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Ezra Pound and the Making of Modernism

By William Pratt

November 2007
LC 2007021636
ISBN-10: 0-404-61596-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-404-61596-3
Clothbound $74.50

AMS Studies in Modern Literature, No. 26


“. . . useful as an introduction to the poet because it provides close readings of his poetry and a map of its influences. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates.”

—R. T. Prus, Choice, April 2008

“Pratt draws on unpublished and published materials as well as his own personal contacts with Pound and his wife to flesh out Pound as an editor, educator and mentor. The result is remarkably convincing . . .”

Reference & Research Book News, February 2008


“It gradually became clearer to me, as I studied his vast and complex work, that Pound was the mastermind of Modernism.” So argues William Pratt in his new critical study Ezra Pound and the Making of Modernism. The 10 essays in this collection firmly locate Pound at the center of a second great international Renaissance—the Modernism that through Pound grew from the French Realist and Symbolist literatures of the nineteenth century.

Pratt’s extensive knowledge of Pound’s self-education, literary precursors, biography, and life’s work shapes this chronological evaluation of Pound’s tremendous influence on twentieth-century poetry. The text traces Modernism’s origins back to Pound’s launching of Imagism in 1912 and follows his impact on the developing movement from his early aesthetic declarations and his friendships with Modernism’s pantheon, including Yeats and Eliot. Pratt also describes Pound’s evolution as a poet and the effects of residencies in France, Italy, and America on his writing. Critical discussions of Pound’s artistic intentions as a translator, characteristic employment of multiple languages in his own poetry, and encyclopedic knowledge of global poetic traditions are expanded with reference to Pound’s private letters and Pratt’s reminiscences of meetings with the poet and his wife, Dorothy. Above all, this informed study argues that it is not merely for his internationalism, imagery, or metrical prowess that Pound was central to a poetic movement. Pound emerges as an innovator of historical import, an exceptionally gifted editor, and an influential educator of other poets: a true Father of Modernism.


Contents
Preface
Introduction
1.   Pound’s Mutation: Translating Symbolism into Imagism
2.   Pound’s Poetic Transformations
3.   The Imagist Decade, 1910–1920
4.   Pound as Modern Troubadour
5.   Pound and Yeats: The Poetics of Friendship
6.   Pound and Eliot: Editing The Waste Land
7.   Pound’s Poetic Progress: From Image to Ideogram
8.   Pound’s Poetic Self-Portraits
9.   The Greatest Poet in Captivity: Ezra Pound at St. Elizabeths
10.  Pound’s Hells, Real and Imaginary
Conclusion: Beyond Modernism: Pound as Vatic Poet
Bibliography
Index


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pratt, William, 1927–
Ezra Pound and the making of modernism / by William Pratt.
     p. cm. — (AMS studies in modern literature, ISSN 0270-2983 ; no. 26)
     Includes bibliographical references and index.
     ISBN 978-0-404-61596-3 (acid-free paper)
     1. Pound, Ezra, 1885–1972—Criticism and interpretation.
     2. Imagist poetry, American—History and criticism.
     3. Modernism (Literature)—United States.
     I. Title.
PS3531.O82Z7867 2007
811'.52—dc22                                                       2007021636