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A LETTER BY EZRA POUND Ezra Pound photo courtesy of Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin .%*? V iL·. ~\ \ us. A In 1915 Ezra Pound was surveying the field of literary journals after the New York lawyer John Quinn offered to help him finance a magazine. The following letter from Pound to Quinn shows how shrewdly Pound assessed the contemporary scene. Pound and Quinn wanted a journal that would be a uniquely comprehensive review of arts and letters. But there were no public grants for journals in those days, and Quinn could not find a sufficient number of financial backers for such an ambitious project. Pound decided to join an existing journal rather than found a new one. In April 1917 he became the foreign editor of The Little Review and brought to the magazine Quinn's financial support. Many of the early works of T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, and William Carlos Williams appeared in The Little Review through Pound's efforts, as well as important works by Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford), Sherwood Anderson, and W. B. Yeats. His greatest editorial achievement, the serial publication of James Joyce's Ulysses (1918-21), also caused the magazine its greatest troubles. The U.S. Post Office's obscenity charges against The Little Review for publishing Ulysses embroiled Quinn in a court case that soured him on the magazine. The Pound-Quinn phase of The Little Review ended in 1921, and it appeared only irregularly from that time until its last issue in May 1929. The letter opens with Pound's complaints about the London publisher John Lane, who had published the short-lived Vorticist journal BLAST and who eventually published Pound's memoir of the sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. At that time, Quinn was also arranging for a New York show of Vorticist art. Notes on the journals and people mentioned in the letter appear at the end. 118 ¦ The Missouri Review fe ff*-K &*\\'"~? *?*?^'"-' Note for example the sort of stuff one could get In an A¡¡erlco"Engllah " fterçure " , You could get James Joyces novels , plays , essays , ( presumably the public would want D.H.Lawrence' ß novels also .) You could get any contemporary french work , in french , and In engllsh ( parallel pages ) , or In translation e*&i) as the publishers and editors should find advisable . All xeats work . All fenoilosa's unique revelation of China and Japan . ( Stuff that I have hitherto had to ecatter about In " "Jhe Quarterly " ( among the dead ) , In ¦ Poetry » , In " Drama " ( In both of which It fitted , but which can not -possibly give their renders any of It which does not fall within their own highly specialized scope . ) AS TO POETRY , I think the little Chicago magazine can probably hold rll the really good poetry now written In English , and am content with Its size on that score , but It can NOT publish any adequate account of International work . NO ONE MAN can be expected to find all the Interesting books even In one language , or weed out the rubbish, or be able to tell what Is derivative . The "liercure" Is probably the only magazine In the world which Is not sunk In provincialism . BLAST IS a HIGHLY DIVERTING but highly specialized magazine , It might suffice for the presentation of Wyndham ^ev.ls ^ curious genius , but It can not and never Intended to jj., become a general source of Information . e'* . ?^?^? JMV**c It can not r>rlnt scholarly work , no matter how interesting . Nearly all schol/arly work at present , save the FRIICE , le dull , BECAUSE It Is printed solely In technical reviews , where dullness , stupidity , and the professorial attitude are at a premium and where a clear Intelligent style would be abhored and mistrusted. Consider the great books , andthe fine books of the world , and then try to thinkof ANY existing magazine that vould hav« printed ( a } any of them , fb ) more than one or two , chiefly onaccount of their faults. When !-'orne weeks ago , ? had the chance , or the hope of getting a weekly paper to carry out a small part of my plans , I wort* to ?..?ßa? de Gourmont , offering him terms that , had they not been concerned with " doing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 117-135
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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