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Pound and the Perfect Lady

Donald Davie, 19 September 1985

Pound’s Artists: Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy 
by Richard Humphreys.
Tate Gallery, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 946590 28 1
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Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914 
edited by Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz.
Faber, 399 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 571 13480 7
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... among others, an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photographs and printed material bearing on Pound’s interests in ‘the visual arts’ was mounted for the Cambridge Poetry Festival on 14 June, and could be seen in Cambridge’s not sufficiently renowned Kettle’s Yard Gallery until 4 August; it will now be at the Tate from 11 September to 10 ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... having given up his pursuit of Iseult Gonne – who, incidentally, had lost her virginity to Ezra Pound in Woburn Buildings. Perhaps the LCC plaque commemorating Yeats’s residence there might have been worded more interestingly. Meanwhile Pound had married Olivia’s daughter Dorothy, after much opposition from both her ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home, 24 May 2012

Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... By my count, though I may have missed a few, this is the 25th volume of Ezra Pound’s highly distinctive correspondence to see the light of day. The first selection of his letters, edited by D.D. Paige and culled from the years 1907-41, was published in 1950, when Pound was four years into what would be a 12-year sojourn in St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, to which he’d been confined indefinitely after pleading insanity at his trial for treason in 1946 ...

Fitz

John Bayley, 4 April 1985

With Friends Possessed: A Life of Edward FitzGerald 
by Robert Bernard Martin.
Faber, 313 pp., £17.50, February 1985, 0 571 13462 9
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... was quaint in its time but became the more modern the more it caught on. FitzGerald’s version of Omar Khayyam, which became the most popular poem of the century, is sui generis in the same way. It also seems to stand outside its author. Although Professor Martin does the best that can be done with him, FitzGerald was not, from the literary point of view, a ...

Provincialism

Denis Donoghue: Karlin’s collection of Victorian verse, 4 June 1998

The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Danny Karlin.
Allen Lane, 851 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780713990492
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... I can’t be the only reader whose appreciation of Victorian verse was inhibited by Yeats, Eliot, Pound and Leavis. In ‘The Trembling of the Veil’, Yeats made an opportunistic distinction between two traditions in 19th-century English poetry. In the first, most poets aligned themselves with ‘some propaganda or traditional doctrine to give companionship ...

He was the man

Robert Crawford: Ezra Pound, 30 June 2016

Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and his Work: Vol. III: The Tragic Years, 1939-72 
by A. David Moody.
Oxford, 654 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 0 19 870436 2
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... Can anyone​ read a biography of Ezra Pound without feeling unsettled? The persistent anti-Semitism; the eager support for Mussolini; the pain and waste of the incarceration, first in a US military detention centre resembling Guantánamo, then in a Washington facility for the insane; the lasting damage done to people in his family circle; the powerful egocentrism at the heart of all this: the most dire aspects of Pound’s history trouble the reader ...

Blackfell’s Scarlatti

August Kleinzahler: Basil Bunting, 21 January 1999

The Poet as Spy: The Life and Wild Times of Basil Bunting 
by Keith Alldritt.
Aurum, 221 pp., £19.95, October 1998, 1 85410 477 2
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... of the young man, Tom Pickard, and found much in the poetry that excited him. He wrote to Dorothy Pound in June 1965: ‘Well, I thought, if poetry really has the power to renew itself, I’d better write something for these younger chaps to read ... I planned a longish poem, about 750 lines, which I finished about a month ago and have just revised and sent ...

Hyacinth Boy

Mark Ford: T.S. Eliot, 21 September 2006

T.S. Eliot: The Making of an American Poet 
by James E. Miller.
Pennsylvania State, 468 pp., £29.95, August 2005, 0 271 02681 2
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The Annotated ‘Waste Land’ with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 270 pp., $35, April 2005, 0 300 09743 3
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Revisiting ‘The Waste Land’ 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 203 pp., £22.50, May 2005, 0 300 10707 2
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... book on Eliot’s sexuality ‘T.S. Eliot’s Uranian Muse’. The term occurs in a poem Pound sent Eliot, as part of a letter, shortly after he had finished editing the manuscripts of The Waste Land. ‘Sage Homme’ (a play on ‘Sage Femme’, the French term for a midwife) opens: These are the poems of Eliot By the Uranian Muse begot; A Man ...

Mr Down-by-the-Levee

Thomas Jones: Updike’s Terrorist, 7 September 2006

Terrorist 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 310 pp., £17.99, August 2006, 0 241 14351 9
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... Jersey, with his mother, Teresa Mulloy, an Irish-American painter and nurse’s aide. His father, Omar Ashmawy, came to the United States from Egypt to study business, and he and Teresa married soon after they met at the State University of New Jersey. He ‘decamped’ when Ahmad was three. New Prospect is a city in terminal post-industrial decline, a town ...

Sperm’s-Eye View

Robert Crawford, 23 February 1995

Dock Leaves 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 67 pp., £6.99, June 1994, 0 571 17175 3
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Spring Forest 
by Geoffrey Lehmann.
Faber, 171 pp., £6.99, September 1994, 0 571 17246 6
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Everything is Strange 
by Frank Kuppner.
Carcanet, 78 pp., £8.95, July 1994, 1 85754 071 9
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The Queen of Sheba 
by Kathleen Jamie.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £6.95, April 1994, 1 85224 284 1
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... matters comes from books, not parents. Often Modernist poets seem embarrassed by Mum and Dad: Ezra Pound’s father, Homer, is displaced by his son’s epic poem. Pound is his own hero, lonely and supermannish. One has to turn to his biography to realise how much MacDiarmid’s family sustained him as he wrote such superb ...

Tennyson’s Text

Danny Karlin, 12 November 1987

The Poems of Tennyson 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Longman, 662 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 582 49239 4
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Tennyson’s ‘Maud’: A Definitive Edition 
edited by Susan Shatto.
Athlone, 296 pp., £28, August 1986, 0 485 11294 9
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The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Vol.2: 1851-1870 
edited by Cecil Lang and Edgar Shannon.
Oxford, 585 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 19 812691 3
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The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 654 pp., £15.95, June 1987, 0 19 214154 6
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... substantial masterpieces’ printed in full, the others being FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Lewis Carroll’s ‘Hunting of the Snark’. (The list has attracted comment: it is clearly polemical, and reviewers who objected to ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ as lightweight were exposing the very ...

Two Giant Brothers

Amit Chaudhuri: Tagore’s Modernism, 20 April 2006

Selected Poems 
by Rabindranath Tagore, edited by Sukanta Chaudhuri.
Oxford India, 449 pp., £23.99, April 2004, 0 19 566867 7
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... garden), and probably also stimulated Edward FitzGerald’s ‘translation’ of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. (T.S. Eliot’s misgivings about FitzGerald’s poem, although he wasn’t immune to its appeal, are representative of Modernism’s distrust of ‘Orientalia’.) In the second half of the 19th century, the excitement waned, despite the work of ...

Move Your Head and the Picture Changes

Jenny Turner: Helen DeWitt, 11 September 2008

Your Name Here 
by Helen DeWitt and Ilya Gridneff.
helendewitt.com, 580 pp., £8, May 2008
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... back, back, to swim once more in the warm sea of Ulysses and the Cantos – imagine what Joyce or Pound would do with the internet! Imagine what the internet might have done to them! And yet, that bliss is accompanied by something sadder. As Ludo grows ever more daring, competent, articulate, we watch his mother seem to shrivel, exhausted and emptied, ready ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... is with friends.’ Zainab’s new next-door neighbours were two brothers from Syria, Mohammad and Omar Alhajali. They came from Daraa, near the Jordanian border, and were civil engineering students. After Daraa was besieged by the Syrian army in April 2011, the brothers fled to London, where they continued their studies. Mohammad went to the University of ...

11 September

LRB Contributors, 4 October 2001

... open in their admiration of bin Laden and the regime headed by his father-in-law, Mullah Omar, in Kabul. When they blow up bases or foreigners in the Kingdom, the security forces round up a few Pakistani or Filipino immigrants and execute them to show the US that justice has been done, but the real organisers are untouchable. Their tentacles reach ...

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