ABC of Reading

Front Cover
New Directions Publishing, 2010 - Literary Criticism - 210 pages
45 Reviews
This important work, first published in 1934, is a concise statement of Pound’saesthetic theory. It is a primer for the reader who wants to maintain an active,critical mind and become increasingly sensitive to the beauty and inspiration ofthe world’s best literature. With characteristic vigor and iconoclasm, Pound illustrates his precepts with exhibits meticulously chosen from the classics, andthe concluding “Treatise on Meter” provides an illuminating essay for anyoneaspiring to read and write poetry. ABC of Reading displays Pound’s great ability to open new avenues in literature for our time.
  

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Review: ABC of Reading

User Review  - Frankie - Goodreads

Despite the pretentious name, this is not really a reading guide per se, more of a poetry appreciation guide. Especially for the first few chapters, where he preaches what he considers to be the canon ... Read full review

Review: ABC of Reading

User Review  - J. Alfred - Goodreads

The arrogance for which Shapiro (and many others) excoriate Pound is present from the dedication: "The book is not addressed to those who have arrived at full knowledge of the subjects without knowing ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION BY MICHAEL DIRDA page
1
H A P T E R O N
23
H A PTE R F0 U
41
CHAPTER
58
Exhibits page
95
DISSOCIATE
97
Four Periods
132
Style of a Period 154
145
A Table of Dates
173
To Recapitulate
187
INDEX
207
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

With T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound was one of the two main influences on British and U.S. poetry between the two world wars. The collection of his Letters, 1907--1941 revealed the great erudition of this most controversial expatriate poet. Born in Idaho in 1885, Pound graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and went abroad to live in 1908. His first book, A Lume Spento, a small collection of poems, was published in Venice in 1908. With the publication of Personae in London in 1909, he became the leader of the imagists abroad. Pound's writings have been subject to many foreign influences. First he imitated the troubadours; then he came under the influence of the Chinese and Japanese poets. The Cantos (1925--60), his major work, to which he added for many years, is a mixture of modern colloquial language and classical quotation. The Pisan Cantos (1948), written during his imprisonment in Italy, is more autobiographical. Pound's prose, as well as his poetry, has been extremely influential. The Spirit of Romance (1910) is a revision of his studies of little-known romance writers. ABC of Reading (1934) is an exposition of his critical method. His critical writings include Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (1954), Instigations (1920), and Guide to Kulchur (1938). Pound was a linguist, whom Eliot called "the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time." His greatest translating achievements from Japanese, Chinese, Anglo-Saxon, Italian, Provencal, and French are collected in The Translations of Ezra Pound (1933). Among his other writings are Make It New: Essays; Jefferson and/or Mussolini, a discussion of American democracy and capitalism and fascism; and The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan, with Ernest Fenollosa. Living in Italy, Pound felt that some of the practices of Mussolini were in accord with the doctrines of social credit, in which he had become interested in the 1920s and 1930s. He espoused some of the general applications of fascism and also was a strong advocate of anti-Semitism. During World War II, he broadcast a pro-Fascist series of programs addressed to the Allied troops on Italian radio. Indicted for treason and brought to the United States to stand trial in 1946, he was judged mentally incompetent to prepare a defense and was committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. in what is now considered less of a reflection on his sanity than on his politics. After a concerted appeal to the federal government by American poets, led by Robert Frost, Pound was at last released in 1958 and returned to Italy. Critics have recently begun to face squarely the connections between his fascism and his poetry; facts of his life and work continue to arouse mixed feelings. 030

Michael Dirda, who won a Pulitzer Prize for distinguished criticism at the Washington Post Book World, is the author of An Open Book, Bound to Please, and Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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