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The Great War and the Language of Modernism$
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Vincent Sherry

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178180.001.0001

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Pound's Savage Ratios

Pound's Savage Ratios

(p.86) 2 Pound's Savage Ratios
The Great War and the Language of Modernism

Vincent Sherry (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter follows the development of Ezra Pound's modernist poetry as it responds to the culture of Great War Britain. As an American in London, Pound is alert to the postures of the partisan press of Liberal England, and as a former colonial, he animates powerfully to the self-contradictory language of the former imperial power. His response to the verbal culture of war-time journalism informs the multi-part review he serialized through 1917 in the New Age, “Studies in Contemporary Mentality”. The “seeming reason” he locates as the tone of the political times is answered in his own poetry with a style of mock logic or sham rationality that is new to his developing opus. This tone is heard as the major development in his creative translation, Homage to Sextus Propertius, in his fictional autobiographical sequence, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), and in the initial installments of his emergent life-work, The Cantos.

Keywords:   Ezra Pound, Liberal England, imperial power, former colonial, modernist poetry, mock logic, creative translation, Studies in Contemporary Mentality, Homage to Sextus Propertius, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

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