Ezra Pound and English romanticism : a study in the concept of tradition.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The thesis sets out to examine Ezra Pound's attitudes to the English Romantic tradition from its inception to his own time, with a view to discovering whether or not he looks upon it as a healthy or decrepit tradition. His attitudes are contrasted with those of his contemporaries in a study of three pairs of writers; two Romantics, Keats and Byron; two Victorians, Tennyson and Browning; and two Moderns, Eliot and Lawrence. By charting the changes in his outlook over his lifetime, a clear split becomes noticeable between the early apprentice poet and the later mature poet-critic interested in disseminating the knowledge and insights he has collected. The considerable deviance of his opinion from the accepted attitudes of the day demonstrates the consistency and independence of his own concepts. The conclusion of the thesis is that, in finding the English tradition to be decrepit, Pound does not find the cause to lie in Romanticism. Rather, it is caused by a desertion, or ignorance, of poetic necessities similar to those emphasised by Pound. In other words, his interpretation of literary history is closely tied to, and often stems from, his own poetic requirements.