Ezra Pound

Comments & Themes

Ezra Pound. Study Questions. You can reflect and/or write a paper on the following topics:

  • Analyze Pound's creative translations, transformation and re-adaptations of literatures of the past. (Chinese literature, Latin literature, the troubadours, Dante, Villon...)

  • History as lived experience. In what way are Pound's historic or legendary figures fused in the consciousness of a 20thc audience.

  • Analyze Pound's ideogrammic method in his Cantos.

  • Many of Pound's poems set up a parallelism or contrast between the present and the past.

  • The Poet as cultural hero, exile and "seafarer"

  • How does Pound "make it new"???

  • Bertran de Born



  • Aesthetic and social critique.

  • Eye imagery in Mauberley

  • The Homeric quest in the modern age

  • Mauberley's aesthetic and personal failure



  • Cultural memory and visionary imagination in the Cantos

  • Myth and history

  • Usura

  • The Chinese impact


Canto I:

  • Trace the motif of the descent to the dead.

  • How many time epochs does the Canto encompass?


Canto IV

  • How many citadels are there in the Canto? What do they stand for?

  • What kind of "boundaries" are set up or transgressed in C IV ?

  • Is there any meaning in the array of towers and strongholds?

  • Which are the pools referred to here and what do they have in common?

  • Pound refers to a series of women. Who are they? What is their role?

  • Can you list some destructive and creative forces or aspects of C IV?

  • What is the function of the metamorphoses ? How many can you recall? Is there any unifying underlying element in all these love stories?

  • What relates Actaeon to Vidal ? Itys to Cabestanh ? Actaeon to Gyges ? Polhonac to Gyges ? Deioces to Cadmus ? Deioces to Danae's father Acrisius ?

  • What link is there between Danae's story and So-Gyoku's? Danae and P?re Henri Jacques ?

  • What can you say about the light effect in C IV ?

  • Explain "And we sit here... / there in the arena ..."