EZRA POUND by Charles Norman


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The fascinating story of Ezra Pound is told here chiefly through letters, recollections and writings of famous authors, and by Pound's own letters. It is an exhilarating technique- like sitting in on an all-night jam session with Yeats, Joyce, Lawrence, Hemingway, etc. An unattractive, unpopular college boy and impassioned student of literature, Pound taught briefly in America, then went to Europe where he became- almost overnight- the red-bearded eccentric in flamboyant clothes, erudite poet, and center and creator of unnumerable literary whirlpools, magazines and writers. Besides the writing of his long Canto, Pound served as organizer and adviser, lent money, and there appears to be no writer of his generation that he did not meet and help. Much of this is told in his own crochety, fierce shorthand; so it is doubly horrible when the same tone subtly alters into the hysterical, anti-Semitic, anti-U.S. ranting over the Italian Fascist radio during the war. His friends describe Pound locked in a cage, in prison camp, and on trial for treason but the author makes absolute judgments. What, after all, can account for so extraordinary a character or tell such a tale better than its participants? This method gives an overpowering sense of a brilliant, tormented life.

Publisher: Macmillan