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Three Writers in Exile: Pound, Eliot & Joyce

By Doris L. Eder | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

The aim of this study is to discover why three of the most important and influential writers of this century were exiles. Besides asking why Pound, Eliot, and Joyce went into exile, Three Writers in Exile seeks answers to the following questions. Why did each writer settle where he did? How did exile make possible or facilitate his work? How did the writer influence his chosen environment and how did his environment influence him? What did each writer retain of his native heritage? What do these authors' works reveal of the state of American, British, and European culture during the first half of this century? Finally, what can we learn about the problem of the alienation of the modern artist by studying the lives and works of Pound, Eliot, and Joyce?

From a host of writers in exile, why choose Pound, Eliot, and Joyce? As exiles these three writers differ from their predecessors. Their exile is more deliberate than that of Henry James, who nevertheless was an example for both Pound and Eliot. James visited Europe and received a European education as a young boy. He grew up with one foot in America and one foot in European culture. In abandoning America at the age of thirty-three, James was giving up only half of his heritage, and then only as Joyce would do later--in order to remember and depict it better from a distance in space and time. The exile of Pound and Eliot was more willed and deliberate than James's. Pound did not see Europe till his teens, Eliot till his twenties. Both went there to do graduate work. Each soon after decided to cut himself off from home and family and a known environment. Joyce's exile, too, was thus deliberate.

The three chosen writers also differ from their successors, the stream of expatriates who headed for Paris after World War I. Since a rigorous definition of exile means permanent removal from home, the American expatriates of the twenties-- Cummings, Dos Passos, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, etc.--were not truly exiles. For these writers, Paris was a home away from

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