Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Pound, Ezra. (1885 - 1972).

W o r k

- a poet, literary critic, social critic, translator, and literary entrepreneur

- began to transform English literatura immediately after his moving to London = ‘the place for poetry’ (1908)

- exported the modernist revolution to America: a corresponding editor for Harriet Monro’s Chicago-based Poetry

- founded the Imagist movement: insisted on the ‘luminous detail’ (his “In a Station of the Metro”: an unexplained juxtaposition = the immediacy of reality)

- founded the Vorticist movement: inspired by the pictographical characters of the Chinese poetry, insisted on the concept of poetry as a succession of these ‘concrete pictures’

- attempted to aid D. H. Lawrence, J. Joyce, T. S. Eliot, W. C. Williams, R. Frost, E. Hemingway, & others, also edited T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land

- adopted traditional forms and rendered them in a new way: not to break with the past x but: to modernise the past, ‘make it new’

- claimed a poem must be vitally alive x but: his early poetry often lapsed into ‘literaryism’

< influenced by the literary traditions of the classics, the medieval Europe, the ancient Chinese haiku, and the 18th century America

Canzoni (1911):

- made F. M. Fox roll on the floor in mock horror at its ‘literaryism’

Personae (1909):

- possibly his finest collection

Cathay (1915):

- a translation from Chinese

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley: Life and Contacts (1920):

- a reaction to the death of his friend, the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Bryeska, at the WW I front; calls the ‘civilisation’ ‘an old bitch’

The Cantos:

- an epic to bridge the ancient x modern cultures

- a long, unending, and encyclopaedic poem in open form and free verse

- includes all from personal anecdotes to literary allusions: employs the technique of cryptic, fragmented, and highly allusive references

- concentrates on a sentence, avoids the narrative structure, and proves himself an obscure and never boring master of the modern language

<=> parallel to W. Whitman (= ‘the pig-headed father’ of his “Pact”):

(a) spent the bulk of his career on a long poem in the Whitmanesque tradition (Cantos)

(b) Cantos <=> W.’s “Song of Myself”: contain multitudes of ideas, insights, characters, events, etc., etc.

The Pisan Cantos:

- composed as a prisoner in an American camp for the prisoners of war in Italy at the end of WW II


(Photo: Alvin Langdon Coburn. 1913. Source: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Ezra (Weston Loomis) Pound. (1885 - 1972). American.
  • Work

    Poet. Critic. Promoter of Modernism. Author of Cantos.
  • Genres

    Modernism. Imagism. Vorticism.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


"A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness".

From "Warning" in ABC of Reading (1934).


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