Ezra Pound and the Worthlessness of War


J.L. Wall

J.L. Wall is a native Kentuckian in self-imposed exile to the Midwest, where he teaches writing to college students and over-analyzes Leonard Cohen lyrics.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I always have a bit of a guilty conscience when speaking of Pound. My great-grandparents were friends of Pound and a number of other “lost generation” writers. At one point, they were called in to testify about Pound’s voice on the notorious fascist propaganda recordings and, basically, nailed him. I can’t imagine they were happy about doing it.Report

  2. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    What about Proust?Report

    • In terms of WWI? I felt like the depiction of Paris during the war was one of the few weak parts of temps perdu, but I can let that slide since it’s, like, only the best novel ever written.Report

      • Avatar J.L. Wall in reply to Rufus F. says:

        So my suspicion that if Proust has made me care for 900 pages and counting about the social (and inner, yes) life of his narrator, I can say that he’s doing something fantastically, marvelously, wonderfully, absolutely RIGHT — even if I have no clue what exactly he’s doing that is so right?

        I’m quite glad that that the people I’ve run across who’ve read Proust don’t imply that I’m wasting my time…Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to J.L. Wall says:

          I hope this isn’t a “spoiler”, but as far as what he’s doing, all will be revealed.

          Admittedly, as you go through the books, you’ll at times think, yes, this is all very enjoyable
          and often very profound, but does Proust have any overarching point here? What is this all about? But, trust me, when you get to the last book, he absolutely does have a philosophical argument behind what he’s doing that makes perfect sense within the context of the story and the narrator and illuminates everything that came before.

          So sally forth! It’s well worth it.Report

    • Avatar J.L. Wall in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      I suppose I was mostly thinking of English-language authors — there’s also the matter of my being in the midst of reading Proust (roughly halfway through “Guermantes”) and not wanting to say much about him/Temps Perdu until I actually, you know, have a sense of what I’d be talking about. I’ll get back to you in like 6 months.Report

  3. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I know you’re sticking to English works, but I think the extraordinary success of Spengler’s Decline of the West might fit your narrative. It’s not exactly a page-turner, but it certainly resonated with the times for a lot of people.Report