Is The Cantos a masterpiece of twentieth-century poetry or an artistic failure? Is it sheer self-indulgent verbiage or an under-read and underappreciated epic for the modern world? Yet although it is undeniably a ragbag, there are a number of key themes running through The Cantos. In a sense, The Cantos sets out to apply such a principle, not to individual images, but to whole epochs and systems:
While widely hailed as an influential poet, writer, critic, and translator and one of the fundamental masters of the Modernist style, Pound was simultaneously reviled by the post-World War II world at-large as an anti-Semite and traitor for his provocative writing and treasonous radio broadcasts in Italy that espoused his Fascist leanings.
As a writer, Pound was responsible for The Cantosa verse narrative that is regarded as one of the most remarkable pieces of American literature. It is this dichotomy between the stunning sensual clarity of his poetry and the acrimonious nature of his beliefs that has led to questions about whether a work of art can be viewed separately from the nature and intents of its creator.
Mint to New York and eventually Philadelphia in In he attended the University of Pennsylvania where he began lifelong friendships with Hilda Doolittle H. After an innocent scandal led to his dismissal from the teaching staff at Wabash College in Indiana, Pound ventured to England, where he would begin a decades-long period of residency throughout Europe.
During this time Pound studied and absorbed the classical literature of the region with zealousness—influences that would be later reflected in his own writing. After releasing a series of critically lauded work that included a volume of poetry, Personae and a critical study, The Spirit of RomancePound founded a new writing movement called Imagism, a literary style he championed with H.
These influences provided the last building block towards what would be his penultimate and most debated work, The Cantos. Composed of cantos and written at various intervals over a year period, The Cantos was actually released as a series of shorter volumes, each with its own title but a continuation of the same epic piece of literature.
A synthesis of wildly varying languages, styles, and subject matter, The Cantos nonetheless achieved tremendous fame and critical ovations for Pound, earning him an enviable level of critical respect from his peers.
Living in Europe during the volatile period before World War II, Pound saw in Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini contemporary figures with the will and desires to create a utopian state where the class hostilities he felt inherent to the capitalist and communist ideologies could be eliminated.
Favoring a government that would give more emphasis to culture and art and less power to the banking industry, whom he felt was directly accountable for the First World War, Pound became particularly drawn to the culture and growing power of the Fascist movement in Italy.
A strong opponent to the coming war, Pound stridently worked to prevent its seeming inevitability through his writings and even a last ditch visit to the United States in When war finally did flare, Pound became a voice for Mussolini, airing a series of weekly radio broadcasts where he railed against the U.
For the next six months, he was held at the U. Disciplinary Barracks near Pisa, Italy, under harsh circumstances.
Out of his pain and suffering, and still mourning the death of his Fascist dream, Pound penned The Pisan Cantosnumbers in The Cantos, which were immediately hailed as a masterwork of English literature by many leading members of the literati of the time. The most directly personal segment of The Cantos, the elegiac tones are often moving in their expression of the despair he felt during this period of fragile emotional adversity.
Unfortunately, The Pisan Cantos also reflected his growing antagonism and the exacerbated mental difficulties that were becoming increasingly apparent, problems that manifested themselves as expanding conspiratorial rants against Jews as well as several lines written in honor of his beloved fallen Mussolini.
Upon his return to the United States, Pound had cause to fear for his life as he was charged with treason, which came with a possible death penalty. On the advice of his lawyers and many influential literary friends, Pound agreed to settle for acquittal on the grounds that he was mentally unfit to stand trial, a result that led to his committal at St.
The hope among his advisers was to avoid the trial at a time when emotions about the war were running at a fever pitch, and thus evade any chance he would be handed a death sentence. But the gambit backfired when St. The atmosphere became further charged when months after its release, The Pisan Cantos was awarded the prestigious first-ever Bollingen-Library of Congress Award ingiven to the finest collection of poetry from the preceding year.
The jury committee, which included among its membership famed poets Allen Tate, T. Instead, a war of words ensued between those who saw The Pisan Cantos as a grossly anti-Semitic and anti-democratic work and the Bollingen group—many of whom were followers of the New Criticism movement which sought to form a new system of literary criticism centering on the rigorous study of text by itself.
Leading the voices speaking out against Pound was poet Robert Hillyer, himself a Pulitzer Prize winner, who savagely berated the Bollingen jury in a series of articles in the Saturday Review of Literature that singled out T.
Eliot himself rumored to be Fascist-leaning and anti-Semitic for special condemnation. He believed the Bollingen group and its allies to be an elitist assembly cut off from real-world concerns and Pound to be a terrible choice for such an honor. During his incarceration, his travails inspired him to write two more volumes in his Cantos series, Section: Rock-Drill and Thrones as well as a prose essay on artist patronage, Patria Mia During his time at the institution, he became a sort of tragic, mythic figure to many in the literary world, leading Allen Ginsberg among others to visit him.We've updated all our links!
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Ezra Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho, on October 30, He completed two years of college at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a degree from Hamilton College in After teaching at Wabash College for two years, he travelled abroad to Spain, Italy, and London, where, as the literary executor of the scholar Ernest Fenellosa, he.
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October – 1 November ) was an expatriate American poet and critic, and a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement. His contribution to poetry began with his development of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language.
His works include Ripostes (), Hugh Selwyn. Ezra Pound: Ezra Pound, American poet and critic, a supremely discerning and energetic entrepreneur of the arts who did more than any other single figure to advance a ‘modern’ movement in English and American literature. Learn more about Pound’s life and career.
Looking for an introduction or reintroduction to the life and work of scientist Marie Curie? You could have a peek at her original manuscripts, after first signing a waiver and garbing yourself in protective gear, so as to avoid the radioactivity permeating her possessions.
Or you could turn to . When T. S. Eliot died, wrote Robert Giroux, "the world became a lesser place." Certainly the most imposing poet of his time, Eliot was revered by Igor Stravinsky "not only as a great sorcerer of words but as the very key keeper of the language.".