Stan Smith

The Pound in your Pocket

Ezra Pound and His World


Thames & Hudson 127pp £5.95 order from our bookshop

We have had the English Auden but not, so far, the Pound sterling. Xenophobic British critics have pounced with glee on Pound’s midwestern origins, as if parochiality constituted some kind of original sin. Cosmopolitan Americans like Hugh Kenner, on the other hand, have emphasised Pound’s own cosmopolitanism, as if a forged affiliation with medieval Provence, Renaissance Italy or classical China were in itself the one thing needful for salvation.

Central to both approaches is a convenient myth: that the hard-nosed Modernism of the American Pound and Eliot and the Irish Joyce and Yeats represents an absolute break with the English mainstream tradition of writers such as Hardy and Edward Thomas. Only Donald Davie, his confidently provincial Englishness cross-pollinated with transatlantic spores, has resisted half-intuitively such easy myths, finding in both Hardy and Pound an equal fascination and cultural centrality.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,