Illustration of a hand holding a conifer cone, leaves, and a twig

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

by Ezra Pound

Start Free Trial

Whose point of view is stressed in Part 1 of Ezra Pound's poem "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first part of this long poem is introduced in French: "Ode pour l'election de son sepulchre," which means something like "ode for the choice of his sepulchre," where a sepulchre is a tomb. The idea, then, is that this is the sort of summary of someone's life which might be given in an obituary or otherwise in celebration of his life after his death. The "E.P." in the title of the poem is assumed to refer to Ezra Pound himself. So, the "he" in this part of the poem, the subject of it, is Ezra Pound or E.P. This doesn't quite answer the question you have asked, though, which is whose point of view we hear in this section. The speaker, isolated from the content of the text, gives an overview of E.P's life; it is almost as if we see Ezra Pound the poet writing a biography, in limited third person perspective, of the E.P. in the poem. He is looking at himself from outside of himself, as if he were a character in the narrative, much like the other characters who appear later in this long poem.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I can see where this would confuse you. One of the most difficult aspects of this poem is the point of view, since Pound creates two alter egos in the poem. E. P. is the first alter ego. We learn this from the fact that the first poem is called “E.P." E.P. is the first "he" of the poem, a young poet who moved to Europe from his own country. The second ego is Mauberley, a man refining his aesthetic tastes. His views are given in the second half. The point of the view in the first half is E.P.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team