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Abstract

Chapter 6 examined the Symbolist beliefs which pervade Pound’s pre-Imagist poetry. My aim in this chapter is to emphasise the essential continuity of these throughout Pound’s Imagist/Vorticist period, despite superficial changes in the vocabulary in which they were expressed. I shall conclude by considering the relationship between Pound’s poetry and that of the other Imagists and adumbrate the future development of Imagism into Objectivist poetry.

Keywords

External World Emotional Attitude Perceptual Attitude Congruous Image Imagist Poet 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See, for example, comments by Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke and J. C. Squire, repr. in Ezra Pound: The Critical Heritage, ed. Eric Homberger (London and Boston, Mass., 1972) 50–3, 58–9, 83–4.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf., for example, Pound’s Spirit of Romance, 25, 126, Selected Prose, 28–9, 41, 42, and Literay Essays, 11–12, with Hulme, FS, 5, 9–14, 74–5. A detailed argument for Hulme’s influence on Pound is provided in my D Phil thesis, ‘The Transition from Symbolism to Imagism, 1885–1914’ (Oxford, 1982) 326–34.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pound, Translations, 23.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cf. Pound, Literay Essays, 4.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See G. T. Tanselle, ‘Two Early Letters of Ezra Pound’, American Literature, 34 (1962–3) 116 (emphasis added); Pound, Translations, 24.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    On Daniel see Pound: Selected Prose, 26–8; and Literay Essays, 112, 114, 115–16.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Selected Prose, 41. Pound is echoing Symons’s criticism of Browning’s partial grasp ‘that verse must be like speech, without realising that it must be like dignified speech.’; see ‘Mr W. B. Yeats’, Studies in Prose and Verse (1904) 238, cf. 237. On Pound’s high esteem in 1911 for Symons’s criticism, see Tanselle, ‘Two Early Letters of Pound’, American Literature, 34, p. 118.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    See Pound, Literay Essays, 49, 51–4.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Repr. from Poety Review, Feb 1912, in Literay Essays, 9–12; see particularly 9.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Literary Essays, 5; cf. Letters, 90–1.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Herbert N. Schneidau, ‘Pound and Yeats: The Question of Symbolism’, ELH, XXXII (1965) 231, 232.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ibid., 236. Cf. Ronald Bush, The Genesis of Ezra Pounds Cantos (Princeton, NJ, 1976), 104.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pound, ‘The Book of the Month’, Poety Review, I (Mar 1912) 133.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    For an alternative discussion of Pound’s views on literary impressionism, see Hugh Witemeyer, The Poetry of Ezra Pound: Forms and Renewal, 1908–1920 (Berkeley, Calif., and Los Angeles, 1969) 176–83.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pound, ‘On Criticism in General’, Criterion, I (Jan 1923) 144–6; quotations from 146.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ford Madox Ford, ‘On Impressionism’, Poetry and Drama, II, (June, Dec 1914) 174, 323. Cf. his ‘Joseph Conrad’, English Review, X (Dec 1911) 76, 77. See also Herbert N. Schneidau, Ezra Pound: The Image and the Real (Baton Rouge, La., 1969) 26–7.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Richard Aldington, ‘M. Marinetti’s Lectures’, New Freewoman, I (1Dec 1913) 226; cf. his distinction between impressionism and impersonal ‘presentation’ in ‘Books, Drawings, and Papers’, Egoist, I (1 Jan 1914) 10; and his satire on Ford, ‘Vates, the Social Reformer’, in Des Imagistes (1914) 59–61.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ford Madox Ford, Collected Poems (1914) 15–19 (quotation from 15). Cf. Pound, Gaudier-Brzeska, 86–7.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    See Literay Essays, 4; and Early Poems, 171 (emphasis added).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Selected Prose, 402; Gaudier-Brzeska, 89.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Poety, IV (June 1914) 120.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ford Madox Ford: Return to Yesterday (New York, 1932) 400–1; ‘Literary Portraits-XXXIII: Mr Sturge Moore and “The Sea is Kind”’, Outlook, XXXIII (25 Apr 1914) 560; ‘Literary Portraits-XXXV: Les Jeunes and “Des Imagistes”’, Outlook, XXXIII (9 May 1914) 636, 653; ‘Literary Portraits-XLIII: Mr Wyndham Lewis and “Blast”’, Outlook, XXXIV (4 July 1914) 15–16; ‘Those Were the Days’, Preface to Imagist Anthology 1930 (1930) ix–xvi.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ford, ‘Literary Portraits-XXXV’, Outlook, XXXIII, 636. Ford’s garbled eclecticism also echoes Pound in a parallel of the ‘abstract beauty’ of Imagist poetry with music (ibid., 653). Cf. M. T. H. Sadler’s Introduction to his translation of Wassily Kandinsky, The Art of Spiritual Harmony (1914) x, xvii; Roger Fry, ‘Art. The Post-Impressionists. - II’, Nation, VIII (1910–11) 403, who memorably discusses van Gogh as a visionary who painted the ‘soul’ of people and things in a ‘deep submission to their essence’; and Ramiro de Maeztu, ‘Expressionism’, New Age, XIV (27 Nov 1913), quoted supra, pp. 139–40.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ford Madox Ford, ‘Literary Portraits - XXXVI: Les Jeunes and “Des Imagistes” (Second Notice)’, Outlook, XXXIII (16 May 1914) 682. Cf. the whole of Kandinsky’s introductory chapter in The Art of Spiritual Harmony, particularly his stress on the ‘non-material’ on 29–30, 40.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Ford, ‘Literary Portraits - XXXVI’, Outlook, XXXIII, 682. He insisted elsewhere that the Futurists paralleled on canvas his own literary endeavours and that he had been preaching Marinetti’s doctrines since he was fifteen. Further similarities lay, he maintained with a characteristically light-hearted gibe at Pound, in their common concentration on rendering present-day life, not the Troubadours or Albigensians. See his ‘On Impressionism’, Poetry and Drama, II, 175; ‘Literary Portraits - XLIV: Signor Marinetti, Mr Lloyd George, St Katharine, and Others’, Outlook, XXXIV (11 July 1914) 46–7.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Ford, ‘Literary Portraits - XXXVI’, Outlook, XXXIII, 682; cf. Michael Sadler, ‘After Gauguin’, Rhythm, I . 4 (Spring 1912) 23–9 (quoted supra, p. 139).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pound, ‘Vorticism’ (Sep 1914), repr. in Gaudier-Brzeska, 92.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ibid., 89–90 (quotation from 90).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    ‘Vortex. Pound’, Blast, I (20 June 1914) 154; unpublished letter from Pound to Harriet Monroe, 7 Aug 1914, quoted in J. B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: Imagism 1908–1917 (1975) 178; Gaudier-Brzeska, 81. Witemeyer, in ch. 2 of The Poetry of Pound, particularly 32–7, has also stressed most persuasively the essential continuity between Imagism and Vorticism, as has, from a different approach, Thomas H. Jackson in The Early Poetry of Ezra Pound, (Cambridge, Mass., 1968) 96–108.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Pound: ‘The New Sculpture’, Egoist, I (16 Feb 1914) 67–8; ‘Exhibition at the Goupil Gallery’, Egoist, I (16 Mar 1914) 109 (cf. Letters, 74). Yeats, Uncollected Prose, II, 134.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pound/Joyce, 26. Cf. Pound, Pavannes and Divisions (New York, 1918) 245–6.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    William C. Wees, ‘Ezra Pound as a Vorticist’, Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature, VI (1965) 71–2, referring to Gaudier-Brzeska, 120–1. Cf. Hugh Kenner, The Poetry of Ezra Pound (1951) 73–5; and Donald Davie, Ezra Pound: Poet as Sculptor (1965) 54–5.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Pound: ‘Affirmations… II. Vorticism’, New Age, XVI (14 Jan 1915) 277, 278; Gaudier-Brzeska, 121, 127; ‘The Caressability of the Greeks’ (letter), Egoist, I (16 March 1914) 117; ‘Vortex. Pound’, Blast, I, 154; Selected Prose, 346–7.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Gaudier-Brzeska, 126; ‘Affirmations… II. Vorticism’, New Age, XVI, 278.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Gaudier-Brzeska, 121–2 (emphasis added).Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    ‘Affirmations… II. Vorticism’, New Age, XVI, 277; cf. ‘Wyndham Lewis’, Egoist, I (15 June 1914) 233.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    ‘Wyndham Lewis’, Egoist, I, 233.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    See ‘Affirmations… II. Vorticism’, New Age, XVI, 277, 278; and Selected Prose, 344–5.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    See Literary Essays, 49, 52.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    On Fenollosa’s Romantic organicism and theory of language as process, see The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, ed. Ezra Pound (1936) 13,Google Scholar
  41. 14.
    14, 15–16, 19, 21, 23. Kenner has an excellent, suggestive account of Fenollosa’s lasting impact on Pound in The Pound Era, paperback edn (Berkeley, Calif., and Los Angeles, 1973) 157–61, 192–231, 289–91.Google Scholar
  42. 41.
    Cf. Pound: ‘Vortex. Pound’, Blast, I, 153–4; ‘Affirmations… III. Jacob Epstein’ (1915) and ‘Affirmations… V. Gaudier-Brzeska’ (1915), repr. in Gaudier-Brzeska, 98, 109, 110.Google Scholar
  43. 42.
    See ibid., 84; and Letters, 210 (emphasis added).Google Scholar
  44. 43.
    For an alternative interpretation see Wallace Martin, ‘The Sources of the Imagist Aesthetic’, PMLA, 85 (1970) 201.Google Scholar
  45. 44.
    See Yeats, Essays and Introductions, 161. N. Christoph de Nagy, in Ezra Pounds Poetics and Literary Tradition: The Critical Decade (Bern, 1966) 82–3, also makes my general point, although with an inadequate account of Symbolist technique, while his rigid dichotomy between Imagism as phanopoeia and Symbolism as melopoeia totally falsifies Pound’s position in its neglect of the importance of ‘rhythm’ and melos. Google Scholar
  46. 45.
    Pound, Gaudier-Brzeska, 85.Google Scholar
  47. 46.
    Ibid., 85–6; cf. 92. See Whistler’s comments in The Gentle Art of Making Enemies 2nd, enlarged edn (1892; repr. New York, 1967) 126–8, 146–8. On programme music see Kandinsky, The Art of Spiritual Harmony, 42; Pound’s comments on this subject in Literay Essays, 433–4, probably derive from Nietzsche’s ‘Der Fall Wagner’, WdB, II, 912–16, 919–20, 923–5.Google Scholar
  48. 47.
    Pound, Gaudier-Brzeska, 90–2.Google Scholar
  49. 48.
    Ibid., 91–2. Cf. ibid., 87 and 88, on the ‘equation’ of colours, which was Pound’s first intuitive expression of the emotional experience underlying ‘In a Station of the Metro’.Google Scholar
  50. 49.
    Ibid., 127 (emphasis added); see also 134. Cf. ‘On the American Number’, Little Review, V (Sep 1918) 62; ‘Art Notes’ [signed ‘B. H. Dias’], New Age, XXVI (6 Nov 1919) 13; and the Neoplatonic interpretation of Epstein’s sculpture in ‘Exhibition at the Goupil Gallery’, Egoist, I (16 Mar 1914) 109.Google Scholar
  51. 50.
    Selected Prose, 346–7.Google Scholar
  52. 51.
    Guide to Kulchur, 152. See also ‘Through Alien Eyes, I’, New Age, XII (16 Jan 1913) 252; ‘Affirmations… II. Vorticism’, New Age, XVI, 277; Literay Essays, 154; Selected Prose, 346.Google Scholar
  53. 52.
    The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot (1969) 175.Google Scholar
  54. 53.
    Literay Essays, 442. For a good exposition of this profoundly traditional symbolism see Giorgio Melchiori, The Whole Mystey of Art (1961; repr. Westport, Conn., 1979), ch. 5, ‘The Mundane Egg’, 164–99.Google Scholar
  55. 54.
    Pound, Early Poems, 58; cf. Spirit of Romance, 68.Google Scholar
  56. 55.
    Early Poems, 72.Google Scholar
  57. 56.
    See Spirit of Romance, 158–9.Google Scholar
  58. 57.
    Early Poems, 114–15. For this quality see also ‘Portrait’ and ‘“Fair Helena” by Rackham’, ibid., 115–16.Google Scholar
  59. 58.
    See particularly ‘Canzon: The Spear’, ‘Canzon’ and ‘Canzon: Of Incense’, ibid., 134–9.Google Scholar
  60. 59.
    Ibid., 193, 194.Google Scholar
  61. 60.
    Ibid., 9–10; 83–5, 300–1; 198.Google Scholar
  62. 61.
    Repr. in Shorter Poems, 91–3, 94–5, 97–8, 101–5, 109, 111, 114, 124, 253; and Early Poems, 278, 279.Google Scholar
  63. 62.
    Shorter Poems, 99, 101, 120.Google Scholar
  64. 63.
    Ibid., 101. Cf. Selected Prose, 377–8; Shorter Poems, 209; ‘Three Cantos’, Poetry, X (June 1917) 116.Google Scholar
  65. 64.
    See Shorter Poems, 80, 85, 118.Google Scholar
  66. 65.
    Ibid., 119.Google Scholar
  67. 66.
    Cf. Pound’s early comment in Spirit of Romance, 31, on the ‘proper place’ of nature in poetry as ‘a background to the action, an interpretation of the mood; an equation, in other terms, or a “metaphor by sympathy” for the mood of the poem’.Google Scholar
  68. 67.
    Quotations from Donald Davie: ‘Pound and Eliot: a Distinction’, in Eliot in Perspective, ed. Graham Martin (1970) 62; and Pound (1975) 43. See also Davie, Pound: Poet as Sculptor, 57, 73–5; and Pound, 42–4.Google Scholar
  69. 68.
    Tony Tanner, The Reign of Wonder (New York, 1967) 91–2. Schneidau, in Pound: The Image and the Real, particularly 27–9, 83–4, 93, perceptively associates Pound’s ‘image’ with epiphanies and has some sensible comments on Symbolism. But I would disagree with his statement that the image is ‘a kind of secular revelation’ (28); I feel it was for Pound almost always mystical and spiritual. I also cannot agree with his praise along these lines of ‘The Garden’ (30–1), which I find an irredeemably weak poem.Google Scholar
  70. 69.
    Wallace Martin, ‘The Sources of the Imagist Aesthetic’, PMLA, 85 (1970) 204.Google Scholar
  71. 70.
    See The Collected Earlier Poems of William Carlos Williams (New York, 1966) 277, 96–7, 408, 449, 343.Google Scholar
  72. 71.
    See Louis Zukofsky, All: The Collected Short Poems 1956–64 (1967) 53–5; cf. ‘The Ways’, ibid., 88. Again this forms merely one mode in Zukofsky’s total œuvre, which is most obviously characterised by interest in the lyrical interplay of sounds.Google Scholar
  73. 72.
    Williams, Collected Earlier Poems, 142, 159, 241–2.Google Scholar
  74. 73.
    Ibid., 332.Google Scholar
  75. 74.
    Pound: Shorter Poems, 119; Gaudier-Brzeska, 85; letter to Homer L. Pound, 12 Oct 1916, quoted in Jackson, Early Poetry of Pound, 249.Google Scholar
  76. 75.
    Shorter Poems, 118, 119.Google Scholar
  77. 76.
    Ibid., 118; Witemeyer, Poetry of Pound, 142–3, prints Giles’s versions of this and of ‘Liu Ch’e’.Google Scholar
  78. 77.
    Shorter Poems, 118.Google Scholar
  79. 78.
    Ibid., 119.Google Scholar
  80. 79.
    Ibid., 131, 187.Google Scholar
  81. 80.
    Ibid., 171–7, 131–3.Google Scholar
  82. 81.
    Des Imagistes, 21–3.Google Scholar
  83. 82.
    Ibid., 28–9, 30, 20, 24–5, 26–7.Google Scholar
  84. 83.
    Some Imagist Poets: An Anthology (Boston, Mass., and New York, 1915) 21; Some Imagist Poets 1916: An Annual Anthology (Boston, Mass., and New York, 1916) 17–20, 21–5 (quotation from 23), 26–9.Google Scholar
  85. 84.
    Collected Poems of H.D. (New York, 1925) 52.Google Scholar
  86. 85.
    Some Imagist Poets, 24, 25–6, 27.Google Scholar
  87. 86.
    ‘Choricos’, in Des Imagistes, 7–9. The same stricture applies to ‘Beauty Thou Hast Hurt Me Overmuch’ and ‘The River’ (ibid., 13, 16).Google Scholar
  88. 87.
    Ibid., 12, 10, 19, 14.Google Scholar
  89. 88.
    Ibid., 11.Google Scholar
  90. 89.
    The same comment could be applied to Flint’s Imagist version of ‘The Swan’ (ibid., 35), which subordinates the creature itself to a surrounding landscape which appears like a Symbolist painting.Google Scholar
  91. 90.
    ‘The Poetry of F. S. Flint’, Egoist, II (1 May 1915) 80. In this respect compare Flint’s ‘London, my beautiful’, Des Imagistes, 31.Google Scholar
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    See ‘Trees’ and ‘Lunch’, Some Imagist Poets, 53–5; ‘Hallucination’, Des Imagistes, 32; ‘Accident’, Some Imagist Poets, 58–9; ‘Gloom’, Some Imagist Poets 1916, 57–9.Google Scholar
  93. 92.
    Untitled poem beginning ‘Immortal?… No’, Des Imagistes, 33. Cf. the different ending printed in ‘Three Poems’, Poetry and Drama, I (Sep 1913) 307.Google Scholar
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    Some Imagist Poets, 62. See also ‘Cones’, Some Imagist Poets, 1916, 56.Google Scholar
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    Eliot, Complete Poems and Plays, 22.Google Scholar
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    See Davie, Pound, 65ff.Google Scholar

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© Alan David Robinson 1985

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