Ezra Pound was awarded the Bollingen Prize for "The Pisan Cantos" Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot had a relationship that extended even past. W.B. Yeats and Robert Frost both accepted editorial advice from him. A champion of T.S. Eliot, he convinced Harriet Monroe, the editor of. Description. This is a selection from a pamphlet which illustrates the relationship between the poets T S Eliot and Ezra Pound. The frontispiece is a drawing of.
Auburn Street known as the "Gold Coast. And he began a romantic attachment to Emily Hale, a refined Bostonian who once played Mrs. Elton opposite his Mr. Woodhouse in an amateur production of Emma. Among his teachers, Eliot was drawn to the forceful moralizing of Irving Babbitt and the stylish skepticism of George Santayana, both of whom reinforced his distaste for the reform-minded, progressive university shaped by Eliot's cousin, Charles William Eliot.
His attitudes, however, did not prevent him from taking advantage of the elective system that President Eliot had introduced. As a freshman, his courses were so eclectic that he soon wound up on academic probation. He recovered and persisted, attaining a B. In December a book Eliot found in the Harvard Union library changed his life: Arthur Symons's The Symbolist Movement in Literature introduced him to the poetry of Jules Laforgue, and Laforgue's combination of ironic elegance and psychological nuance gave his juvenile literary efforts a voice.
By his poetic vocation had been confirmed: On the Advocate, Eliot started a lifelong friendship with Conrad Aiken. In May a suspected case of scarlet fever almost prevented Eliot's graduation. By fall, though, he was well enough to undertake a postgraduate year in Paris. He lived at bis rue St.
On The Composition of "The Waste Land"
Jacques, close to the Sorbonne, and struck up a warm friendship with a fellow lodger, Jean Verdenal, a medical student who later died in the battle of the Dardenelles and to whom Eliot dedicated "The Love Song of J. Eliot attended Bergson's lectures at the College de France and was temporarily converted to Bergson's philosophical interest in the progressive evolution of consciousness. In a manner characteristic of a lifetime of conflicting attitudes, though, Eliot also gravitated toward the politically conservative indeed monarchisticneoclassical, and Catholic writing of Charles Maurras.
Warring opposites, these enthusiasms worked together to foster a professional interest in philosophy and propelled Eliot back to a doctoral program at Harvard the next year. In and Eliot copied into a leather notebook the poems that would establish his reputation: Their effect was both unique and compelling, and their assurance staggered his contemporaries who were privileged to read them in manuscript. Aiken, for example, marveled at "how sharp and complete and sui generis the whole thing was, from the outset.
The wholeness is there, from the very beginning. A student in what has been called the golden age of Harvard philosophy, he worked amid a group that included Santayana, William James, the visiting Bertrand Russell, and Josiah Royce. Under Royce's direction, Eliot wrote a dissertation on Bergson's neoidealist critic F.
Bradley and produced a searching philosophical critique of the psychology of consciousness. He also deepened his reading in anthropology and religion, and took almost as many courses in Sanskrit and Hindu thought as he did in philosophy. Bywhen he left on a traveling fellowship to Europe, he had persuaded a number of Harvard's philosophers to regard him as a potential colleague. Eliot spent the early summer of at a seminar in Marburg, Germany, with plans to study in the fall at Merton College, Oxford, with Harold Joachim, Bradley's colleague and successor.
The impending war quickened his departure. In August he was in London with Aiken and by September Aiken had shown Eliot's manuscript poems to Pound, who, not easily impressed, was won over.
Pound called on Eliot in late September and wrote to Harriet Monroe at Poetry magazine that Eliot had "actually trained himself and modernized himself on his own. Eliot was drawn instantly to Vivien's exceptional frankness and charmed by her family's Hampstead polish.
Abandoning his habitual tentativeness with women, in June he married Vivien on impulse at the Hampstead Registry Office. His parents were shocked, and then, when they learned of Vivien's history of emotional and physical problems, profoundly disturbed. The marriage nearly caused a family break, but it also indelibly marked the beginning of Eliot's English life.
Vivien refused to cross the Atlantic in wartime, and Eliot took his place in literary London. They were to have no children. Eliot and his wife at first turned to Bertrand Russell, who shared with them both his London flat and his considerable social resources.
Russell and Vivien, however, became briefly involved, and the arrangement soured. Meanwhile Eliot tried desperately to support himself by teaching school, supplemented by a heavy load of reviewing and extension lecturing. To placate his worried parents, he labored on with his Ph.
As yet one more stimulating but taxing activity, he became assistant editor of the avant-garde magazine the Egoist. Then in spring he found steady employment; his knowledge of languages qualified him for a job in the foreign section of Lloyds Bank, where he evaluated a broad range of continental documents. The job gave him the security he needed to turn back to poetry, and in he received an enormous boost from the publication of his first book, Prufrock and Other Observations, printed by the Egoist with the silent financial support of Ezra and Dorothy Pound.
For a struggling young American, Eliot had acquired extraordinary access to the British intellectual set. With Russell's help he was invited to country-house weekends where visitors ranged from political figures like Herbert Henry Asquith to a constellation of Bloomsbury writers, artists, and philosophers.
At the same time Pound facilitated his entry into the international avant-garde, where Eliot mixed with a group including the aging Irish poet William Butler Yeats, the English painter and novelist Wyndham Lewis, and the Italian Futurist writer Tamaso Marinetti. More accomplished than Pound in the manners of the drawing room, Eliot gained a reputation in the world of belles-lettres as an observer who could shrewdly judge both accepted and experimental art from a platform of apparently enormous learning.
It did not hurt that he calculated his interventions carefully, publishing only what was of first quality and creating around himself an aura of mystery. In he collected a second slim volume of verse, Poems, and a volume of criticism, The Sacred Wood. Both displayed a winning combination of erudition and jazzy bravura, and both built upon the understated discipline of a decade of philosophical seriousness. Eliot was meanwhile proofreading the Egoist's serial publication of Joyce's Ulysses, and, with Pound's urging, starting to think of himself as part of an experimental movement in modern art and literature.
Yet the years of Eliot's literary maturation were accompanied by increasing family worries. Eliot's father died in Januaryproducing a paroxysm of guilt in the son who had hoped he would have time to heal the bad feelings caused by his marriage and emigration.
At the same time Vivien's emotional and physical health deteriorated, and the financial and emotional strain of her condition took its toll.
T.S. Eliot's Life and Career
After an extended visit in the summer of from his mother and sister Marion, Eliot suffered a nervous collapse and, on his physician's advice, took a three month's rest cure, first on the coast at Margate and then at a sanitarium Russell's friend Lady Ottoline Morell recommended at Lausanne, Switzerland.
Whether because of the breakdown or the long needed rest it imposed, Eliot broke through a severe writer's block and completed a long poem he had been working on since Assembled out of dramatic vignettes based on Eliot's London life, The Waste Land's extraordinary intensity stems from a sudden fusing of diverse materials into a rhythmic whole of great skill and daring. A poem suffused with Eliot's horror of life, it was taken over by the postwar generation as a rallying cry for its sense of disillusionment.
Pound, who helped pare and sharpen the poem when Eliot stopped in Paris on his way to and from Lausanne, praised it with a godparent's fervor. As important, Eliot's old friend Thayer, by then publisher of the Dial, decided even before he had seen the finished poem to make it the centerpiece of the magazine's attempt to establish American letters in the vanguard of modern culture.
To secure The Waste Land for the Dial, Thayer arranged in to award Eliot the magazine's annual prize of two thousand dollars and to trumpet The Waste Land's importance with an essay commissioned from the Dial's already influential Edmund Wilson. It did not hurt that also saw the long-heralded publication of Ulysses, or that in Eliot linked himself and Joyce with Einstein in the public mind in an essay entitled "Ulysses, Order and Myth.
The masterstroke of Eliot's career was to parlay the success of The Waste Land by means of an equally ambitious effort of a more traditional literary kind.
The first number of the Criterion appeared in October Like The Waste Land, it took the whole of European culture in its sights. The Criterion's editorial voice placed Eliot at the center of London writing. Eliot, however, was too consumed by domestic anxiety to appreciate his success. In Vivien nearly died, and Eliot, in despair, came close to a second breakdown. The next two years were almost as bad, until a lucky chance allowed him to escape from the demands of his job at the bank.
Geoffrey Faber, of the new publishing firm of Faber and Gwyer later Faber and Fabersaw the advantages of Eliot's dual expertise in business and letters and recruited him as literary editor. At about the same time, Eliot reached out for religious support. Having long found his family's Unitarianism unsatisfying, he turned to the Anglican church.
The seeds of his future faith can be found in The Hollow Men, though the poem was read as a sequel to The Waste Land's philosophical despair when it appeared in Poems In June few followers were prepared for Eliot's baptism into the Church of England.
And so, within five years of his avant-garde success, Eliot provoked a second storm. The furor grew in November when Eliot took British citizenship, and again in when he collected a group of politically conservative essays under the title of For Lancelot Andrewes, prefacing them with a declaration that he considered himself a "classicist in literature, royalist in politics, and anglo-catholic in religion. In the late s he published a series of shorter poems in Faber's Ariel series--short pieces issued in pamphlet form within striking modern covers.
Steeped in Eliot's contemporary study of Dante and the late Shakespeare, all of them meditate on spiritual growth and anticipate the longer and more celebrated Ash-Wednesday But what did it mean, what does it mean, to feel the five-part structure of The Waste Land working within so different a poem?
To answer this question it may help to review the process by which The Waste Land gained its peculiar structure, emerging from the hands of Ezra Pound, as Eliot says, reduced to half manuscript length. First of all, without Pound's editorial intervention, we would not have the short lyric, 'Phlebas the Phoenician', appearing by itself as part IV of The Waste Land, and thus, presumably, we would not have the short lyrics constituting the fourth sections of all the Four Quartets -- the short movement that helps to create analogies with Beethoven's late quartets.
Indeed we might not have the Phlebas lyric at all, without Pound's advice, for Eliot, upset by Pound's slashing away at the eighty-two lines preceding this lyric in the manuscript, wrote to Pound, 'Perhaps better omit Phlebas also???
Eliot seemed not to understand the central principle of the poem's operation. There are possibilities for verse which bear some analogy to the development of a theme by different groups of instruments ['different voices', we might say]; there are possibilities of transitions in a poem comparable to the different movements of a symphony or a quartet; there are possibilities of contrapuntal arrangement of subject-matter.
So, in The Waste Land, after the embers of lust have smouldered in 'The Fire Sermon' -- 'Burning burning burning burning'-- the death of Phlebas by water provides a moment of serenity, quiet, poise, as Phlebas enters the whirlpool in whispers to a death not to be feared, but foreseen and accepted.
The lyric acts as the lines about the still point act in the two poems of 'Coriolan', where, first, amid the turmoil of the crowd at the parade, the people think they find their answer in the military leader: And the fourth part, the short lyric, in all the Four Quartets, performs a similar function of poise and knotting, as the poem finds a temporary rest where themes and images and voices merge for a moment.
One voice of great importance speaks at the close of the Phlebas lyric, which is not simply a translation from Eliot's poem in French, Dans le Restaurant, for the closing lines are quite different. The French poem ends in an offhand, conversational tone: In The Waste Land Eliot has changed the tone from conversational to prophetic by evoking the voice of St Paul addressing 'both Jew and Gentile' in his epistle to the Romans ch.
A similar concentration upon the emergence of the prophetic voice is created by the removal of the monologue that opens The Waste Land manuscript, the monologue of the rowdy Irishman telling of a night on the town in Boston. This was excised by Eliot himself, perhaps under Pound's influence, perhaps because Eliot himself saw that the rowdy vitality of those singing, drinking men who stage a footrace in the dawn's early light does not accord with the voice that follows, the voice of one who is so reluctant to live that April becomes the cruelest month.
That excision brings us quickly to the voice of a modern Ezekiel, speaking the famous lines: What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish?
Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images. Then these lines of true prophecy play their contrapuntal music against the voice of the false prophet, Madame Sosostris. But I need to explain what I mean by the prophetic voice. With William Blake, we should discard the notion that the prophet's main function is to foretell the future. If, like Blake, we think of the biblical prophets, we will recall at once that they spend a great deal of time in denouncing the evils of the present, evils that derive from the people's worship of false gods and the pursuit of wealth and worldly pleasures.
Prophecies of the future appear, but these are often prophecies of the disasters that will fall upon the people if they do not mend their evil ways. Denunciation of present evil is the primary message of the Hebrew prophet: But then he also offers the consolation of future good, if the people return to worship of the truth.
Thus the voice of the prophet tends to oscillate between denunciation and consolation: From "Origins of Form in Four Quartets. University of Michigan Press, Wayne Koestenbaum Eliot admitted that he "placed before [Pound] in Paris the manuscript of a scrawling, chaotic poem"; in his hesitation to claim those discontinuities as signs of power, he resembles Prufrock—unerect, indecisive, unable to come to the point. Pound treats the manuscript of The Waste Land as if it were an effeminate Prufrock he wishes to rouse: In the "obstetric" letter, Pound wrote to Eliot.
Beginning the poem with a cry of emasculated terror would not help keep Eliot erect. However, in this letter to Eliot, Pound criticizes another portion of the poem by echoing the very language of horror he disliked in the epigraph.
Did Pound object to these lines because "hyacinth" signified homosexuality, and because Eliot—impersonating a hyacinth girl—was indulging in French tendencies? Pound tersely indicts these lines as mere "photography": Why do you never speak. Is there nothing in your head? Pound faulted these passages for their photographic style—cheaply realistic, insufficiently wrought by artistic muscle—and for their subject: Lil may refuse to have children, but the "nothing" husband was guilty of a truly hysterical reluctance—the refusal to speak.
The portrait of a lady that Pound most wholeheartedly blotted out was a swathe of Pope-like couplets concerning Fresca. In the typescript, Pound dismissed the whole passage with the comment, "rhyme drags it out to diffuseness" 39but only crossed out the four lines which portrayed her as poet: From such chaotic misch-masch potpourri What are we to expect but poetry?
When restless nights distract her brain from sleep She may as well write poetry, as count sheep. Pound particularly objected to syntactic inversion—which suggests, in turn, sexual inversion. The word "inversion" mattered to Pound. He wrote, in a letter to Eliot, "I should leave it as it is, and NOT invert," and commented in the manuscript, "Inversions not warranted by any real exigence of metre" And we shall play a game of chess: The ivory men make company between us Pressing lidless eyes and waiting for a knock upon the door.
Modernism defined itself in opposition to that "" of literary and sexual ennui. Between two men, passivity and activity have sexual valences that the poem bodies forth in its thematics of violation, and the hysterical discontinuities, aphasias, and amnesias that follow from the repressed moment of surrender.
Eliot could "connect nothing with nothing"; it remained for Pound to redefine disjunction, to convert female hysteria, through male collaboration, back into a powerful discourse.
Though Pound himself penetrates the poem by editing it, Eliot owed him the illusion of unbroken textual hymen, and the accompanying sense of power. By giving his text to Pound, Eliot set up the paradigm for the relationship that readers and critics have established with The Waste Land: The footnotes embody the implied male reader they invite him to enter and understand the poem. They demonstrate that the poem has absences which an external body must fill.
Eliot used hysterical discourse to invoke the corrective affections of another man. Together, they performed an ambiguous act they engaged in a symbolic scene of homosexual intercourse while freeing themselves from imputations of inverted style. Bywhen The Waste Land emerged, its double authorship concealed, male collaboration had already earned a reputation for perversity. The erotics of male literary collaboration. Koestenbaum contends that the poem was "feminine" in its original form but transformed radically by Pound s assertive masculinity.
We might indeed he tempted to see in this productive coediting of a great poem the shift away from a bisexuality that left open many potentialities to masculine values mistakenly identified with the essence of high modernism. Such an etymological fundamentalism is strange in a critic who wishes to reread modernism from the point of view of gay discourse. This well-known piece of male bantering had been expurgated in D. From the suppressed lines in which Pound speaks of his own masturbatory activity, Koestenbaum finds an argument for his having actually "fathered" the poem.
In fact, Pound merely laments his own impotence, or the fact that his masturbatory writing has prevented him from producing really modern creations, such as Ulysses or the Waste Land: Balls and balls and balls again Can not touch his fellow men. His foaming and abundant cream Has coated his world. The coat of a dream; Or say that the upjut of sperm Has rendered his sense pachyderm.
Pound has not deleted the "femininity" of the poem: It is true that Pound drastically modified the draft given to him. He reduced it by half, deleted the long opening describing a night out in Boston "He Do the Police in Different Voices"suppressed the hesitations, the autobiographical tone, and some of the pastiches of classical genres, and hence changed the polyphonic texture or tessitura of the poem.
Pound also tried to eliminate all the reminiscences of "Prufrock," as Koestenbaum aptly notes: Strangely enough, what annoys Pound also annoys Koestenbaum, who would prefer to see Eliot "come out," as it were, rather than hide in ambiguities and ambivalences.
Yet it us precisely these hesitations as later Finnegans Wake will be written in a systematically undecidable language that make up the irreducible force of its modernist poetry. In a way, this would lead us to admit that high modernism, too, is "softer" than we thought and also closer to Verlaine than to Rimbaud. This fantasy cannot be reduced to the clear-cut opposites suggested by Koestenbaum: First he was sure that he had been a tree Twisting its branches among each other And tangling its roots among each other Then he knew that he had been a fish With slippery white belly held tight in his own fingers Writhing in his own clutch, his ancient beauty Caught fast in the pink tips of his new beauty.
Then he had been a young girl Caught in the woods by a drunken old man Knowing at the end the taste of her own whiteness The horror of her own smoothness, And he felt drunken and old.
This shows a different Eliot, closer to Flaubert when he could identify utterly with Emma Bovary and the setting of her love scenes. The joint attempt by Pound and Eliot to provide a justification for the "modern movement" by publishing at last a modernist masterpiece derives from the very high claims they had made for themselves.
All this looks a little like a wholesale takeover bid, a tender offer on European culture, seen as a whole from two conflicting and half-imaginary opposites: In a letter to his British friend, Mary Hutchinson, Eliot makes a revealing admission, just as he announces his essay on "Tradition" as forthcoming. He concludes a discussion of the different meanings of "culture" and "civilization" on a more personal note: I shall try to be frank—because the attempt is so very much worthwhile with you — it is very difficult with me —both by inheritance and because of my suspicious and cowardly disposition.
But I may simply prove to be a savage. The metic, both inside and outside, is thus defined from within the polis, which also accounts for the thematic centrality of the city as metropolis in the Waste Land: The ending of the Waste Land finally releases all the voices that had been kept more or less separate and creates a bewildering vortex of hysterical polyphony.
However, this similarity should not blind us to a crucial divergence—which shall oblige me to examine a last "uncoupling. All ages are contemporaneous," as the preface to the Spirit of Romance momentously statesthen they would not translate the Greek concept of polis in exactly the same way. Though both are indeed metics in the British Empire, they opt for different strategies of assimilation and adaptation.
Pound always sees the polis in its original Greek meaning, as a religious and political context determined by local polytheism and the domination of a few brilliant minds. Eliot, on the other hand, follows the conclusions of his investigation into European roots and therefore revives linguistic energies dormant in Virgil, Augustine, and Dante.
The literary relationship of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound after "The Waste Land"
As Emile Benveniste has shown, polis cannot be translated into civitas without some distortion. In the Greek mind, polis is a concept that predetermines the definition of the citizen as polites. One is a citizen because one partakes of the abstract concept of the polis, a linguistic radical divided between sameness and otherness, belonging and rejection.
In the Latin mentality, the adjective civis comes first, the radical is anterior to the derivation of civitas meaning "city" in the sense of a group of people living together, and not Urbs, reserved for Rome, the "capital". In the Latin model, actual people as citizens help derive the concept: According to Eliot, the introduction of the new parliamentary democracy triggered all its attendant negative side effects: Thus, Pound is ready to acclaim the "Tovarishes" of the Soviet Revolution in his first cantos, while Eliot condemns the uprising as chaotic, atheistic and "drunken" through a German quotation taken from Hesse in the notes to the Waste Land.
Eliot, who knew better, and maybe knew too much, chose the opposite strategy, becoming more British than the British after and his conversion to Anglo-Catholicism and devising a new and quite personal game of hide-and-seek with high culture. The "monsters" Eliot was led to suppress indeed concerned sexuality as well as politics, as Koestenbaum suggests, but his attitude led to dissimilar enabling or disabling strategies if we compare him with Pound who, at least, never really tried to hide his peculiar monsters.