EZRA POUND AND MARGARET CRAVENS: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 by Omar & Robert Spoo--Eds. Pound

EZRA POUND AND MARGARET CRAVENS: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of Pound's letters to his benefactor Margaret Cravens, appended with an excerpt from H.D.'s autobiographical novel Asphodel, which features a portrait of Cravens. Cravens, a wealthy young American from Madison, Indiana, arrived in Paris in 1907 and met Pound; apparently impressed by his abilities, she offered to support him financially. Though Cravens' unexpected gesture was made only one or two days after meeting Pound, the offer wasn't foolhardy: Pound's Personae had already been published to critical success in 1909, and he was under contract to publish The Spirit of Romance. Pound accepted the offer; this collection charts his acquaintance (friendship is pushing it) with Craven up until her suicide in 1912. While the editors point out that Cravens' sponsorship of Pound was consistent with a family tradition of funding artists, they also suggest that Cravens may have had a romantic interest in her charge. The cause of suicide is uncertain, however, and unfortunately little light is shed here on what was clearly an admirable character. Since Cravens' letters to Pound are unavailable, we have only Pound's view of the relationship, effectively narrowing the focus here to the poet's travels, finances, and social circle during a very brief span of his controversial life. Despite the drama implied by the title, then, this collection is essentially an extended footnote on a formative period in Pound's career, of interest to Pound scholars and students interested in the day-to-day operations of a monument in the making.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1988
Publisher: Duke Univ. Press