Ezra Pound and the ideogrammic method
This work addresses the question of Pound's poetics, proceeding upon the conviction that the term "ideogrammic method", so often slighted by commentators, is to be taken seriously, and that an understanding of its nature and implications provides a sound framework for one's understanding of Pound's mature poetic practice. Part One begins by tracing the evolution of Imagism/Worticism, locating in Pound's theory and practice at that time his first adumbration of the poetic morphology which I maintain is central to the Cantos. The first four Cantos are then examined and their pattern of theophanies related to the merphology. The Malatesta Cantos are identified as the first expression of the ideogrammic method, the latter being defined as an extention into the "epic" dimension of Imagist/Vorticist principles. Part Two retreats somewhat from the detail of the Cantos to deal more speculatively with the ideogrammic method and its related ideas. In particular, through the figures of Francis Bacon, Emerson, Fenollosa and Pound himself the method is set in relation to the Adamic conception of language. Part Three begins by further enlarging the terms of the ideogrammic method to incorporate Pound's notion of the forma, and relating both method and notion to the poetic morphology. This complex of ideas is then shown in action in Cantos XXXIX and XLVII. The rhythms of the Leopoldine Cantos are examined, and a more generalizing discussion of rhythms in the Cantos as a whole follows; This is then related to the question of form in the poem. The work concludes with a detailed examination of the Pisan Cantos and Canto XC. The ideogrammic method is not a body of settled doctrine, but I believe it to be the generative locus of Pound's mature poetics. It as as such that I would recommend the concept for fresh attention.