A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound

Humphrey Carpenter, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $40 (1005p) ISBN 978-0-395-41678-5
Here in massive, and for the average reader perhaps excessive, detail is a comprehensive biography of a man variously regarded , often by the same critic, as crackpot, ass and major poet with an incomparable ear for language. Carpenter, biographer also of Tolkien and Auden, does a superb job of bringing us what might be called the whole Pound: his generosity and blindness, his failures and achievements as poet and critic, his often strained friendships with the likes of Eliot, Hemingway and William Carlos Williams, his early impact on literary London. Also examined are the poet's pro-Fascist and virulently anti-Semitic World War II broadcasts from Italy, which earned him confinement in a Washington mental institution, and the final, sad Italian years. Carpenter's approach is fair, his prose cool, crisp and lively, and his narrative laced with shrewd comment on Pound's work, in particular the Cantos, which Pound finally deemed a ``botch''a judgment that most readers of this book will probably not share. Photos. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 1068 pages - 978-0-571-26909-9
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