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Ezra  Pound
艾滋若.龐德
圖片來源:http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~slatin/20c_poetry/
主要文類:Poem
資料提供者:Fr.Pierre Demer/談德義神父
關鍵字詞:Modern American poetry

Ezra Pound

1885-1972

 
 Pound the Personality

 Table of Important Dates, Events, and Anecdotes
(Most of his critical essays on literature, art, and music are omitted)

 Pound the Poet

 

 Pound the Personality
  Ezra Pound led a life of such variety, which covered so many important places and events of the twentieth century, it is impossible to summarize his achievement in this brief space. Pound was probably the most original poet since Walt Whitman. His intercultural epic, the Cantos, is-like its author-a mixture of fragments of various cultures. In the pages which follow, we have prepared a"Table of Important Dates, Events, and Anecdotes"which divides his life into six major chronological and geographical periods; these pages list some of the important political, social, and literary crises that surrounded his tormented life.

One point in Pound's poetry, however, requires special consideration; the historical and linguistic inaccuracy of his poetry vs. its very obvious literary excellence. This point is particularly relevant to Pound's use of China in his poems and requires some elaboration to avoid misunderstanding.

Having all your facts straight is not always a high priority among authors. Shakespeare himself made some obvious mistakes, but who would correct those lines of lyric beauty for the sake of historical accuracy. In Pound's case, it is difficult to know how much knowledge of China he had before 1913. When he was given the Fenollosa manuscript in 1915, he began a serious study of the language and culture. In this"sea of strangeness"that was ancient china, Pound discovered the island of Confucianism from which vantage point he re-examined all civilization. He looked again at life through the Four Books(四書)and declared: "Had it not been [for] this book, from which I draw my strength [during imprisonment], I would have gone insane….read it constantly, [for] if you have grasped the import of this volume nothing can really hurt you, or corrupt you-not even the America[n] civilization or uncivilization."Although his vision of China was not through physical contact of personal experience, but through the spectacles provided for him by Fenollosa, etc., he communicated its essential cultural content. On the other hand, Pound worked hard on translating from classical Chinese and found it more challenging than Homeric Greek. As he himself said,"Looking eastward even my own scant knowledge of ideogram has been enough to teach me that a few hours' work on it is more enlivening, goes further to jog a man out of fixations than a month's work on a great Greek author."

Our annotations indicate that Pound frequently "mistranslated" or "misinterpreted" the original Chinese texts from which he was working. Whether this was deliberate or not is not so important as the fact that even linguistic accuracy was sacrificed to literary excellence. He does not always follow the literal meaning of the original text if he can achieve a literary triumph through imagery or an ironic twist. (e.g., see explanation of 習 on Canto LXXIV, line 448-452) As one critic has observed. "it is true Pound occasionally wanders off the main road when he is side-tracked by the pictorial effects of the ideogram and even gets lost at times but in his quandary he finds sometimes new paths much more interesting and scenic than the well trod."In short, Pound's knowledge of the Chinese language was limited, in spite of his long application, but he worked wonders within those limitations. While he may have failed in sinological accuracy of detail and scholarly precision of expression, Pound succeeded as the inspired master of words and rhythms. He often hit on the exact artistic combination that is great art, and great art is always a kind of distortion through interpretation.

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 Table of Important Dates, Events, and Anecdotes
   

I. Residence in U.S.A. and Travels Abroad (23 years)

1885 Ezra Weston Loomis Pound born on October 30th in Hailey, Idaho, U.S.A. Certainly one of the most controversial literary figures of the 20th century, possessing an extraordinary gift for discovering geniuses and, according to T. S. Eliot, more responsible for the 20th-century revolution in poetry than any other individual as well as the"invention"of Chinese poetry for our time.
1901-5 Undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania where he was admitted as a special student (aged 15) in order to study "eight or nine" languages and to avoid "irrelevant subjects." He meets the then medical student, William Carlos Williams, and they begin poetic experiments together. After two years, he retransferred to Hamilton College where he received his Ph.B.
1904 First intimations of the Cantos.
1906 M.A. in Romance Languages from the University of Pennsylvania. Awarded a Harrison Fellowship in Romanics, and travels in Europe working on Lope de Vega.
1907 Appointed lecturer in French and Spanish at Wabash college, Crawfordsville, Indiana. Dismissed after four months for being too European and unconventional as well as for befriending and entertaining a stranded burlesque artiste (he kept her in his room for one night).
1908 Travels via Gibraltar, Spain and southern France to Venice, where his first book of poems, A Lume Spento, is published at his own expense.

II. Expatriate in England (12 years)

1908 Pound proclaims his contempt for America's "booby" culture and government and, the first of the modern American expatriates, goes to London, where he teaches Medieval Romance Literature for a time at the Regent Street Polytechnic. He challenged a critic of the London Times to a duel for holding "too high an opinion of Milton."
1909 Personae of Ezra Pound; Exultations of Ezra Pound. "Virginal." Meets the philosopher-poet, T. E. Hulme, later killed in the First World War; the famous novelist, Ford Madox Ford; W.B. Yeats with whom he lived for 3 years.
1911 Canzoni of Ezra Pound.
1912 The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti; Ripostes. "Portrait d'une Femme." Pound becomes foreign poetry editor of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, edited by Harriet Monroe. School of Imagism defined in Ripostes, which contained the first so-called Imagist poems by T.E. Hulme, "H. D." (Hilda Doolittle), and Amy Lowell. At a later date, Lowell took over the movement because of certain poet's dissatisfaction with Pound's despotism.
1913 Pound serves as W. B. Yeats' secretary.
1914 Edits Des Imagistes: An Anthology. 'Vorticism' (the release of intellectual energy through art) published in the Fortnightly Review. Contributes to Wyndham Lewis' Blast (1914-15). Literary editor of the Egoist, in which James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is published. In April, marries an English girl, Dorothy Shakespear. Meets T.S. Eliot.
1915 Works on Fenollosa's MSS, from which he publishes Cathay. Edits Catholic Anthology, which includes poems ("Prufrock"and "Portrait of a Lady") by T. S. Eliot, Begins work on The Cantos of Ezra Pound.
1916
Edits (from Ernest Fenollosa's notes) 'Noh'or Accomplishment and Certain Noble Plays of Japan. He used to sign his letters with a seal in the Chinese manner.
1917 First three Cantos published in Poetry, later withdrawn. Collaborates with Little Review, in which parts of James Joyce's Ulysses appear in installments.
1918 World War I ends.
1919 Completes Homage to Sextus Properties.

1920
Hugh Selwyn Mauberley; Umbra; Instigations (including Ernest Fenollosa's essay, The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry.)

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III. Sojourn in France (15 years)

1920 Disillusioned with England, he takes up residence in Paris until 1924, where he becomes acquainted with Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, ("I play tennis with Hem two or three times a week," he wrote his father, Homer), and James Joyce. Several of these celebrities he aided with his criticism or helped to publish their controversial works.
1912
Poems 1918-1921, which includes Cantos IV-VII.

IV. Settles in Italy (20 years)

1922 Correspondence with Eliot and 'editing' of The Waste Land. Essays on Ulysses.
1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos for the Beginning of a Poem of Some Length. Paris wore even less well than London and so Pound departed for Mussolini's "reawakening" Italy; he settled permanently in the Mediterranean town of Rapallo near Genoa, where his daughter Mary was born.
1926 Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra pound; Testament of Francois Villon, Pound's opera, for which he wrote the libretto and the music, performed in Paris. His next child, a girl, he named Omar Shakespear Pound; she was born in Paris on September 10th.
1927-8 Edits and publishes Exile.
1928 A Draft of cantos XVII-XXVIII; Selected Poems of Ezra Pound, with an introduction by T. S. Eliot; Ta Hio大 學〕, the Great Learning.
1929 Great Depression begins (ends c. 1935) and causes worldwide financial disaster and unemployment.
1930
A Draft of XXX Cantos; Imaginary Letters.
1931 How to Read. Lectures at the Universita Bocconi, Milan, on Jefferson and Van Buren.
1933 ABC of Economics. Edits Active Anthology.
1934 Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI; ABC of Reading; Make it New (a title from the Confucian maxim日日新, which he had emblazoned on a scarf he frequently wore).
1937 The Fifth Decade of The Cantos [XLII-LI]; Polite Essays; Confucius Digest of the Analects.
1938 Revisits America for the first time since 1910 in hopes of averting the war, but World War II breaks out in the next year. Honorary D. Lit. conferred by Hamilton College, despite the fact that he had described American university presidents as "potbellied, toadying presidents of fat beaneries." The Intellectual Autobiography of a Poet (published in England under the title, Guide to Kulchur).
1940 Cantos LII-LXXI. Begins radio addresses on a wide variety of topics from Rome in support, he claims, of the U.S. constitution; others called some of them Fascist propaganda. He advised America to stay out of Europe, announcing that bankers and munitions interests were entirely to blame for the unsettled situation.
1941 In December, America declares war on the Axis powers and Pound temporarily discontinues his broadcasts.
1942 His father dies in Rapallo. He is refused permission to join a diplomatic train of Americans being evacuated from Italy to Lisbon and the U.S. Political broadcasts resumed in January, criticizing American intervention.
1943 In July, indicted in absentia for treason by a Grand Jury in Washington, D.C. on thirteen counts.
1945 In May, handed over by Italian partisans to U.S. Army authorities in Rapallo; formally arrested in Genoa, then sent to U.S. Army Disciplinary Training Center (D. T. C.) near Pisa, where he is confined in a six by six and a half feet steel pen. The 60-year-old poet-prisoner characterized this period by saying: "Birds do not sing in cages." Later he was removed to a more humane but still crude makeshift shelter. His lawyer, Julien Cornell, describes this solitary confinement in a roofless barbed wire cage as follows:

It was now full summer, and the Italian sun beat down on the prison yard with unbearable intensity. A military highway ran nearby, and having no shelter he could not escape the ceaseless noise and dust. Although all the other prisoners were supplied with tents to keep out the heat and glare of the sun, Pound was given no such protection, probably so that guards could watch him at all times. Whereas other prisoners were let out of the cages for meals and exercise, Pound was always confined. While others were penned up in groups, he was alone in his cage. After enduring the tropical sun all day, neither sleep nor rest came with the night-electric lights glared into the poet's cage and burned into his blood-shot eyes. The cage was devoid of all furniture. Pound lay on the cement floor in his blankets, broiled by the sun and wet by the rain.

Works on his translation of Confucius After six weeks of this barbarous treatment he had a serious mental breakdown, characterized by claustrophobia and hysterical panic. First draft of The Pisan Cantos.

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V. Imprisoned in America (13 years)

1945 In November, flown to Washington, where he is reindicted for treason. Found mentally unfit to defend himself and, at age 60, he is committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Criminally Insane, Washington, D.C. He spent fifteen months in a large concrete dormitory without furniture or windows, in which every second occupant was confined in a sort of straitjacket.
1947 The Unwobbling Pivot中 庸〕 and the Great Digest of Confucius 孟子〕(dated D.T.C., Pisa, 5 October-5 November 1945).
1948 The Pisan Cantos (LXXIV-LXXXIV); The Cantos of Ezra Pound, collected edition including The Pisan Cantos.
1950 The Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941 (edited by D.D. Paige).
1951 The Confucian Analects論語〕.
1952 Resumes work on the Cantos.
1953 The Translations of Ezra Pound (edited by Hugh Kenner).
1954 Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (edited with an introduction by T. S. Eliot); The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius詩經〕.
1955 Section Rock Drill: 85-95 de los Cantares.
1956 Sophokles: Women of Trachis: A Version by Ezra Pound.

VI. Return to Italy (14 years)

1958 In April, after almost 13 years of virtual imprisonment, released by the District Court of Washington, D.C., from St. Elizabeth's Hospital, and all charges against him dropped largely through the intervention of Archibald Macleish, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway and T. S. Eliot. When asked about Frost's efforts on his behalf, Pound replied, "He ain't been in much of a hurry." Return to Italy where he greeted reporters in Naples with a Fascist salute. "All America,"he announced, "is an insane asylum."
1959 Thrones: 96-109 de los Cantares.
1960 Impact: Essays on the Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization (edited by Noel Stock).
1962 The Love Poem of Ancient Egypt. Trans. By Pound and Noel Stock.
1963 Plagued by long months of illness from a circulatory disease, he appeared introspective and unsure of himself. He claimed he had reached 'the age of doubt' and that perhaps his whole life had been wrong. "I have erred always . . . and spoiled whatever came in contact with me," he said in an interview. "I know now that I no longer know anything. I have become an illiterate literary man . . . I am unable to think. I am aware only of my disconcerting uncertainty."

1964
Confucius to Cummings: An Anthology of Poetry (edited by Pound and Marcella Spann). The Cantos of Ezra Pound (1-109).
1965 In January, attends the funeral service of T. S. Eliot in Westminster Cathedral and visits the widow of W. B. Yeats in Dublin.
1967 Edits with an introduction Selected Cantos of Ezra Pound.
1969 Drafts and Fragments of Cantos CX to CXVII (including some fragments for insertion in earlier Cantos). These were all apparently written before 1962. In June, returns to U.S. on brief private visit. Attends graduation ceremonies at Hamilton College.
1970 Pound became increasingly silent and unsociable in the last years of his life, possibly applying to himself what he said of E. E. Cummings in 1937: "a bloke who keeps silent until he has something to say."
1972 A kind of "lost leader," he died at the age of 87 in Venice on November 3rd.

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 Pound the Poet
 
The most famous of Ezra Pound's poems-Mauberley, the Cantos-are also the most difficult to understand directly from the test itself. The knowledge of biographical facts and sources are needed or help greatly. Reading Mauberley and the Cantos without such information becomes a painful plodding through an unknown country in the middle of the night. A few facts in Pound's life, his theory of writing, his use of sources, once known by the reader, can transform a muddle of words into valuable insights, and give pleasure, even fun, for Ezra Pound often mixes high seriousness with clownishness.
 
     A few illustrations will suffice. As a translation-adaptation of Homer's description of Odysseus' voyage to the underworld, Canto I reads with great ease until the reader comes to "Lie quiet Divus . . ." Knowledge of an earlier version of this canto makes things clear:
Lie quiet Divus, plucked from a Paris stall
With a certain Cretan's 'Hymni Deorum';
The thin clear Tuscan stuff
   Gives way before the florid phrase,
Take we the goddess, Venerandam
Auream coronam habentem, pulchram . . .

We learn here that Pound found Andreas Divus' Renaissance (Latin) translation of the Odyssey in a Paris bookstall together with the florid translation of Homeric hymns to the gods by a certain Cretan. In his final version Pound suppressed the information and the critical judgment on the two translators' style in order to preserve the sweeping movement of his verse.

     The cantos on Chinese history (53-71) read easily as an English translation/summary of an 18th century French translation of the 通鑑綱目 by Mailla. The Chinese names of persons and places are French transliterations of the Chinese pronunciation at the time and place Mailla wrote. Similarly, the American cantos (62-71) are often called the Adams cantos because they are a collection of quotations from the writings of John Adams, especially of his correspondence with Jefferson. The American cantos follow the Chinese cantos because Mailla ended his history in the 1770's, the beginning of America as a nation.

The Pisan cantos (74-84) are clear enough when one knows that Pound was kept prisoner in a cage near Pisa after his capture as a traitor to America immediately following the surrender of Italy at the end of World Was II. The books he had with him were Legge's studies of Confucius' The Great Digest大 學〕and The Unwobbling Pivot中庸〕, the Bible, and a Pocket Book of Verse.

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 Pound the Ideogrammatist
       As we have seen, Pound's method was to put into verse a condensation of history, an accumulation of facts, or what he saw as facts, which seemed meaningful to him. What makes his histories poems and not simply a sequence of past events, is the lack of logical connection between his selected facts. He explained clearly his principle of selection: "In the material sciences the observed data have no syllogistic connection with one another. . .You don't necessarily expect the bacilli in one test tube to "lead to" those of another by mere logical or syllogistic line. . . The scientist now and then discovers similarities, he discovers family groups, similar behavior . . . .I see no reason why a similar seriousness should be alien to the critic of letters." His method is to juxtapose facts or supposed facts as far apart in time and space as can be a hope that some insight will be born from this union.

     This method is the result of his study of Chinese characters, which he discovered in Ernest Fenollosa's The Chinese Character as a Medium for Poetry, which appeared in The Little Review in 1919. Pound was fascinated by the new way of looking at things that the observation of ideograms allowed him to discover. In the character , for instance, he saw an axe resting against a standing tree, and from this observation concluded how newness implied cutting down. In his tent in Pisa, such musings may well have preserved his sanity. He remembered the opening of the Analects論語〕:"The Master said: is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? "Noting the character for perseverance, at least as interpreted by Legge, was , that is "wings," implying frequent motion, repetition, practice, and "white", he could write the line in Canto 74:

To study with the white wings of time passing
           is not that our delight

But Pound's study of ideograms goes deeper than these ingenuities. As he wrote in Guide to Kulchur: "The ideogrammatic method consists of presenting one fact and then another until at some point one gets off the dead and desensitized surface of the reader's mind, onto a part that will register." This explains his choice of facts in the Chinese and American cantos, facts which, as the elements in the Chinese characters, seem quite unconnected, but are found to have an unexpected relationship to the close and imaginative observer. Pound's poems, especially the cantos, are vast, complex ideograms with disparate elements, which the reader must interpret in his own way, using his heart, mind, and imagination. The passage quoted above from Canto 74: "To study with the white wings of time passing. . ." comes immediately after the description of his surroundings in the Detention Camp near Pisa where he experiences the great night of the soul:

nox animae magna from the tent under Taishan
amid what was termed the a.h. of the army.

   Hugh Selwyn Mauberley is no less an ideogram of disparate elements which were linked in the poet's mind and that the reader must put together in his own mind.

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 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley  
       This poem was written in two parts. Our Study Guide annotates only the first part made up of thirteen sections.

     The first question that arises is whether Mauberley and Pound are identical. Critical interpretations vary greatly on this point. The most sensible seems to be the one that takes Mauberley as a mask of the minor artist of the 1910's expressing what he could expect from the Anglo-Saxon milieu of his time.

     The sequence of poems opens with an "Ode" on Ezra Pound himself revealing his character and his hopeless career as an artist who fled the cultural waste land of America in the hope of finding a rich cultural soil in England. He only finds another wasteland in which his poetic ideal dies.

     The second poem exposes the reason why Pound almost had to fail in England and in America-the age demanded an art that only reflected its ugliness and not classical beauty. The third poem treats of the same topic contrasting the "cheap tawdriness" of these days to the beauty of classical times. Poems IV and V show commercial tawdriness culminating in a devastating war where young men die for a civilization that is corrupt.

     These five poems deal with the present, that is, the 1910's. The next two poems go back a generation earlier and show the cause of the present tawdriness in Victorian official morality, which crushed the pre-Raphaelite movement and the values, it represented. It also caused the artist of the 1890's to die morally as Ezra Pound is shown to die in Poem I. Poems VIII to XII are scenes of contemporary life illustrating the kind of contacts left for the serious artist. Brennbaum, the Jew, suppresses all appearances of Jewishness in himself in order to fit in the time. Nixon sacrifices serious art for popular success as a best seller. In Poem X the real artist is ostracized from society and so lives alone in the countryside in great poverty, married to an uneducated wife who does not understand what he is doing. In Poem XI the educated woman has only acquired a tradition, which she does not understand and is unable to help evolve. In Poem XII the artist is reduced to begging from fashionable ladies who have no appreciation for his art but find a sort of excitement or security in helping poor artists.

     The sequence of the first part ends with an envoi, a sending away of his book into the English public, in the form of a beautiful musical poem gathering allusions to the best poetry of the past, the time when England had not yet entered the period of cheap tawdriness. It ends with the hope that someday England will become again the merry England of old. The envoi is at the same time a farewell to England where the speaker had come to find a living tradition and found only deadness.

     The whole sequence of Mauberley opens with a poem expressing the speaker-poet's ambition in coming to England and his failure; it ends with a farewell poem on his leaving England for other shores, Odysseus-like, never ceasing on his quest for the living tradition to which he belongs. Inside this framework are contained poems describing contemporary life in England, the very scenes that cause his disappointment and his leaving.

     The first poem of the sequence tells us how he came to England from a half-savage country, attracted by the sirens, the songs he had read in English poetry of the past, hoping to find his ideal, an and like that of Flaubert, laboriously looking for the right word, the accurate word. For three years he tried in spite of all odds to bring lilies out of acorns, or force his way into Thebes against the god's will like Capaneus, or being caught by a fishing fly like a trout. Finding a wasteland in England, he fished, like the fisher-king, for three years, then gave up his art, morally died in the thirtieth year of his age, leaving no poetic monument to posterity. He had been unaware of the march of events towards decadence, tawdriness, too much preoccupied with ideal beauty to notice the passing of time and change.

     The last poem, the envoi, is written in the style of Waller, the poet who wrote for music in the time of merry England, and gathers allusions to the greatest English writers of the past: Waller, Chaucer, Milton, Shakespeare, all representatives of the better tradition which he had tried to revive.

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 The Cantos
       The word "canto" is an Italian word meaning "song." Besides this common meaning in Italian, it has been used since Dante to designate the major sections of a long poem like the Divine Comedy, Orlando Furioso, Jerusalem Delivered, Byron's Childe Harold, etc. It is supposed to mark a rest for the singer or reciter of a long poem and plays the role of books in Homer and the ancient epics.

     Pound's Cantos are a sort of journal in verse of the poet's intellectual epic search for meaningful moments in the cultural past. Pound put in verse a great deal of his readings in classical poetry, Provencal poetry, Renaissance writings, Chinese history, Confucius, American history, Economics, his personal tragic experience at Pisa after World War II, and, finally, his own views of the present world.

     His method is ideogrammatic. He chooses from his readings or personal experiences the telling details (a method he learned from Flaubert) and puts them side by side as in the composition of a Chinese character, leaving to the reader the labor of linking them into sense. He explained himself clearly on this score: "Any fact is, in a sense, 'significant.' Any fact may be 'symptomatic,' but certain facts give one a sudden insight into circumjacent conditions into their causes, their effects, into sequence, and law . . .when in Burckhardt [Renaissance historian] we come upon a passage: 'In this year the Venetians refused to make war upon the Milanese because they felt that any war between buyer and seller must prove profitable to neither,' we come upon a portent, the old order changes, one conception of war and of the State begins to decline. The Middle Ages imperceptibly give ground to the Renaissance. A ruler owning a State and wishing to enlarge his possessions could, under one regime, in a manner opposed to sound economy, make war; but commercial sense is sapping this regime. In the history of the development of civilization or of literature, we come upon such interpreting detail. A few dozen facts of this nature gave us intelligence of a period-a kind of intelligence not to be gathered from a great array of facts of the other sort. These facts are hard to find. They are swift and easy of transmission. They govern knowledge as the switchboard governs an electric circuit." (The New Age for Dec. 1911 p. 130). This is the exact method Pound followed in the Chinese and American cantos. He justifies his using the Adams-Jefferson papers in the latter by saying: "If one wished an intimate acquaintance with the politics of England or Germany at certain periods, would one be wiser to read a book of generalities and then read at random through the archives, or to read through, let us say, first the state papers of Bismarck or Gladstone? Having become really conversant with the activities of either of these men, would not almost any document of this period fall, if we read it, into some sort of orderly arrangement? Would we not grasp its relation to the main stream of events? (The New Age for Feb. 1912 p. 370)."

     The Cantos were begun in 1915 and were continued throughout Pound's life. Canto I is introductory, presenting the speaker as the explorer, an Odysseus figure, going first into the underworld to talk to the dead, and then beginning his exploration: "so that:". The next six cantos are mainly concerned with the ancient pagan world of Greece. Cantos 8-19 deal with the modern world beginning with the Renaissance and ending in the hell of contemporary time as pictured in Mauberley. In the middle of these cantos stands Canto 13 on Confucius as the model for moral order. Cantos 19-29 revise a great deal of what has been seen before and are perhaps the least unified. Cantos 30-41, on the other hand, treat of social and economic problems with relaxation in sex through allusions to Circe and Italian love poetry. Cantos follow on various topics up to Canto 53 where Chinese history begins and lasts until Canto 61. Cantos 62-73 pick up history where Pound left off in the Chinese cantos and continues with American history (62-73). Cantos 74-84 are called the Pisan cantos dealing with Pound's experience as a prisoner. Cantos 85-95 entitled Rock-Drill appeared together in 1956 as a sort of picture of Utopia. The last cantos (96-109) which appeared in 1959 review history again, that of Rome, Byzantium, East and West, with glimpses of an earthly paradise.

     The work, by its very nature, cannot be finished and could go on forever, as long as new readings, new insights, new dreams fill the poet's creative mind.

     This Study Guide presents Canto I in its entirety as a remarkable introduction to a lifetime work, which, though formless in many ways, contains insights that are worthwhile sharing with Pound. What follows are from the first Chinese history canto (53), excerpts from the first American canto (62), and excerpts from the first Pisan canto (74). These seem enough to give a good idea of Pound's method and may well lead the reader to further studies of the controversial poet.

 

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 A Virginal and Portrait d'une Femme
       These two early poems by Pound show his capacity to write as he said he tried to write in Mauberley. They show a sense of the music of past poetry together with original imagery and rhythmic technique.

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