Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 May 2006
Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era characterizes Ezra Pound as the driving force, the dynamo, the vortex which propelled, revitalized, energized the era of high modernism which began sometime around the beginning of the twentieth century and which survived World War II before becoming part of literary history. There are many different and differing accounts of modernism, and Peter Nicholls's Modernisms (1995) makes this clear in its very title, but one could argue that high literary modernism of the sort Pound promulgated and claimed to invent, neglected or misunderstood the significance of gender, and indeed relied on doing so. If this is the case, one could also argue that Pound's texts articulate a strenuous and at times exaggerated masculinity, and concomitantly, enunciate a range of profoundly traditional versions of the feminine. This may seem odd, given that women feature so prominently in Pound's personal and professional life and as subjects in his writing. This essay investigates Pound's relationship with some of the significant women in his life and analyzes those moments in his poetry which inscribe the archetypal feminine while recalling individual women.