admired the fact that Gaudier's sculpture required the greatest precision and expertise because he cut directly in stone. When Yeats suggested that Harriet Monroe award £40 of Yeats's £50 Poetry award to Pound, this prize money went to buy two small Gaudier statues, as well as a new typewriter. When Pound sat for his bust--the "hieratic head"--he considered this one of the most memorable moments of his life: "Some of my best days, the happiest and the most interesting, were spent in his uncomfortable mud-floored studio.... I knew that if I lived in the Quattrocento I should have had no finer moment, and no better craftsman to fill it. And it is not a common thing to know that one is drinking the cream of the ages."
Pound was to write many articles on art, the first of which was "The New Sculpture," a piece on Gaudier and Epstein, published in the Egoist for 16 February 1914. His continuing association with the New Age made him increasingly familiar with and informed about the works and views of the artists whose paintings were reproduced in its pages--Edward Wadsworth, David Bomberg, William Roberts, C.R.W. Nevinson, Walter Sickert, and most important, Wyndham Lewis . Lewis, a confirmed misanthrope, had made Pound an unusual concession in taking seriously his aesthetic judgments and in sharing his own views on art with Pound. Lewis, after a falling out with Roger Fry, had left Fry's Omega Workshops and set up his own Rebel Art Center, paying Pound the signal honor of allowing him alone to see his latest paintings, which were kept locked in a back room. Pound's admiration for Lewis's creative energy and expertise is clear from a letter that he wrote in March 1916 to John Quinn : "Lewis has just sent in the first dozen drawings ... and the thing is stupendous. The vitality, the fulness of the man.... Nobody has any conception of the volume and energy and the variety.... It is not merely knowledge of technique, or skill, it is intelligence and knowledge of life ... every kind of whirlwind of force and emotion. Vortex. That is the right word, if I did find it myself."
Vorticism, this new movement that Pound had named and Lewis had galvanized and focused, seemed to Pound an important step forward from imagism, which was likely to generate poems of fairly limited scope. Vorticism, rooted essentially in painting and sculpture, was concerned with a wider field of composition, with "lines of force," "planes in relation," and currents of energies which would be moving, yet in a patterned and efficient way, gravitating toward a point of maximum concentration of energy--a vortex. This new theory did not represent any departure from Pound's faith in the poetic power of the image itself, but now, when he tried to identify this power, he found that the idea of the vortex provided a useful analogy. The image was "a radiant node or cluster ... a VORTEX, from which, through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing."
No important poetry came out of his vorticist period, but Pound credited his association with these painters and sculptors with providing him with an entirely new sense of form. It is clear that his thinking at this time had a decisive influence in expanding his conception of the scope of his future poetry. The vorticists' emphasis on energetic and strenuous action and their attacks on whatever seemed stultifying in the society around them encouraged Pound to abandon the pose of the indolent aesthete which he had affected and to show his moral earnestness much more openly. The major vorticist assault on establishment complacency was Pound and Lewis's magazine, Blast: A Review of the Great English Vortex, with its eye-catching pink cover, "declamatory" typefaces, and its ridicule of whatever it judged to be inane and inert. It was very much in the vorticist spirit of cultivated out-rageousness that Pound responded to Lascelles Abercrombie 's call for poets to "return to Wordsworth" by challenging him to a duel. Abercrombie responded to the challenge in the spirit in which it was intended and, since it was his privilege to choose the weapons, averted the duel by deciding that they should pelt each other with unsold copies of their own books.
In the meantime, Amy Lowell was busy maneuvering herself into the position of "leader of the Imagists." Having read about imagism in Poetry, she had come to London in 1913 with a letter of introduction from Harriet Monroe to Pound. He found her "pleasingly intelligent," introduced her to Yeats and asked for permission to include "In a Garden" in the New Freewoman and later in Des Imagistes. Their friendship cooled considerably when Pound became impatient because she declined to put up a large sum of money to finance a magazine which he could run for her. In July 1914 she was back in London with a plan of action. Two days after attending a vorticists' dinner given 15 July at the Dieudonné restaurant in celebration of the publication of Blast, she gave her own imagist dinner at the same restaurant. Her plan was for a second and much larger "imagist" anthology for which contributors would choose their own poems. Pound, seeing that the result would not be imagist in any precise or authentic way, had no wish to have his work included and suggested that it would be more appropriate to call the book vers libre. She proceeded with her plan, and in 1915 Houghton Mifflin published the first of three anthologies titled Some Imagist Poets, with poems by Aldington, H.D., Flint, John Gould Fletcher , Lawrence, and Lowell. Pound dismissed this new pseudomovement as "Amygisme," and his annoyance at Lowell's attempt to pass herself off as the mother of his "brainchild" seems understandable enough: her publisher was billing her as "The foremost member of the 'Imagists'--a group of poets that includes William Butler Yeats , Ezra Pound , Ford Madox Hueffer."
In September 1914 Pound met Eliot, and, as soon as he saw "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," he reported excitedly to Harriet Monroe that he had been sent "the best poem I have yet had or seen from an American" and that Eliot had "trained himself and modernized himself on his own." He sent her "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in October but was disgusted when she objected to it. It was not until the following June that, by a process of alternating anger and patient justification, he could persuade her, reluctantly, to include it in Poetry.
By that time he was working enthusiastically on the Fenollosa notebooks and in October 1914 published his translations of the Nö plays Kinuta and Hagoromo in the Quarterly Review. His poetic resources were challenged even more demandingly by the task of turning Fenollosa's rough translations of Chinese poems into polished verse, a task which he accomplished with impressive skill in the poems of Cathay , published on 6 April 1915.
As an imagist, Pound had discovered how to use for his own poetic ends the power of the carefully chosen image to attract to itself and focus and radiate from itself a complex of associations which would provoke a deeply felt and specific emotional response in the reader. As he worked with these Chinese poems, he saw how they also had been constructed around images in a way that showed their authors to have been fully aware of this principle of composition which imagism had identified and, in effect, rediscovered. Pound realized that the imagists had "sought the force of Chinese ideo-graphs without knowing it." Often in the poems of Cathay, the focal point is an image of leaves, grasses, plants, or flowers described in a way that identifies a season of the year and in turn, at one further remove, highlights the mood of the poem's speaker. In "Song of the Bowmen of Shu" the passage of time and the falling away of hope are focused by the change from "soft fern shoots" to "old fernstalks." In "The River Song" the coming of spring is made graphic by "the willow-tips ... half-blue and bluer" whose "cords tangle in mist, against the brocade-like palace," and in "The River-Merchant's Wife" the speaker's sorrow at the five-month absence of her husband radiates out from the lines "By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses,/Too deep to clear them away!"
At Coleman's Hatch with Yeats again in the winter of 1914-1915--this time accompanied by his wife--Pound pressed forward with his researches into Chinese culture. He began to study Confucius in earnest, and in the three-part series "The Renaissance" (Poetry, February, March, and May 1915), as well as in the seven-part "Affirmations" ( New Age, 7 January-25 February 1915) suggested that artists bent on a revival of contemporary culture could learn a good deal from the study of Chinese writings.
At the same time Pound was trying to give Joyce all the help he could. He arranged for Joyce to receive a grant of £75 from the Royal Literary Fund in September 1915, and in February 1916 he published a long article praising Joyce's play Exiles in the Chicago magazine Drama. He took every opportunity to insist on the greatness of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, calling Joyce "by far the most significant writer of our decade." In June 1916 he got two more grants for Joyce, one of £26 and another of £100 from the Civil List.
Pound had been increasingly outraged by the spectacle of the war as he came to know more about it from the firsthand accounts of Gaudier. One of the effects of Gaudier's death in June 1915 was a hardening of Pound's attitude into a new grimness and urgency. He volunteered for service himself, and even after he was rejected by the British authorities, he later tried, again unsuccessfully, to use John Quinn 's influence to arrange for him to serve with the American forces in France. A more important result of this sense of urgency was the new resolve with which he turned to the idea which he had held for several years of writing "a cryselephantine poem of immeasurable length which will occupy me for the next four decades." The following month he was working his way through William Roscoe 's The Life and Pontificate of Leo X, which would provide much of the material for Canto 5, which he was already working on in mid-December, having written early drafts of Cantos 1 through 3.
Finally, after a great deal of effort, he was able to find publishers for Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Harriet Weaver agreed to publish the English edition and Pound persuaded John Marshall to bring out the American edition in place of a collection of Pound's own prose articles which Marshall had already accepted.
On 14 April 1916 John Lane published Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir. Pound's original Cantos 1-3 appeared in the June, July, and August numbers of Poetry under the general title "Three Cantos," but Pound continued to revise them, realizing that he had not yet arrived at the degree of formal precision that would be necessary if they were to provide a strong opening for his projected "cry-selephantine" poem. When they appeared in the enlarged private and trade editions of Lustra, published in America shortly afterward, these cantos had already been revised and pared down. In March with the financial backing of John Quinn Pound was made a London editor of the Little Review, an important outlet both for his writing and for that of Eliot and Wyndham Lewis (now with the army in France). Pound and Eliot worked quite closely together between 1917 and 1921: Pound made the financial arrangements for the printing of Prufrock and Other Observations under Harriet Weaver's Egoist imprint, and their shared interests in Théophile Gautier and in Jules Laforgue led both to turn for a while to writing in more metrically regular forms. Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920) and Eliot's Sweeney poems were partly conceived as a "countercurrent" to "the dilutation of vers libre, Amygism, Lee Mastersism [and] general floppiness."
Pound was actively following up on his interest in music and, as William Atheling, was writing music reviews for the New Age (as well as art criticism under the pseudonym B.H. Dias). He was particularly concerned with reviewing troubadour music and with exploring the art of harmonizing lyric poetry with musical settings--an art which he felt had virtually died out since the time of Henry Lawes , Thomas Campion , and Edmund Waller . In Raymonde Collignon, he felt that he had found a singer who could do justice to the kind of marriage of poetry and music which he was working toward, and, when she gave a concert of Rummel-Pound troubadour songs, "William Atheling" covered this event for the New Age in May 1918. Collignon appears to be the woman "that sang me once that song of Lawes" to whom the "Envoi" of part one of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley is addressed.
Starting in December 1917 Pound began to receive chapters of Joyce's Ulysses, which he was arranging to have serialized in the Little Review. The first installment appeared in March 1918. On 29 June 1918 Knopf published Pavannes and Divisions, a collection of Pound's prose. In August Pound edited a " Henry James Number" of the Little Review, and between August 1918 and April 1919 the Egoist ran several of his articles on translators of Homer and of Aeschylus , one of which included his "Seafarer" rendering of Andreas Divus' Odyssey (which would later become the body of Canto 1). Harriet Weaver planned to publish these collected articles as a booklet, but Pound suggested that a more valuable project would be a first book of poems by Marianne Moore that had been brought to London without Moore's knowledge by H.D., Robert McAlmon , and Bryher (Winifred Ellerman), and it was duly published by The Egoist Ltd. in 1921.
After the February 1919 issue of Poetry, Pound was no longer its foreign correspondent; the most immediate reason for his removal after more than six years in the position was the correspondence over "Homage to Sextus Propertius," part of which appeared in the March 1919 issue of Poetry. Although his references in the poem to Wordsworth and to "a frigidaire patent" should be conclusive indications that Pound intended no verbatim translation or even fidelity to the original, he was attacked in Poetry (April) and the Chicago Tribune as being "incredibly ignorant of Latin." When Pound wrote to protest this criticism, in a letter to Harriet Monroe beginning "Cat-piss and porcupines" and then stopped writing to her, she took this action as a tacit resignation from his position with the magazine, and in November wrote to him to formalize it. Pound had several reasons for his highly idiosyncratic rendering of this Latin poet. His statement that he intended to "bring a dead man to life, to present a living figure" suggests a tribute, both to this particular poet and to the power of successful poetry which allows it to be revived many centuries after it was written. To some extent Pound was also using Propertius as a persona by means of which he could present his own feelings in the present--"certain emotions as vital to me in 1917, faced with the infinite and ineffable imbecility of the British Empire, as they were to Propertius some centuries earlier, when faced with the infinite and ineffable imbecility of the Roman Empire." Of course, Propertius is not Pound. Propertius's contentment with writing poetry in a minor key does not at all correspond to Pound's ambitious notion of the poetry that he himself was planning to write. Pound was much less concerned with Propertius's point of view than he was with capturing his shrewd and easygoing tone of voice.
In writing the poem, Pound radically transformed his sense of history: where earlier he tended to adopt the stance of the poet drawn back to the past, even yearning toward its pastness, now he began to draw the past into the present. Instead of explicitly displaying his own emotions, he began to keep himself and his feelings well "behind the scenes," choosing to impress the reader with his discrimination through his artistry and with his self-confidence through his proprietorial attitude toward the great art of the past. Wordsworth and the frigidaire in "Homage to Sextus Propertius" serve as rather extreme instances of this attitude, showing Pound flaunting the advantage which he automatically had by being alive and writing at a time when Propertius was dead. Pound was discovering how to draw on his love of the past for poetic capital without being nostalgic or sentimental and without fleeing from the present. "Homage to Sextus Propertius" is a major step forward in the process of establishing the assured poetic voice that was a prerequisite for a rethinking of The Cantos.
In May 1919 Pound and his wife traveled to Paris and then spent most of the summer in the "troubadour country" of the south of France, staying in Toulouse and visiting Nimes, Arles, Avignon, and the ruins of Montségur in the Pyrenees, the site of the massacre of the Albigensians, where now there was "wind space and rain space/no more an altar to Mithras." (Pound recalled this summer's touring in Cantos 48 and 76.) In September, when they returned to London, the Little Review began its serialization of Fenollosa's "The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry," and in October John Rodker's Ovid Press published The Fourth Canto in a limited edition of forty copies. That same month the Egoist press published Quia Pauper Amavi, which included both the early Cantos 1-3 and "Homage to Sextus Propertius." Although Eliot and Ford reviewed this book favorably, bad reviews in the Observer of 11 January and the Spectator of 7 February 1920 annoyed Pound.
Pound was writing drama and ballet reviews for the Athenaeum. Also, in March 1920, his review of Major C.H. Douglas's Economic Democracy appeared in the Little Review. He had met Douglas in 1918 and had come increasingly to share Orage's conviction of the extreme importance of Douglas's Social Credit theories. Also in March he was made correspondent for the American Dial, and in April Boni and Liveright in New York published his Instigations, a collection of critical essays and the complete text of "The Chinese Written Character." By 3 May Pound and his wife were in Venice, where he began Indiscretions , an account of his childhood and family history which, although it renamed the people involved and affected to deal with their exploits in an "off-hand" or arch manner, was both factually reliable and revealing about the genuine interest he felt in his ancestors. Starting in May 1920, the New Age published Indiscretions in twelve installments (it was published as a book in 1923). Before Indiscretions began to appear in the New Age. Dorothy Pound's health dictated a move to Sirmione, and Pound prevailed upon Joyce to visit him there (accompanied by his son) on 8-9 June, during which time Pound persuaded him to make Paris his base, rather than Trieste.
In June Elkin Mathews published Umbra, a selection of Pound's early poems, and John Rodker published 200 copies of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley . The writing of the Mauberley sequence was a decisive stage in the evolution of Pound's thinking about his role as a poet. The sequence makes clear how the shock of World War I (and of Gaudier's death in particular) and the increasing insight into larger social issues, which he owed to his association with Orage and Douglas, had made his earlier exclusive preoccupation with purely aesthetic concerns seem now to be irresponsible. In the first poem of the sequence he writes of this earlier "aesthete-self," whom he calls E.P., and then disowns him, "killing him off" by calling this poem a funerary ode. In the remaining twelve poems of the sequence, he deplores the "tawdry cheapness" of standards of public taste in the arts; the way in which a writer such as Arnold Bennett , who caters to these standards, is successful while such a committed stylist as Ford is neglected; the hardships of the poets of "the Nineties"; and the death of any Dionysiac vitality or reverence for the mysteries. In particular he deplores the tragedy of the war and the disillusion that followed it, when those who did survive came "home to many deceits,/home to old lies and new infamy;/usury age-old and age-thick/and liars in public places." Poem five leaves no doubt about the relative importance in his eyes of the lives of young men and the cultural monuments of the past:
In part two of the sequence he presents and decisively disowns Mauberley, the ineffectual, self-absorbed hedonist whom Pound intends to be the exaggerated projection of the kind of writer E.P. might have become had he kept to his purely aesthetic concerns. By creating this caricature, Pound was justifying his belief that a failure to make his poetry more socially conscious would be poetically self-destructive. Mauberley's energies ebb away until he is capable of "Nothing, in brief, but maudlin confession,/Irresponse to human aggression."
Pound's feeling of disgust with the disillusioned mood of postwar London and its hidebound literary establishment had already made him consider living elsewhere, and Paris seemed the most likely alternative. He was back in Paris from Italy in June 1920 and in July helped the Joyce family to settle there, but he still thought of London as his base and moved back there that autumn. One of the reasons for his return was the money he could make as drama critic for the Athenaeum and so, when he was fired from this position shortly after arriving from Paris, he was angry at not having been told earlier. His Dial letters were increasingly full of praise for the artistic vitality of Paris; he was enthusiastic about his discovery of the poetry of Jean Cocteau , and in January 1921 he left England for France. Until April he stayed at St. Raphael on the Côte d'Azur and then settled in Paris at 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs.
Pound's three years in Paris were transitional ones for his career--a time for reorienting his thinking about his future role as a socially committed writer and also for making some important decisions about The Cantos. After the stuffiness of London, Paris seemed to be a more energetic place, where it was easier to put ideas into action. In the United States the Society for the Prevention of Vice had managed to bring a halt to the serialization of Ulysses in the Little Review, and Huebsch as well as Boni and Liveright had decided not to publish it as a book, but in Paris, Sylvia Beach of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore undertook to publish it herself, and Pound took it upon himself to collect subscriptions. It was in Paris at this time that, with considerable help from Pound, Eliot's The Waste Land (1922) found its final form. The Waste Land manuscripts, published in 1971, show exactly the extent of Pound's contribution, why Eliot would tell Gilbert Seldes of the Dial that Pound is "the most important living poet in the English Language" and why Eliot dedicated the poem "For Ezra Pound /il miglior fabbro." When Eliot was presented with the 1922 Dial award of $2,000, he wrote to John Quinn that his only regret was that the award had come to him before having been given to Pound.
In his Paris years Pound established his own assured poetic stance, developing the voice and control that would give unity and integrity to his individual opening Cantos and build up the momentum that would give an inevitability to the ordering of their sequence. We can see how radical a development was involved when we compare Cantos 1-3 as they appeared in Poetry to Cantos 1 and 3 of the poem as it now stands. In the early version, the poet's preoccupation with the difficulty of finding an appropriate voice is to a large extent the subject of the poetry. The original Cantos 1 and 2 in particular tend to be rambling, verbose, and, when he discusses his anxiety, prosaic, while his recurring indecisiveness deprives them of any forward impetus. The revised version uses the self-contained second half of the original Canto 3 for revised Canto 1 and cuts most of the original Cantos 1 and 2. The revised Canto 3 contains some greatly abbreviated sections from the original Canto 1 and preserves the passage on EI Cid from the original Canto 2; the rest is very heavily cut indeed. (The sources of these, and of all cantos, are recorded in Carroll F. Terrell's A Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound , 1980, 1984.)
Barbara Eastman has traced the complex history of the text; it is sufficient to note here that Cantos 4-7 first appeared in Poems 1918-21 (December 1921) and the "Malatesta Cantos" (now numbered 8-11) in Eliot's the Criterion (July 1923). They were later revised. These cantos focus on other kinds of difficulty: the dual nature of passion as inspiration and destruction (Canto 4), the apparent incompatibility of any vision of intellectual perfection with actual reality (Canto 5). Pound clearly identifies with the dilemmas of people who struggle to get things done against great odds, perhaps with the hope of only limited success. In a climate of post-world-war disillusion, the achievements of Sigismundo Malatesta, a renaissance patron of the arts whose life is the subject of Cantos 8-11, are a salutary example of what one man can do "outside the then system, and pretty much against the power that was, and in any case without great material resources."
Though Pound was living in Paris at this time, he was regularly visiting Italy, and in these cantos he is drawing on his Italian research. These years in Paris are more a source of Pound's musical than of his poetic inspiration: his friendship with the young American violinist Olga Rudge spurred his musical ambitions, and he turned to her (as well as to Agnes Bedford, concert pianist and lifelong friend of Wyndham Lewis ) for help in composing an opera using the poetry of Villon as libretto. Unable to play the piano, Pound bought a bassoon, whereupon Lewis, suspecting Bedford's complicity in this purchase, asked her: "do you think it is an act justified by the facts of existence, as you understand them?" Pound also got help from George Antheil, whom he met in June 1923 and whose musical theories became the subject of Pound's Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (1924). Once Pound finished his opera, he turned to composing music for the violin. An abbreviated concert version of Le Testament was performed in Paris on 29 June 1926; the whole work was broadcast by the BBC on 26 October 1931.
Pound's "On Criticism in General" was published in Eliot's Criterion in January 1923 and in 1929, revised as How to Read, was serialized in the New York Herald Tribune Books (it was published as a book in 1931). Here he distinguished three "kinds of Poetry"--melopoeia, "wherein the words are charged, over and above their plain meaning, with some musical property which directs the bearing or trend of that meaning"; phanopoeia, "a casting of images upon the visual imagination": logopoeia, "'the dance of the intellect among words.'"
There was much about the ambience of the expatriate life-style in Paris that Pound was bound to find uncongenial. The anomie, the directionlessness, and the hard drinking of the "Lost Generation" were antithetical to Pound's energy, earnestness, and optimism--he had no enthusiasm for or even interest in "decadence." He was, however, a strong advocate of sensuousness, and his translation of Rémy de Gourmont's Physique de l'Amour; essai sur l'instinct sexual, with an earnest and rather embarrassingly silly postscript, suggests that he felt the need to establish his willingness to enter into the Parisian spirit, and to demonstrate that he was, although no decadent, certainly no "Puritan."
In October 1924 the Pounds left Paris for Rapallo, where, after a while, they settled into a topfloor apartment at Via Marsala 12, on the seafront. In mid-December they went to Sicily for several months, and in late January 1925 in Paris William Bird 's Three Mountains Press published A Draft of XVI. Cantos in a limited edition with capitals designed by Henry Strater. Where the "Malatesta Cantos" celebrated Sigismundo Malatesta as patron and as survivor in a hostile time, Canto 12 provides twentieth-century contrasts and comparisons with a tribute to John Quinn which in tone foreshadows the "Hell Cantos" (14-15). Canto 13's serene introduction of Confucius sharply contrasts with the "Hell Cantos," in which Pound invents his own counterpart to a circle of Dante's Inferno, describing in repulsive detail the fates of corrupt politicians, war profiteers, financiers, agents provocateurs, slumowners, usurers, vice crusaders, newspaper owners, imperialists, and monopolists, as well as "betrayers of language," the pusillanimous, bigots, liars, the envious, the pompous, the litigious, bores, and--sounding like a holdover from Blast--"lady golfers." The serious offenders belong in either or both of the major categories--"obstructors of knowledge,/obstructors of distribution." With Plotinus taking the place of Dante's Virgil as his guide, the poet comes up out of this hell into the sunlight, and in Canto 16 finds himself at "Hell-Mouth."
Schooled by the social credit theory of Major Douglas, Pound had become increasingly certain that, were it not for the machinations of the "obstructors of knowledge" and "obstructors of distribution," the common sense of an informed public would have been alert to prevent a tragedy like World War I. Having expressed his outrage so stridently and graphically in the Hell Cantos, Pound settles in Canto 16 for a calm rehearsal of fact. Even the death of Gaudier, which had distressed him so much, is reduced to the matter-of-fact comment "And Henri Gaudier went to it,/and they killed him,/And killed a good deal of sculpture," and to the elegiac vignette of "an arm upward, clutching a fragment of marble," being sucked down into "the lake of bodies."
As the opening canto of a new section of the poem, Canto 17 (set in Venice) is almost a poetic counterpart to the new beginning which Pound has made by choosing Italy as his new permanent home. Although he has made Rapallo his home base, Venice would always be the most important "magnetic center" for him in Italy, personally as well as culturally. From the 1930s on, he spent his summers there with Olga Rudge; he would finally settle there after his return to Italy following World War II and his incarceration in St. Elizabeths and would eventually be buried there. Pound's relationship with Venice was not simple: although its inimitable architecture, painting, and sculpture were a great source of inspiration so that he found "in Venice more affirmations/of individual men/ ... than any elsewhere," the very excellence of its art challenged him in a somewhat forbidding way; for the very "completedness" of Venice seemed to exclude him and to send him off to another, less overwhelming setting in which he could create his own art. Two levels of reality alternate in Canto 17: the city itself is never seen in full daylight and so seems strangely artificial and insubstantial. The sunlit landscapes are settings for the apparition of the gods--of Diana, Dionysus, Hermes, and Persephone. For example, in Canto 21, while the city of the present is seen only in the half-light of sunset, the goddesses appear in a moonlight which blurs clear distinctions and the gods themselves have become "discontinuous."
The main event of Canto 26 is the arrival in Venice in 1438 of the Byzantine Emperor and the Patriarch of Constantinople who are on their way to the Council of Ferrara-Florence to ask the Pope for military aid to defend Constantinople against the Turks. Politically a failure, their mission was culturally important for leading to the meeting of Gemisthus Plethon and Cosimo de'Medici and to the founding of the Platonic Academy in Florence. The canto is a focal point for this section of the poem (17-27), since in it appear many of Pound's important renaissance characters who happen to be in Venice on this occasion.
Canto 20--Pound's warning to himself to resist the siren song of an escapist aestheticism--is an organizing center for the autobiographical material and Niccolò d'Este, who made Ferrara a center for arts and letters during the fifteenth century, is important in both, tying these focal points together. Cantos 18, 19, 22, and 27 deal with the problematical present, with 18 and 19 concentrating on crooked financial deals, monopolies, racketeering, and war profiteering. Canto 22 identifies financial success with crooked practice, and castigates economist John Maynard Keynes ("Mr. Bukos") who, at a time when two million men were out of work, said that the reason for the high cost of living was "Lack of Labour," and Canto 27 suggests that Europe, with no responsible political leadership, is drifting out of civilization.
Cantos 17-19 were published in the Autumn/Winter 1925/1926 issue of the Paris little magazine This Quarter. On 9 July 1925 Mary, Pound's daughter by Olga Rudge, was born in Bressanone in the Italian Tyrol, and for the rest of this year and the next Pound did very little writing, concentrating mainly on music--on concerts by Rudge and Antheil and on the performance of Le Testament. On 10 September 1926 Dorothy Pound had a son, Omar, born in the American Hospital in Paris. On 22 December 1926, Boni and Liveright published Personae, Pound's choice of the poems that he wished to remain in print. In spring 1927 he started his own magazine, the Exile, which lasted for four issues until fall 1928. At this time, encouraged by Ford, he was considering a lecture tour of the United States--although nothing was to come of this plan--and corresponding with H.L. Mencken , refusing to acknowledge the fact that Mencken's unregenerate cynicism was the antithesis to his own earnest optimism.
In the fall of 1927 he turned, as he so often did, to Cavalcanti and to Confucius for reassurance that harmony and order were still possible despite all evidence to the contrary. He was working on a translation of Cavalcanti's canzone "Donna mi prega" and, on 17 October 1927, he finished a translation of Confucius's Ta Hio. He had begun reading Confucius seriously in 1915, in connection with his work on Fenollosa, and he came increasingly to rely on the wisdom of the Four Books as a source of order and a stabilizing influence in a life that was to become progressively frenetic and chaotic. Originally he was particularly interested in the Ta Hio (The Great Learning) and the Analects. Confucius had studied the histories of China to learn about the operation of moral laws in the state, and Pound came to see the Confucian concern with civic order as far preferable to "the maritime adventure morals of Odysseus" and to the values of "the Homeric world ... of irresponsible gods, a very high society without recognizable morals, the individual responsible to himself."
In February 1928 Yeats and his wife took an apartment in Rapallo. Pound, busy preparing an Italian edition of Cavalcanti's complete works, excerpted a part of his commentary for publication in the March 1928 Dial as "Medievalism and Medievalism (Guido Cavalcanti)" and sent a translation of "Donna Mi Prega" for the July number. A Draft of the Cantos 17-27 was published by John Rodker in September. The final issue of Pound's the Exile carried forty pages of Williams's writing and the November Dial included Pound's article "Dr. Williams' Position." Williams wrote to thank him for his "great interest and discriminating defence of my position" and insisted "nothing will ever be said of better understanding regarding my work than your article in The Dial."
In early 1929 Pound was studying the works of the German anthropologist Leo Frobenius, who in Pound's view had revolutionized anthropological study by "reading" surviving artifacts to discern the general state of the culture that produced them. Pound was attracted to his notion that the "reader" could become sensitized to the "Paideuma" of a period, which Pound defined as "the complex of ideas which is in a given time germinal, reaching into the next epoch, but conditioning actively all the thought and action of its own time." It was this "active element" that Pound was particularly concerned to identify and do all he could to strengthen, and his increasing conviction that postwar Europe was drifting toward another war made him turn to Mussolini as the only Western leader who, in his eyes, showed any sign of taking any active and constructive measures against it.
From 1930 on, Pound lived during the summers in Olga Rudge's house in Venice while Dorothy Pound spent time in England. He now began to devote much energy to an ongoing letter-writing campaign to impress upon any American politician or public figure who would listen to him the need for economic reform. In August 1930 Nancy Cunard 's Hours Press published A Draft of XXX Cantos (with initials designed by Dorothy Pound), and when Cantos 31-33 appeared in Pagany for July 1931 his change of emphasis was clear. He had chosen to make the personal take second place to the issues of civic responsibility and the need for economic reform. Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI (1934) moves from the good sense of Jefferson and Adams, to Jackson and Van Buren's fight against the Second United States Bank, and ends with a celebration of Mussolini's efforts to curtail the power of the "usurers."
In Cantos 31-33 Pound turned again to the technique he had used in the Malatesta Cantos, building cantos out of extracts from the writings of the characters he is presenting. Now he used The Writings of Thomas Jefferson , which Eliot had given him ten years earlier, and The Works of John Adams. Pound saw the letters between the two men from 1813 to 1826 as "a Shrine and a Monument," and used these and other documents to comment on human irrationality and the rarity of leaders with good sense. Quoting Adams on the "arbitrary, bloody and ... diabolical" nature of absolute power, these Cantos remind the reader that the evils of the problematical present, attacked in The Cantos, had been diagnosed long ago by the greatest of America's founders, and point to Senator Brookhart of Iowa's attack on the Federal Reserve Board's practices as a contemporary instance of political integrity.
Canto 34, constructed from excerpts from The Diary of John Quincy Adams , and Canto 37, on Van Buren's role in preventing the recharter of the privately owned Bank of the United States, appeared in Poetry for April 1933 and March 1934 respectively. In January 1932 Edizioni Marsano of Genoa published Rime, Pound's long-projected edition of Cavalcanti. This project had engaged Pound's attention since 1928. Originally planned as a bilingual edition (which was abandoned when the Aquila Press failed), it finally appeared as a critical edition of the Italian texts (with a few translations by Pound). He sent a copy of this work to the University of Pennsylvania but it was not, as he hoped, accepted in lieu of a doctoral dissertation. In the summer of 1932 he drafted a second opera, Cavalcanti, which was not performed until 1983.
In 1932 Pound had also been busy writing articles and newspaper items; between 1932 and 1940 he contributed more than 60 to the Rapallo newspaper Il Mare and more than 180 to the New English Weekly, which Orage began to publish in 1932 after his return to London--and to "full-time Social Credit"--from his stay in America. In the summer of 1932 Pound met the futurist Fillippo Marinetti in Rome and was impressed with his energy and enthusiasm. At this time Ford visited Pound in Rapallo, and Olga Rudge made a transcription of their conversation. She translated it into Italian, publishing it, in an interview format, in the 20 August issue of Il Mare (her English retranslation appeared in the August 1947 issue of Western Review). Ford arranged for Farrar and Rinehart's publication of The Cantos of Ezra Pound (1933), a pamphlet of tributes to Pound by fifteen of his fellow writers, including, in addition to Ford, Hemingway, Eliot, Joyce, Hugh Walpole , and Archibald MacLeish . This pamphlet was to be advance publicity for the Farrar and Rinehart edition of A Draft of XXX Cantos, which appeared on 15 March 1933. Louis Zukofsky , who at Pound's suggestion had edited the "objectivist" number of Poetry (February 1931), traveled to Rapallo for a visit in 1933.
In 1932 Pound worked with F. Ferruccio Cerio on a film scenario about the history of Italian Fascism which was printed but not published that December (the film was never made), and on 30 January 1933, Pound was granted an official audience with Mussolini. The Duce, looking over a copy of A Draft of XXX Cantos, pronounced it "divertente," which Pound chose to see as an incisive perception that his purpose in the poem was to "delight" as well as to instruct. Pound was similarly impressed when in response to Pound's comment that he wanted to put his ideas in order, Mussolini asked "Why?" Yet at least as important as showing Mussolini his poem was the opportunity this interview gave Pound to present the Duce with a list of suggested fiscal and economic reforms. Pound's interest in the Fascist régime extended only to its social and economic policies. Early in his régime Mussolini had made significant social and economic innovations, which understandably led Pound to see the Duce as the humane and responsible ruler that he had been searching for; yet he was clearly not justified in closing his mind, as he did, to the mounting evidence during the late 1930s of Mussolini's mental and moral deterioration.
Many of Mussolini's reforms of the 1920s were in accord with Pound's theories. Under the Fascists a country that was in many ways essentially feudal was modernized and industrialized according to a coherent, long-range program that had been largely worked out as early as 1921 and 1922. A deficit of 400 million lire was replaced, by 1925, with a balanced budget, and by 1929 Italy's industrial output had doubled so that its rate of industrial productivity was higher than that of France, Germany, or England. After 1926 Mussolini created an "insulated economy" to protect domestic prosperity against foreign exploitation and he centralized and increased state control of banking. His social welfare legislation was thoroughgoing and highly successful, and he also involved the government in support of culture and the arts. Pound saw the histrionic face of Fascism--the parades, military drills, and rousing speeches--as unimportant window dressing, reflecting an Italian love of public display and having nothing to do with the commitment to social and fiscal reform which, to him, was Fascism proper. He was annoyed that the British and American press dwelt only on the histrionic and easily mocked.
Right after his interview with the Duce, Pound began Jefferson and/or Mussolini (1935), the purpose of which was to assure his reader that Mussolini, like Jefferson, was the "OPPORTUNIST who is RIGHT," that, because he faced such impediments to effective political action, he had to act unilaterally to accomplish any substantial reform, and that his good faith guaranteed that he would not abuse his power. Pound was completely sincere in these statements, but he did acknowledge that "any thorough judgement of MUSSOLINI will be in a measure an act of faith, it will depend on what you believe the man means, what you believe that he wants to accomplish." Although the book was written by February 1933, it was not published until April 1935, after having been rejected, Pound claimed, by forty publishers.
On 16 April 1933 Faber and Faber published Pound's short book ABC of Economics, the most lucid and helpful digest of his economic views. In 1934 he was busy working on The Cantos and writing more than one hundred articles on economic and political reform. On 8 October Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI was published in New York. Canto 41, the last of this sequence, begins with a tribute to Mussolini for having provided grain, a safe water supply, and decent housing for large numbers of Italians, and for his stand against usury, graft, and corruption. Although increasingly Pound's impulse was to put economic reform before purely literary matters, 1934 also saw the publication of ABC of Reading in May, and of Make It New--a selection of his earlier writings on literature--in September. Also in 1934 James Laughlin came to stay in Rapallo as a student-disciple of Pound's. He took on the editorship of the literary section of New Democracy, the magazine of the American Social Credit party, and called it "New Directions," the title he would later use when, also at Pound's suggestion, he began his own publishing company.
In 1935 Pound maintained his steady flow of articles on economics and wrote letters to anyone, particularly in America, who would give his fiscal theories a hearing. He had made contact with Henry A. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture; with the historian and member of Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" W.E. Woodward, and with the Republican Congressman George Tinckham, whom he thought would make a good president. But 1935 was to prove a crisis year for Pound. Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October revealed a new side of the Duce which would alienate the considerable sympathy for his regime that had existed up to that time in Britain and America. The invasion confronted Pound with a dilemma. It had been an article of faith with him that Mussolini was interested only in domestic reforms and was strongly opposed to war. The Abyssinian invasion showed that this belief was unfounded, but Pound had staked so much on his original notion of Mussolini that he could not bear to abandon it. From this point on he began to lie to himself about Mussolini's good faith, trapping himself in a mindset which would require him to rationalize or to try to explain away increasingly blatant evidence that he had been mistaken. This was the beginning of an inexorable process of self-delusion that would lead Pound farther and farther away from contact with the reality of the political situation in Italy. The propaganda of the regime told him what he wanted to hear about the benevolent and peace-loving Duce, and he accepted it at face value. After Abyssinia he carried photographs of alleged Abyssinian "atrocities," which he eagerly presented to people as explanation of Mussolini's change of policy.
Hemingway had already made his dislike of Mussolini clear to Pound back in 1933, but the New Democracy for 15 October 1935 carried a very favorable review of Jefferson and/or Mussolini by Williams, who was himself strongly committed to Social Credit. The main voice of warning about the Duce and the one that stood the best chance of getting Pound's attention was that of Orage, but to Pound's great shock, Orage died suddenly on 6 November 1935, shortly after having made a BBC broadcast on Social Credit, which Pound had been able to pick up on his radio in Rapallo. It seems as though, at the time when Pound most needed the counsel of common sense and restraint, the voice that could offer him this counsel most persuasively and with most chance of being heard was suddenly silenced. For Pound, Orage was irreplaceable.
Since the summer of 1933, Pound had been actively involved in organizing concerts in Rapallo with Olga Rudge and the pianist Gerhart Münch as "musicians in residence" joined by visiting musicians whenever possible. Pound and Olga Rudge were responsible for a revival of interest in the works of Vivaldi. In addition to presenting these works in concert, Olga Rudge traveled to Turin to catalogue the Vivaldi material in the National Library, and both she and Pound lectured and wrote articles on the composer.
In February 1936 Pound's best-known canto, the "Usura Canto" (45), was included with Canto 46 in the London magazine Prosperity, and on 3 June 1937, the complete Fifth Decad of Cantos (Cantos 42-51) was published.
Canto 50 follows the history of Tuscany from the time of the Medici until the defeat of Napoleon, which, Pound claimed, had harmful consequences for all Europe by strengthening England and Austria, who gave the usurers free reign. Drawing up his case against the usurers in Canto 46, Pound adopted a new, grimmer mindset and the undertone of the whole sequence is elegiac: the celebration of sexuality in Canto 47 and of precise definition and the value of expertise in Canto 48 are muted by a sense of the transitoriness of human life and human achievements. In the meditative "Seven Lakes Canto" (49) the poet enters the "dimension of stillness," but through a rather claustrophobic isolation, and in his "Lament Against Usura" in Canto 45--the most intense and heartfelt of this sequence--there is not rage against the usurers, as in the "Hell Cantos," but a concern for those who suffer from Usura's stranglehold over all the forces of vitality.
But Pound was not given to despair or inertia, and 31 July 1938 saw the publication of Guide to Kulchur . The book is not so much a reliable guide in any objective way to the cultural phenomena Pound considers as it is a revelation of Pound's state of mind: both of the way he thought and of what he thought. It shows clearly the split between the two very different states of mind into which he fell, depending on whether he was dealing with the arts or with economics and politics. This split persisted and widened over the following years: what he said in one state of mind gives at best a partial indication of how he thought in the other. What he said of the arts is generally reasonable, well-considered, and consistent with his earlier views, and this is also generally true of his views about economic theory, but when he tried to account for the current economic and political situation, instead of reasoning carefully he rationalized and relied increasingly on a conspiracy theory about the causes of war and poverty: "We know that there is one enemy, everbusy obscuring our terms; ever muddling and muddying terminologies, ever trotting out minor issues to obscure the main and the basic, ever prattling of short range causation for the sake of, or with the result of, obscuring the vital truth." More and more, Pound would come to see a deliberate and conscious conspiracy. Altogether, Guide to Kulchur provides a highly reliable insight into Pound's state of mind and his most pressing interests in the late 1930s. The similarity of his economic views to those of Odon Por, whose book Italy's Policy of Social Economics, 1930-1940 Pound would translate in 1941, encouraged Pound to feel that there was a good chance for Social Credit policies to be implemented by Mussolini, as did the ease with which he was able to get his articles on economics published in the Italian press.
In October 1938 Olivia Shakespear died, and Pound traveled to London to help settle her estate. He saw many old friends, including Eliot and Lewis, who painted an oil portrait of the poet and sold him some of his drawings. Shortly after his return to Italy. Pound decided to travel to America the following year, and in April 1939 he sailed from Genoa to New York, where he spent time with Cummings and with Gorham Munson of the American Social Credit Movement, whose Aladdin's Lamp (1945) is still the best book on Social Credit. In late April he went to Washington and met the senators and congressmen with whom he had been in correspondence. Williams, who met Pound in Washington by chance, wrote to Allen Tate that he found Pound "very mild, depressed and fearful." Since Pound's purpose in coming to America was to convey his insights into economics and the "real" nature of the political situation in Italy to politicians willing and able to act on them, he was clearly despondent at his lack of success. Back in New York in early May, he saw Ford, Katherine Heyman, Zukofsky, Marianne Moore , and Mencken. He visited Fordham University and Harvard, where he stayed with Theodore Spencer and was recorded reading some of his own poetry. In Cambridge he also met Archibald MacLeish , and he traveled to New Haven and to Rutherford, New Jersey, where he spent a night with Williams. At Hamilton College, on 12 June, he received an honorary degree, as did the journalist H.V. Kaltenborn, and Pound disrupted Kaltenborn's luncheon speech to protest what he saw as a misrepresentation of Mussolini. On 29 June 1939 Ford died in France at Deauville and Pound wrote an obituary article, "Ford Madox (Hueffer) Ford; Obit," which was published in the August issue of Nineteenth Century and After .
Although the burden of all Pound's Social Credit theorizing was that under the present economic system periodic wars were inevitable, the prospect of war in Europe was one that Pound found unbearable. This belief may explain his refusal to "take sides" on the Spanish civil war, as Nancy Cunard 's June 1937 questionnaire asked him to. By calling it a "sham conflict" he was trying to pretend to himself that it was not a "real war" and therefore that the cause of preventing war in Europe was not yet lost. By September 1939 this pretense was no longer possible. As soon as war started he wrote to anyone in America whom he thought could be instrumental in keeping the country out of the war, but he found little grounds for hope. In September both Tinckham and Mencken wrote to Pound that Roosevelt was determined to involve America. So desperate was Pound that he considered returning to the United States early in 1940 despite his failure to influence policy on his previous visit.
The Vivaldi "revival" continued, and Olga Rudge arranged a Vivaldi week (16-21 December 1939), sponsored by the Accademia Musicale Chigiana of Venice, in Siena. Some of the works performed were from scores in the Library of Congress and in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek in Dresden--the Dresden library destined to be destroyed in the firebombing--scores which Pound had arranged to have microfilmed. Olga Rudge also complied a Vivaldi catalogue.
By September 1939 Pound had sent off Cantos LII-LXXI to Faber, who published them on 28 January 1940. We can see from the beginning of Canto 52, and from his publisher's cancellation of some of Pound's anti-usury lines, that his decision to concentrate in this sequence on Chinese history and on John Adams was, at least in part, a way of counteracting his growing tendency to fall into rantings against the usurers. This decision enabled him to consider present problems from the vantage point of the past and to adopt a more contemplative perspective on the discouraging prospect of the impediments to social justice. Although the straight-forward chronological survey that the "Chinese History Cantos" supply makes them the most accessible sequence in the poem, they are only of a secondary level of intensity. In writing this sequence Pound, following Confucius's advice, surveyed the whole of Chinese history up to 1780. Inevitably, his commentary is rather cursory; by the middle of Canto 54, the prosaic style and the increasing use of slang and abbreviation suggest that he was moving hurriedly, superficially, and mechanically through material of no compelling interest. But the section on Confucius is of particular interest.
Instead of eulogizing Confucius, Pound presents the events of his life in an understated way which is consonant with the fact that in his lifetime, there was great corruption and suffering, and that he was denied the opportunity to put his ideas into action. Although he was able during his life to make so little impact upon social conditions, after his death his ideas went into action with enormous force, and Pound observes that "every durable dynasty since his time has risen on a Confucian design."
Distressed by the lack of impact that his own ideas were having, Pound felt an affinity with Confucius and, in the next sequence, with John Adams, who continued to reaffirm his disinterested principles throughout his political career even after it was clear, from bitter experience, how rarely political ideals could be enacted without being adulterated by considerations of greed, personal ambition, and "the spirit of party." Earlier, Pound had praised Jefferson as the man of action, the "OPPORTUNIST who is RIGHT ... who has certain convictions ... and batters and forms circumstance with them," but now that "circumstance" seemed increasingly intractible, Pound was more inclined to value the deliberateness, steadiness, and tenacity of Adams, whom he calls in Canto 62 "the clearest head in the congress/1774 and thereafter" and "the man who at certain points/ ... /saved us by fairness, honesty and straight moving."
In these Cantos Pound kept to the order of the pieces in The Works of John Adams. Cantos 62-65 show Adams in action; Cantos 66 and 67, taken from his political essays, show how he used his mastery of the law to demonstrate the legality of his countrymen's demands for guarantees of their basic rights and freedoms. Cantos 68 and 69 cover his diplomatic missions to France, Britain, and the Netherlands, and Cantos 70 and 71, taken from his letters, show him reflecting on the destructive effects of factionalism and on religion and human nature in general. Later, Pound would describe the "Brothers Adam" as "our norm of spirit" and as an "unwobbling pivot"--a particularly apt metaphor for the role of the "Adams Cantos" as a central fixed point for the whole poem. They look backward to Cantos 31-34 and Canto 37, and forward not only to the Thomas Hart Benton and Andrew Jackson Cantos (88 and 89) but to all the many passages in the later cantos that deal with the theme of law.
After Cantos 52-71 were finished, Pound had planned to change the emphasis of the poem from economics to matters of belief and philosophy--to write a "paradiso." He hoped that the American philosopher George Santayana , who was then living in Rome, would be able to answer some of his questions about philosophy, and he did meet Santayana in January and again in December of 1939. Pound invited Santayana to collaborate with him and Eliot in writing a book on "The Ideal University, or The Proper Curriculum," but the philosopher declined, saying that while they were "reformers, full of prophetic zeal and faith in the Advent of the Lord," he was not and so such an undertaking would be "impossible morally" for him.
Mussolini declared war on Britain and France on 10 June 1940, and in late 1940 Pound began to broadcast speeches over Rome Radio. He was still insisting that Mussolini was "for peace" which, by now, required him to rationalize away such overwhelming evidence to the contrary that his view of the international political situation seemed clearly psychotic. He had convinced himself that because Mussolini's main goal was economic justice, he must be antiwar also. For Pound, to oppose Mussolini was to oppose economic justice and peace, so Roosevelt and Churchill were usurers' puppets and warmongers, who had forced their countries into a war they knew they could not win. Mussolini's choice of Hitler as ally "proved" to Pound that the Führer was not a warmonger, so Pound convinced himself that the real villains were a conspiracy of international--predominantly Jewish--bankers. As his paranoia increased, what had been denunciations of bankers became anti-Semitic allegations about a Jewish plot to undermine gentile culture.
By this time he was so obviously speaking out of a personal, psychological compulsion that his views should not be called Fascist propaganda. If Allied listeners had been able to recognize the premises that lay behind Pound's cryptic, staccato commentary, they would have automatically dismissed his allegations as insane, but the abrupt turns of thought and changes of subject made it almost impossible to get any sense of a coherent argument at all. A friend of H.D.'s, who monitored these broadcasts for the British government, said they were "baffling, confused, confusing," and their "message, whatever it was" was not "doing any harm or any good to anybody." His intentions do not seem to have been treasonous, and there is no evidence that the speeches had any effect on the Allied war effort. Pound wrote to the U.S. Attorney General: "I have not spoken to the troops, and have not suggested that the troops mutiny or revolt," and he was sincere in believing that the views he broadcast were not "incompatible with his duties as a citizen of the United States of America."
In 1939 and 1940 Pound had explored the possibility of getting back to America, and in the fall of 1940 he made preparations to leave Italy. In October he tried to get on a clipper ship at Genoa, since the only alternative route was through occupied France to Spain and Lisbon, but no American ships were sailing from Mediterranean ports, and after Pearl Harbor one impediment to his return was the fact that he would have to leave behind his parents, both in their eighties, his father with a broken hip that would not mend. When Italy's surrender to the Allies was announced on 8 September 1943, Pound, who had previously heard on the BBC of his indictment in July for treason, was already on his way by foot from Rome to Gais, in the Italian Tyrol, where his daughter was living with the peasant family by which she had been raised. It was a journey of 450 miles and, although he was able to take a train from Bologna to Verona, he made much of the journey on foot, sleeping wherever he could and arriving with feet swollen and blistered from the ill-fitting walking shoes he had borrowed from the Degli Ubertis. They had also lent him a large scale map, and it was only when he got to Verona that he realized that it was a military map and that, had he been caught with it, he might have been taken for a spy. His main reason for making the journey was finally to tell Mary what had been kept from her until that time--the fact that her mother was not his wife.
He stayed at Gais for several weeks and then traveled to Rapallo via Milan. He seems to have stopped on the way at Salò, where Mussolini had set up his "New Republic" that September, and during the next sixteen months he contributed thirty-five articles to Il Popolo d'Alessandria, one of the papers of the Salò Republic. In November at a big Fascist Congress in Verona, Mussolini had presented a new economic program. Its emphases were exactly in keeping with Pound's own views, and it seemed further evidence to him that the Duce was the economic reformer he had taken him for.
Back in Rapallo he clung to the forlorn hope that the cause of economic reform under Italy's leadership was still not lost. Writing in Italian, he issued several manifestos, had posters printed bearing Confucian maxims and Social Credit slogans, and published six books and pamphlets with the Venetian publishing house, Edizioni Popolari. Of these, Orientamenti (1944), a collection of his economic and political articles; Jefferson e Mussolini (1944), a rewriting of Jefferson And/Or Mussolini and a translation into Italian of Confucius's The Unwobbling Pivot were burned after the liberation, the title of this last--Ciung lung. L'Asse ["Pivot/Axis"] chenon vacilla (1945)--making it almost inevitable that it be misidentified as Fascist propaganda.
By the end of 1944 he had written, also in Italian, Cantos 72 and 73, in which the poet is visited by a series of ghosts. First the ghost of Marinetti admits that he wanted war while Pound wanted peace but that they were both blind, Marinetti lacking in self-knowledge and Pound blind to the times. Then the ghost of Manlio Dazzi appears. Dazzi links the two cantos together, having translated Mussato's Ecerinis (a place about Ezzelino de Romano, whose ghost speaks later in this canto) and having helped Pound to edit his Italian edition of the Rime of Cavalcanti, whose ghost is the main voice in Canto 73. Ezzelino, included among the tyrants in the Inferno, here rises up in rage to denounce the betrayers of Mussolini's Italy, while in Canto 73 Cavalcanti celebrates the courage of a peasant girl from Rimini, who, having been raped by a Canadian soldier, deliberately led a party of his fellow soldiers across a minefield, killing twenty of them as well as herself.
In the spring of 1944 the Pounds had had to leave their seafront apartment as it was requisitioned by the Germans, and they had no choice but to move in with Olga Rudge in Sant' Ambrogio on the hill above the bay. Here Pound was working on a translation of Mencius when, on 2 May 1945, two armed partisans ordered him to follow them to their Headquarters at Chiavari. No one was interested in him there, but he was determined to turn himself over to the American authorities and asked to be driven to Lavagna. From there he was taken by MP's to Genoa, where he was interrogated by the FBI. On 24 May he was taken to the Disciplinary Training Center, north of Pisa, an internment camp for some 4,000 American soldiers, and confined in an additionally reinforced "segregation cell" with cement floor and heavy-gauge wire-mesh sides. The heat and dust during the day and the bright light trained specifically on his cell during the night, together with his anxiety about his eventual fate were an increasing mental and physical strain. At his most depressed it seemed as though the sharp spikes of the cut ends of the steel mesh were a tacit invitation to suicide. He was, after a while, allowed a cot and a pup tent, but he was overcome by claustrophobia, panic, and fear, and on 18 June was moved to a tent in the part of the medical compound reserved for those prisoners who were officers. He was allowed writing materials and given use of the dispensary typewriter once the dispensary was closed for the night, on the theory that "letting him write would be good therapy and good preventative medicine." The result was some of his finest poetry.
He had few books--The Bible, The Confucian Four Books, a Roman Catholic chaplain's field book, and M.E. Speare's Pocket Book of Verse, found in the latrine. He found other material in the details of his surroundings--men entering and leaving through the main gate nearby, soldiers on sick call, identifiable by their names stencilled in white on their green fatigues; the orchards, fields, and mountains surrounding the camp; the moon and stars, the sun and clouds, the morning mists, the birds on the stockade fencing, the grasses, wasps, and crickets. But most of all he could call on what remained "in the mind indestructible"--his memories of the past. The dominant mood of this sequence is meditative, nostalgic, and reverential. Prevented from acting, he was now freed from his irresistible compulsion to carry on his war against Uswa--freed to rediscover his compassion, humility, and contrition and belatedly to begin the painful process of introspection and self-analysis. The climactic moment of the sequence is the poet's vision, in Canto 81, of the eyes of the women he has loved which, with their reassurance of forgiveness--"nor any pair showed anger"--lead him to his great affirmation: "What thou lovest well remains/the rest is dross/What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee/What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage."
At the same time his response to Confucius's writings became more personal and more profound. He became attentive to Confucius's insistence on the need for self-examination and self-criticism and to his advice on attaining self-sufficiency and serenity in adversity. He became interested in the Chung Yung (The Unwobbling Pivol), the most metaphysical of the Four Books, and he translated it into English in a way that "neoplatonized" it, making his description of the "process"--the "perfect way" of the tao--echo the radiation of the light of the Neoplatonic One.
It was more than four months before Pound's family was able to see him again. Dorothy Pound was allowed to visit him on 3 October and 3 November, and Olga and Mary Rudge came on 17 October. On the night of 16 November 1945. Pound was taken by jeep to Rome to be flown to Washington. Omar Pound, serving with the American army, arrived at the camp the next day to find Pound gone, and carried the news to Rapallo. Pound was indicted a second time on 26 November on nineteen counts of treason, a motion for bail was denied, and on 13 February 1946, a jury found him mentally incompetent to stand trial. He was placed in St. Elizabeths Hospital for the insane. In July, Dorothy Pound came to Washington and moved into a basement apartment in a rundown neighborhood near to St. Elizabeths. She stayed there, attending to his correspondence in the mornings and visiting him every afternoon, for the rest of the nearly twelve years that he was there. On 11 February Pound's lawyer Julian Cornell filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus for Pound to be released into the care of his wife. Although the District Court refused, Cornell was optimistic that an appeal to the Supreme Court would succeed, but on 13 March Dorothy Pound asked him to withdraw the appeal.
On 20 February 1949 the Fellows of American Letters of the Library of Congress awarded the annual Bollingen Prize to The Pisan Cantos , which had been published as a book on 30 July 1948. Before this time, reviews of the volume had been generally favorable, with no mention of anti-Semitism. In fact, the only anti-Semitic lines in the sequence, written before Pound had any knowledge of the concentration camps, are a reiteration of the ancient stereotype of the financially naive gentile outsmarted by the sharp practice of the Jew: "the yidd is a stimulant, and the goyim are cattle/in gt/proportion and go to saleable slaughter/with the maximum of docility" (Canto 74). After he was given the Bollingen Prize, however, the Saturday Review of Literature mounted an anti-Pound and anti-T.S. Eliot campaign, which soon turned into a broad-based and acrimonious controversy. Robert Hillyer 's Saturday Review articles drew strong protest, and John Berryman circulated a petition protesting them. Eighty-four critics and writers signed this petition, and after the Saturday Review refused to publish it, it appeared in the Nation for 17 December.
In the meantime, Pound seemed reconciled to his imprisonment,and quietly complied with the hospital routine. For thirteen months he had been in Howard Hall, the maximum security building for the criminally insane. His mental condition deteriorated under the strain of life in the "hell-hole," and he became claustrophobic and afraid of a complete mental collapse. A second application for bail was denied, but, as a compromise, he was moved on 4 February 1947 to Chestnut Ward, where the inmates were not dangerously insane. Now Dorothy Pound, who had previously been allowed to see him for only fifteen minutes a day, could spend the afternoons with him. Many admirers visited him over the years, mainly writers and critics, including Eliot, Williams, Cummings, Marianne Moore , Tate, Charles Olson , Robert Lowell , Elizabeth Bishop , Conrad Aiken , Langston Hughes , Mencken, MacLeish, Zukofsky, and Juan Ramón Jiménez . Not all who wanted to visit were allowed to come. Requests to visit had to be made in writing and cleared with Pound, and he absolutely forbade any interviews and was able to exercise a good deal of control over the topics of conversation.
During his years in St. Elizabeths, Pound was psychologically in limbo. His wartime views and state of mind remained virtually unchanged. Neither psychiatrists nor friends could diagnose his problem accurately enough to be able to help him to understand and overcome it, and, in the absence of any completely reliable source of psychological support, he was careful to avoid introspection and self-analysis as far as possible. While it might seem logical to assume that the circumstances of his confinement were a painful ordeal which threatened his mental stability, in one sense the fact of his imprisonment offered him considerable protection against the mental anguish that would have accompanied self-confrontation. Certain in his own mind that it had never been his intention to betray America, and, realizing that he was only in prison now because he had been accused of treason, he could see his present condition as punishment for a crime he had not committed. Since his imprisonment must have seemed punitive rather than therapeutic, self accusation must have seemed redundant, perhaps dangerously masochistic.
Depending on the subject at issue, he chose evasiveness, self-protection, or affirmation, and these responses determine the three main levels of intensity of the Cantos in Rock-Drill (1955) and Thrones (1959). The weakest passages are those born of evasion. Because he had not yet confronted his "usurers' conspiracy" theory of war, he automatically retreated to it under the pressure of anxiety or frustration or--as happened in St. Elizabeths--when someone like the self-avowed white racist John Kasper encouraged him, passing himself off as a serious economic reformer. By 1972 he would come to see that the main cause of economic injustice was human weakness: "re USURY: I was out of focus, taking a symptom for a cause. The cause is AVARICE." But he did not see this fact while he was incarcerated and, because he was still involved in rationalizing his conspiracy theory, he often settled in the Cantos he was writing for commentary which is cryptic and fragmentary, reiterating in a rather pro-forma fashion points he has made frequently before.
The passages written more from a self-protective than from an evasive impulse are more successful, for they follow closely written sources whose own integrity disciplines and tightens the writing, and in those he affirms those values which are the root of civic morality--benevolence, mutuality, filiality, and prudence. But the most successful passages--as fine as anything in The Pisan Cantos--are the more personal, reflective, and lyric sections, which affirm without question his faith in a divine force that is the source of all creative power and of all natural order. Borrowing from Neoplatonism, Christianity, and other religions, he visualized this force as a feminine principle, calling it "Lux in diafana./Creatrix," but he could only apprehend it fleetingly, trapped as he was for so much of the time at "the dulled edge beyond pain" (Canto 90). In these passages the poet's struggle to raise himself above despondency long enough to capture a visionary moment of revelation is followed by the inevitable falling back to the drabness of life in the hospital, "under the rubble heap." The paradisal state of mind is authentic but "jagged,/For a flash,/ for an hour./Then agony,/then an hour,/then agony" (Canto 92).
Pound called this force, as it operates in human affairs, Amor, choosing as an epigraph for Canto 90 a quotation from Richard of St. Victor, which translates: "The human soul is not love, but love flows from it, and therefore it does not delight in itself, but in the love which comes from it."
In these Cantos the power of Amor emanates from the eyes of a beloved woman, inspiring the intellect to philosophical insight, the moral sense to virtuous action and the imagination to artistic creation such as Beatrice inspired in Dante, Giovanna in Cavalcanti, and Eleanor of Aquitaine in Bernart de Ventadour. Reproaching himself for having shown insufficient compassion in the past. Pound now described himself, in the words of Confucius, as "counting his manhood and the love of his relatives the true treasure." In both Rock-Drill and Thrones he celebrated the power of benevolence and also the inspirational influence of two young visitors to St. Elizabeths--Sherri Martinelli ("Flora Castalia") and Marcella Spann, in whose presence the hospital grounds become metamorphosed into a temple precinct and the trees into marble columns.
The dominant mood at the conclusion of Thrones is one of calm resignation at the realization that there is no triumphant conclusion either to the poet's quest for the earthly paradise or to the poem itself. To keep alive the intellectual light is to be committed to an unremitting struggle against obscurantism. "Oak boughs alone over Selloi" from the Trachiniae recalls the revelation of the dying Hercules--"what/SPLENDOUR,/IT ALL COHERES," but this moment of resolution is followed by three references to new journeys to be made. John Bunyan 's Christian, beginning his journey to the Celestial City, is directed by Evangelist to make for the light shining "over wicket gate." Odysseus, helped after his shipwreck by Leucothea, must resume his voyage home and Dante, calling back to the reader "in the dinghy ... astern there," is about to embark upon the writing of his Paradiso.
In addition to his cantos Pound also worked in St. Elizabeths on his translations. His Great Digest and the Unwobbling Pivot was published in 1951 and a collection on his translations in 1953. Of the three thousand classic Chinese odes, Confucius had selected the three hundred which he considered indispensable, and Pound undertook to translate them all, filling thirty spiral notebooks between 1946 and 1950 with notes and characters, and publishing his translations as The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius (1954). That same year, both his Great Digest and the Unwobbling Pivot and his Literary Essays were published. In addition, his translation of Sophocles ' Women of Trachis was broadcast on the BBC (25 November 1954) before appearing in book form in November 1956. In 1952 Olga Rudge visited him, and the following year his now married daughter spent three months in Washington.
By January 1957 Archibald MacLeish was working actively to obtain Pound's release and to this end had drafted a letter to the Attorney General, signed by Eliot, Hemingway, and Frost. On 18 April 1958, the indictment was dismissed and Pound was free to leave St. Elizabeths. Because of passport problems, he remained in the country for two months, during which time he made visits to Wyncote and to Williams in Rutherford. He sailed for Genoa on 30 June 1958, with his wife and Marcella Spann en route to Brunnenburg, his daughter's castle in the Tirol where, for the first time, he met his grandchildren, Walter and Patrizia de Rachewiltz. At first he was in excellent spirits, working on the manuscripts for Thrones and sorting papers and letters, but before long his unresolved anxieties became increasingly oppressive. In January 1959 he went to stay in Rapallo with his wife and Marcella Spann, and, after touring through Italy in the spring, they settled in an apartment in Rapallo for the summer. By October Spann had returned to America, and Pound had written to Mary that he wanted to return to Brunnenburg "to die." His sense that his life's work was a failure was only temporarily alleviated by a birthday telegram from Eliot assuring him that his position as a great poet was secure. The self-punishing effects of his remorse took a heavy toll mentally and physically. He resisted eating and was afflicted with slowness of speech and movement, sometimes remaining completely still for hours at a time. He subjected himself to relentless self-accusation and was obsessed with unfounded anxieties about his health. His physical condition deteriorated because of his resistance to eating, and by the summer of 1960 he had to be treated at a clinic at Martinsbrun, returning there in June 1961 after spending some time at a clinic in Rome the previous month for treatment of a urinary infection. In 1962 and 1963 he underwent prostrate surgery.
By 1962 he was speaking less and less, but his delay and slowness in responding were at the level of communication rather than at the level of thought. This fact is clear from his replies to Donald Hall 's questions in the long interview published in the Paris Review (Summer/Fall 1962). Neither his memory nor his sense of orientation were impaired, and when he did talk his comments were precise and correct. His holding back from speech seemed of a piece with the problem he had from 1965 on in initiating physical movements and in carrying one through once it was begun. From 11 March to 16 April 1966 he was at the Clinic for Nervous and Mental Illnesses of the University of Genoa, where his condition was carefully studied. His psychiatrist's findings were very much of a piece with those of Dr. Overholser at St. Elizabeths--that, while he was rational and in touch with reality at almost all points, in one area--the assigning of blame--his thinking appeared psychotic. Where in St. Elizabeths he had believed in the culpability of an international conspiracy of usurers, now he castigated himself. He was not suffering merely from "senile depression," and his psychiatrist noted that he was not depressive except in the one area of self-accusation. He also noted that during trips Pound was sometimes capable of essentially normal activity, and this continued to be the case up until the time of his death. On 4 February 1965 he had attended the T.S. Eliot memorial service in Westminster Abbey and then had traveled to Dublin to see Yeats's widow. In the summer of 1965 he attended the Spoleto Festival, and in October, after his eightieth birthday, he visited Greece. In July 1966 he traveled to Paris and in June 1969 spent two weeks in America as the guest of James Laughlin , visiting Hamilton College on the occasion of the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Laughlin and spending time with Valerie Eliot, Hemingway, Lowell, and Marianne Moore .
In 1969 he published Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII . On those rare occasions when he could be persuaded to talk, he sometimes dismissed his Cantos as a complete failure, saying that they were "a botch" and that his writing was "stupidity and ignorance all the way through," yet Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII contains a more balanced assessment. Having chosen all his life to dwell more on how things might ideally become than on how they were, he had finally to acknowledge that he could neither see a solution to the social problems he deplored nor bring his poem to the "paradisal" conclusion he had projected--that it "nor began nor ends anything" (Canto 114). He confronted this realization steadily, and the prevailing undertone of these cantos is a calm resignation which at times slips into the poignantly elegiac and at other times rises to affirmation. He celebrated the healing power of music and of all forms of beauty and in particular his realization that "the truth is in kindness" (Canto 114)--that "Justification is from kindness of heart/and from her hands floweth mercy" (Canto 113).
He persisted in his self-accusation and now saw clearly "That I lost my center/fighting the world" (Canto 117) but, rather than escaping into rationalization, fatalism, or self-pity, he chose the painful course of contrition without self-exculpation, "the mind as Ixion, unstill, ever turning" (Canto 113). Although he was oppressed by the fact that "my errors and wrecks lie about me./And I am not a demigod,/I cannot make it cohere," he had not lost the faith that "it coheres all right/even if my notes do not cohere (Canto 116). Feeling that he was "A blown husk that is finished," he was still aware that "the light sings eternal/a pale flare over marshes" (Canto 115) and that, even if the light is glimpsed only fitfully, even "A little light, like a rushlight [can] lead back to splendour." Here, in this most poignant and moving sequence of the Cantos, he managed "To confess wrong without losing rightness" (Canto 116).
Stoic in his silence, he remained active until the end. He could make the long walk from Olga Rudge's house via the Accademia Bridge to the Piazza San Marco, and he was photographed shortly before his death, very thin, but standing dignified and erect, looking at the roses in the garden of friends in Venice. He died in his sleep on 1 November 1972, and his funeral service was performed on 3 November in the Benedictine Abbey on the Island San Giorgio Maggiore. He was buried on the Venetian cemetery island of San Michele.
A summary of Pound's poetic achievement invites the frequent use of superlatives. He saw earliest and most clearly and formulated most thoroughly and emphatically the new principles by which twentieth century poetry would operate. He realized and illustrated in his own work the importance of precision of diction and of vividness and specificity of presentation. He was most bold in experimenting with different kinds of openness of form. He may well have had the most perfect ear of all the poets of his age and, while urging poets to respect the natural cadences of the speaking voice and to resist nineteenth century distortions of word order, he produced the most beautiful and musical verse cadences. In The Cantos he wrote the most difficult poem of the period with the most numerous and far-ranging allusions, but also the most moving lyrical passages--a poem that is probably the most unread and so offers the most to be discovered.
The majority of the Pound papers are in the Ezra Pound Archive of 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 Pennsvlvania. 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).
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).
James H. Wilhelm, The American Roots of Ezra Pound (New York: Garland, 1985).
Michael Alexander, The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).
David Anderson, Pound's Cavalcanti: An Edition of the Translations, Notes and Essays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982).
Massimo Bacigalupo, The Forméd Trace: The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980).
Walter Baumann, The Rose in the Steel Dust: An Examination of the Cantos of Ezra Pound (Coral Gables: University of Miami Press, 1967).
Ian F.A. Bell, Critic as Scientist: The Modernist Poetics of Ezra Pound (London & New York: Methuen, 1981).
Michael André Bernstein, The Tale of the Tribe: Ezra Pound and the Modern Verse Epic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980).
Jo B. Berryman, Circe's Craft: Ezra Pound's "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1983).
Christine Brooke-Rose, A ZBC of Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).
Peter Brooker, A Student's Guide to the Selected Poems of Ezra Pound (London & Boston: Faber & Faber, 1979).
Ronald Bush, The Genesis of Ezra Pound's Cantos (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976).
William M. Chace, The Political Identities of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1973).
Donald Davie, Ezra Pound (New York: Viking, 1976).
Davie, Ezra Pound: Poet as Sculptor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964).
Earle Davis, Vision Fugitive: Ezra Pound's Economics (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1968).
George Dekker, The Cantos of Ezra Pound: A Critical Study (New York: Barnes & Noble, 1963); republished as Sailing After Knowledge (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963).
L.S. Dembo, The Confucian Odes of Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963).
Peter D'Epiro, A Touch of Rhetoric: Ezra Pound's Malatesta Cantos (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1983).
Robert J. Dilligan and others, A Concordance to Ezra Pound's Cantos (New York: Garland, 1981).
Barbara Eastman, Ezra Pound's Cantos: The Story of the Text (Orono: National Poetry Foundation, University of Maine, 1979).
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 S. Flory, Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980).
G.S. Frazer, Ezra Pound (New York: Grove, 1961).
Christine Froula, A Guide to Ezra Pound's Selected Poems (New York: New Directions, 1983).
K.L. Goodwin, The Influence of Ezra Pound (London & New York: Oxford University Press, 1966).
Eva Hesse, ed., New Approaches to Ezra Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969).
Daniel Hoffman, ed., Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams: The University of Pennsylvania Conference Papers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983).
Eric Homberger, Ezra Pound: The Critical Heritage (London & Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972).
Thomas H. Jackson, The Early Poetry of Ezra Pound (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969).
George Kearns, Guide to Ezra Pound's Selected Cantos (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1980).
Hugh Kenner, The Poetry of Ezra Pound (New York: New Directions, 1951).
Kenner, The Pound Era (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971).
Gary Lane, A Concordance to the Poems of Ezra Pound (Brooklyn, N.Y.: Haskell, 1972).
Lewis Leary, ed., Motive and Metaphor in the Cantos of Ezra Pound (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954).
Peter Makin, Provence and Pound (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).
Timothy Materer, Vortex: Pound, Eliot and Lewis (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1979).
Stuart Y. McDougal, Ezra Pound and the Troubadour Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973).
Daniel Pearlman, The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound's Cantos (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969).
Sister Bernetta Quinn, Ezra Pound: An Introduction to the Poetry (New York: Columbia University Press, 1973).
M.L. Rosenthal, A Primer of Ezra Pound (New York: Macmillan, 1960).
Rosenthal, Sailing into the Unknown: Yeats, Pound and Eliot (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).
Peter Russell, 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).
Richard Sieburth, Instigations: Ezra Pound and Rémy 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).
Leon Surette, A Light From Eleusis: A Study of Ezra Pound's Cantos (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980).
Carroll F. Terrell, A Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound, 2 volumes (Berkeley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 1980, 1984).
James J. Wilhelm, Dante and Pound: The Epic of Judgment (Orono: University of Maine Press, 1974).
Wilhelm, The Later Cantos of Ezra Pound (New York: Walker, 1977).
Hugh Witemeyer, The Poetry of Ezra Pound: Forms and Renewal 1908-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969).
Anthony Woodward, Ezra Pound and the Pisan Cantos (London & Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980).
Wai-lim Yip, Ezra Pound's Cathay (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969).