Ezra Pound

  • Ian F. A. Bell
Part of the Insights book series (ISI)


Melville’s Pierre, while ‘immaturely’ attempting a ‘mature work’, produces manuscripts where ‘chirographical incoherencies’ mime the problem of expressing a ‘wondrous suggestiveness’ that is ‘eternally incapable of being translated into words’. The epistemological and creative journey to ‘some thoughtful thing of absolute Truth’ is, by definition, taxing and one major lesson he fails to recognise in this proto-modernist text is urgent for the modernism Pound begins to explore in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.


Literary History Modernist Ideal Mere Surface Yellow Book Telling Expression 
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  1. 2.
    See Ian F. A. Bell, ‘A Mere Surface: Wyndham Lewis, Henry James and the “Latitude” of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley’, Paideuma, xv (Fall and Winter 1986) pp. 53–71.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1918) pp. ix-x.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Henry James, A Small Boy and Others (London: Macmillan, 1913) p. 73.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    Hugh Kenner, The Pound Ezra (London: Faber and Faber, 1972) p. 30.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Reed Way Dasenbrock, The Literary Vorticism of Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), pp. 246–7, 66.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    William Carlos Williams, ‘Vortex’, in Bram Dijkstra (ed.), A Recognisable Image: William Carlos Williams on Art and Artists (New York: New Directions, 1978) pp. 57–9.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Walter Pater, ‘Denys L‘Auxerrois’, Imaginary Portraits (London and New York: Macmillan, 1890) p. 51.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Peter Nicholls, Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing (London: Macmillan, 1984) p. 9. I am grateful to Peter Nicholls for his perceptive and helpful comments on an earlier draft of the present essay.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 17.
    D. D. Paige (ed.), The Letters of Ezra Pound (London: Faber and Faber, 1950) p. 248.Google Scholar
  10. 18.
    See Ian F. A. Bell, ‘Mauberley’s Barrier of Style’, in Philip Grover (ed.), Ezra Pound. The London Years: 1908–1921 (New York: A.M.S. Press, 1978) pp. 89–115, 155–164.Google Scholar
  11. 20.
    The most recent account of the aesthetic aspect of fragmentation is given in Andrew M. Clearfield, These Fragments I Have Shored: Collage and Montage in Early Modernist Poetry (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1984).Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    See Glenn S. Burne, Remy de Gourmont: His Ideas and Influence in England and America (Carbondale: S. Illinois University Press, 1963) p. 117, and Richard Sieburth, Instigations: Ezra Pound and Remy de Gourmont (Cambridge, Mass, and London: Harvard University Press, 1978) pp. 67, 115.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, in Spiller and Ferguson (eds), The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Cambridge, Mass, and London: Harvard University Press, 1971) vol. I, p. 20.Google Scholar
  14. 29.
    Dora Marsden, ‘The Organic Determination of Our Science of Mechanics’, The Egoist, V (August 1918) p. 91.Google Scholar
  15. 31.
    Dora Marsden, ‘Space and Substance’, The Egoist, V (September 1918) pp. 103–4.Google Scholar
  16. 33.
    David Murray, ‘Unity and Difference: Poetry and Criticism’, in David Murray (ed.), Literary Theory and Poetry: Extending the Canon (London: Batsford, 1989), pp. 13. 15.Google Scholar
  17. 34.
    Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, translated by Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Row, 1971) p. 154.Google Scholar
  18. 35.
    Jo Brantley Berryman, Circe’s Craft: Ezra Pound’s ‘Hugh Selwyn Mauberley’ (Ann Abor: UMI Research Press, 1983). See particularly chapters 5 and 6.Google Scholar
  19. 37.
    Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz (eds), Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear. Their Letters 1909–1914 (London: Faber and Faber, 1984).Google Scholar
  20. 39.
    Ezra Pound, The Spirit of Romance (London: Peter Owen, 1952) p. 34.Google Scholar
  21. 40.
    See Karl Malkoff, ‘Allusion as Irony: Pound’s Use of Dante in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley’, Minnesota Review, VII (1967) p. 88.Google Scholar
  22. 41.
    See Peter Makin, Pound’s Cantos (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1985) pp. 277–8.Google Scholar
  23. 42.
    See Daniel Pearlman, The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos (New York: Oxford University Press, 1969) p. 61.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editorial Board, Lumiere (Cooperative Press) Ltd 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian F. A. Bell

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