Ezra Pound


Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot on Modernism On Ezra Pound?s quote on modernism, he claims that "the modern age wants a literature that reflects an image of itself: "accelerated" and mass produced ("a mould in plaster/Made with no loss of time) as well as superficial." This means that today?s society wants a literature that resembles itself, fast paced and shallow. Society want literature that is direct and straightforward simply because people find it too "time consuming" to think for themselves. They would rather resort to the "work" already being done for them. Instead of experiencing the true beauty of literature and the arts, they would rather use "Cliffs? Notes ("the classics in paraphrase")." As a result of various "time savers," the people of the modern age are left without the feelings that only reading the literature itself would provide. The people are hollow, dehumanized, and utterly superficial. Society lacks creativity and originality. The people are left numbed in the sea of clones. They fail to give acknowledgement or praise to those who do dare to be different and unique. Instead, they are cast out from society for being different. Ezra Pound states that, "Introspection ("the obscure reveries/of the inward gaze") in this age is unthinkable." This means that the people are afraid to examine their own thoughts and feeling because they are afraid of what they will see. T.S. Eliot?s works, "Preludes," "The Hollow Men," and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" substantiate Ezra Pound?s statement. "Preludes," by T.S. Eliot, is a literary work depicting city life. Although it was written some time ago, it contains a universal theme and is applicable even in today?s world. Eliot expresses the lonely, isolationist environment of the city. The people of the city seem dull, dreary, fatigued, and lifeless. The city dwellers repeat their daily mechanical routines; there is no change or break in the cycle. They come home tired and worn out from a day?s work, sleep, wake up, head towards coffee stands for a jolt of energy, and off they are to work again. Eliot expresses that people put on false fronts so that people do not feel the hostility or alienation that is present. They have a need to conform, "With the other masquerades/That time resumes." The people live sordid lives, filled with corruption, and distorted morals. The mention of the prostitute in stanza three, shows that lack of love in the city. In addition, it illustrates the filth and corruption of the city. There is no depth of passion in anything. The city dwellers are treated as one in this poem. This shows that there is a lack of originality. This is emphasized by Eliot?s use of synecdoche, such as: "With all its muddy feet that press/To early coffee-stands" and "One thinks of all the hands/That are raising dingy shades." Everyone is the same; they are all clones of each other. There is no depth or feeling in this society. Everything is mechanical or physical, there are no connections established between the people. Just as Ezra Pound claims that "Introspection ("the obscure reveries/of the inward gaze") in this age is unthinkable," there is a loss of identity and the depletion of moral values in the city. As a result of the world?s harshness, innocent children are forced to suffer as Eliot expresses, "The notion of some infinitely gentle/Infinitely suffering thing." The monotonous tone contributes to the dreary, lifelessness of Eliot?s city. The city dwellers are perpetually empty. They are truly the living dead because their life consists of the same daily mechanical actions. In "The Hollow Men," Eliot expresses that "We are the hollow men." He conveys the emptiness of people due to their lack of souls in today?s world. The hollow men are superficial and have no depth. When the hollow men say, "We whisper together/Are quiet and meaningless," it shows how they are afraid to show how they feel. Like the city dwellers of "Preludes," the hollow men do not make connections with other people because they fear people will be troubled at what they really are. The hollow men are afraid to reveal their true being; this is parallel to "Preludes." Eliot states that, "Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat?s coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer--." This means that the hollow men wear