Ezra Pound's Mauberley: A Study in Composition

Ezra Pound's Mauberley: A Study in Composition

Ezra Pound's Mauberley: A Study in Composition

Ezra Pound's Mauberley: A Study in Composition

Excerpt

This study, stemming almost accidentally from a few casual discoveries, grew into an experiment in criticism, focused on the question of how effective the traditional academic method of attack, with its full panoply of textual collation, identification of sources, and historical method, would prove when used in analysing a piece of contemporary poetry. That the body of Ezra Pound's work submits itself more fruitfully than that of many other writers to such an approach is, I think, obvious. At the same time, I should like to think that such insights into Mauberley as these explorations provide are indications of a method that could be profitably used elsewhere. I should like to think, too, that at least a few parts of the study indicate the classic attack's flexibility and show that it need not be a fixed strategy followed without consideration of its subject's nature.

At many points I have called on my colleagues at the University of California at Los Angeles for help, and I wish to thank Frederick M. Cary for his patience in answering what must often have seemed to him alarmingly elementary questions on the classics; Hugh G. Dick for suggesting possible originals for some portraits in Mauberley; Majl Ewing for his generosity in finding and giving me a copy of the first issue of Poetical Works of Lionel Johnsonof Lionel Johnson . . .

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