Pound, Thayer, Watson, and the Dial: A Story in Letters

Walter Sutton, Editor
Walter Sutton, Editor University Press of Florida $59.95 (383p) ISBN 978-0-8130-1316-9
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 01/01/1995
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In 1918, Scofield Thayer and Sibley Watson, two wealthy young men, bought the Dial, formerly a Chicago critical journal, and transformed it into a magazine of literature and the arts based in New York City. They hired Ezra Pound, then living in Europe, as their international acquisitions agent. Sutton, a professor of English at Syracuse Univ., has edited here previously unpublished letters, discovered in a trunk in Worcester, Mass., in 1987, between the three men and provided his own introductory essays. Although Pound obtained contributions from many European writers, including Yeats, Proust and Eliot, Thayer, who was suffering from mental illness, fired him in 1923. Documented in the correspondence is Pound's exasperation with Thayer's literary conservatism and his more cooperative relationship with Watson, who shared Pound's commitment to modernism. The letters also make clear that most of the magazine's foreign contributions were secured by Pound. The Dial ceased publication in 1929. Of primary interest to devotees of serious literature. Illustrations. (Dec.)
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