Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce: With Pound's Essays on Joyce

Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce: With Pound's Essays on Joyce

Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce: With Pound's Essays on Joyce

Pound/Joyce: The Letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce: With Pound's Essays on Joyce

Synopsis

The letters of Ezra Pound to James Joyce with Pound's critical essays and articles about Joyce. This is the record of one of the most interesting personal relationships of modern literature. Between 1913, when Yeats first called Joyces's work to Pound's attention, an 1920 there was a steady flow of letters, in which we see Pound finding publishers for Joyce, collecting money for him, defending him against censorship, even sending spare clothes. More than sixty letters from Pound to Joyce have survived, while those from Joyce to pound will be found in the Viking Press Joyce correspondence volumes.

Excerpt

During the winter of 1913 Ezra Pound was in Sussex with William Butler Yeats, acting as the elder poet's secretary. Temporarily free of the rush of London, each was assessing the other's work and both were laying out new directions. When Pound had almost completed an anthology of new poets, the Imagists, he asked Yeats if there was anyone he had forgotten to include. Yeats recalled a young Irish writer named James Joyce who had written some polished lyric poems. One of them had stuck in Yeats's mind. Joyce was living in Trieste. Why not write to him?

Pound wrote at once. He explained his literary connections and offered help in getting Joyce published. A few days later Yeats found "I Hear an Army Charging upon the Land" and Pound wrote again to ask if he could use it. Joyce, who had been on the continent for nearly ten years, cut off from his nation and his language and so far all but unpublished, was surprised and encouraged. He gave Pound permission to use the poem and a few days later sent a typescript of his book of short stories Dubliners and a chapter of a new novel called A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, along with news that he would soon have a play ready. A prolonged correspondence began, which grew into a long-standing friendship. Because of World War I the two inventors of modern fiction and poetry did not meet until June 1920, when Pound persuaded Joyce to come to Sirmione, Catullus's resort on Lago di Garda. But between 1914 and 1920 a constant stream of letters flowed between London and Trieste, London and Zurich. Pound transmitted his spontaneous reactions as typescripts of Dubliners, A Portrait, Exiles, and Ulysses arrived, then sent the chapters on to the magazines of which he was a correspondent or editor. As the books appeared he crystallized his insights in a series of reviews and essays, the first sustained criticism of Joyce's work. Pound's efforts and essays slowly created an audience and put Joyce across.

Pound's struggle to get into print "the men of 1914," as Wyndham Lewis called Pound, Joyce, Eliot, and himself, is well known. He is the colorful figure who enlivened literary London and Paris, then . . .

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