Who would you say is the audience for the poem "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly"? 

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his essay "Actual Reader and Authorial Reader," Peter Rabinowitz identifies two primary audiences: first, the actual audience, people like yourself who wind up reading the work under whatever circumstances, for pleasure or assignment. Secondly, there is the authorial audience, the one that the author thinks will read his work. (Falling into Theory, 258.)

In Mauberly, Pound meant the poem to be read by a select and well-educated group of people friendly to those of Modernism and especially to ex-patriots, Americans who were living in Europe. The poem is complex and not for the faint of heart. Pound uses Greek, Latin French, and Italian throughout the poem. There are numerous literary allusions, sometimes combining both past and present as in the line, "His true Penelope was Flaubert," referencing both the Odyssey and the French author of the late 1880s, Gustav Flaubert (8). There are historical allusions as well, as in the lines, "All men, in law, are equals. / Free of Pisistratus," (an Athenian tyrant; 53).

There are remarks made about the layout of London. Those in-the-know would benefit from a mental picture of "Fleet St., / Where Dr. Johnson flourished," (214-15). Fleet Street was the locale of many respectable but boring people, like those with whom Mauberly associates.

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Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

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