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Title: Modernism and state power in the pre-war poetry and prose of Ezra Pound, 1911-1914
Author: Hull, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 8172
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2015
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Pound scholars have tended to assume that questions of state power, and of the relationship between the state and the individual, only become central to his work during the inter-war period. The present thesis, however, argues that these questions are a major concern in Pound's writing during the years immediately preceding the First World War, and that questions of state power significantly colour Pound's imagist and vorticist work. Chapter one reads Pound's translation of the Anglo-Saxon Seafarer as a contribution to the radical Edwardian debate about the expansion of the state's bureaucratic power and the threat it might pose to individual autonomy. I also consider the way Pound's translation links state power to the division of labour. Chapter two reassesses Pound's instigation of the imagist movement, against the backdrop of his concurrent fascination with the First Balkan War, an episode all but ignored in previous Pound scholarship. I argue that Pound interpreted the Balkan states as undertaking on the battlefield the very same modernizing struggle that he saw himself as embarking upon in the field of letters. Chapter three argues that as Pound's pursuit of the ‘new' intensifies, his identity as an American—as, in his words, ‘a citizen of a free State, a member of the sovereign people'—takes on a dual significance. Poetically, America's perceived national youthfulness and virility become important tropes for novelty and modernity in his poetry. Politically, though, Pound casts the unfolding national, political and nascent imperial project of the United States as a metonym for modernity itself, scoffing at the Italian Futurist's ‘automobilism' as essentially provincial, and proposing instead his own ‘American Risorgimento'. Methodologically, this thesis strives to combine close readings of Pound's poetry and prose, seen within its original publication context (that is, largely in little magazines), with careful reference to the broader historical context. Please note: For the purpose of online publication, all copyrighted material reproduced in the examination copy of this thesis (except that considered ‘fair use') has been removed. The redacted material is collected in a supplementary volume.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PS3531.O82 Pound ; Ezra