Suffer, or enjoy, exile gladly.
Why did so many writers leave their own countries during the first decades of this century to live in exile? Though expatriation was an international phenomenon, the largest contingent of exiles came from America. Much can be learned about the causes and consequences of exile by studying the life and work, including unpublished and new work, by and about a single American writer. Ezra Pound may seem a figure too exceptional, indeed unique, to be exemplary; his case, nevertheless, vividly dramatizes the advantages and disadvantages, the joys and sufferings of exile. Exile may be the result of necessity, will, or desire. It may be voluntary or involuntary. Pound's was both. Like Henry James and T. S. Eliot, he had negative reasons for leaving America and positive reasons for going to Europe. The United States at the turn of the century seemed to Pound an uncongenial place for a serious artist to live: "if you have any vital interest in arts and letters . . . you will sooner or later leave the country," Pound avers. 1 Like James, Pound had already visited and been ravished by Europe before he went there in 1908. When he left America, he did not intend going into permanent exile. Still, as a man in love with culture and tradition, and an artist athirst for the best in literature, music, painting, sculpture, and architecture--all, except the last, arts in which Pound exercised his own hand--Europe drew him irresistibly.
Born in Hailey, Idaho in 1885, Pound moved with his family first to New York, then to Philadelphia. This was the beginning of the westerner's eastward migration; Pound remarked