Historical Context

(Epics for Students)

Pound wrote his The Cantos over a long period of time—the first canto was published in 1917 and the final installment to be...

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Literary Style

(Epics for Students)

The construction of The Cantos is extremely complex. It is an epic, so it involves a journey, but unlike the Odyssey or the Aeneid the...

(The entire section is 573 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Epics for Students)

1920s: The United States, fresh from its success in World War I, enjoys the ''Roaring Twenties,'' a period of economic expansion and...

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Topics for Further Study

(Epics for Students)

In many of the middle cantos, Pound focuses on the correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. He is also interested in the...

(The entire section is 195 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Epics for Students)

In 1958, Pound was released from St. Elizabeth's hospital in Washington, D.C. Before leaving the United States to return to Italy, Pound...

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What Do I Read Next?

(Epics for Students)

Pound's earlier and shorter poetry is collected in the volume entitled Personae. Although none of the poems in this book were written...

(The entire section is 347 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Epics for Students)

Kenner, Hugh, The Poetry of Ezra Pound, University of Nebraska Press, 1985 (reprint).


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(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Baumann, Walter. A Rose in the Steel Dust: An Examination of The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami Press, 1970. A revisionist examination of the Cantos, with a view toward the post-industrial age seen through Pound’s extreme interest in Dante and the French Provençal troubadours.

Emery, Clark. Ideas into Action: A Study of Pound’s Cantos. Coral Gables, Fla.: University of Miami Press, 1958. One of the original sources on the Cantos, written well after The Pisan Cantos but well before Pound’s release from St. Elizabeths and the official ending of the poetry sequence. Analyzes the active in relation to the passive.

Goodwin, K. L. The Influence of Ezra Pound. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Places the poet firmly in the pantheon of modern poets, largely because of his having attempted the epic poem the Cantos.

Kenner, Hugh. The Poetry of Ezra Pound. Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1951. With Donald Davie, Kenner is the foremost authority on Pound, his work, and his influence. Chapters are devoted to the Cantos, but Kenner explains how the sequence drew together common threads in all Pound’s work.

Leary, Lewis, ed. Motive and Method in The Cantos of Ezra Pound. New York: Columbia University Press, 1954. Early treatment of the epic poem. Explores both political statements, prosody, and technique in Pound’s fusion of myth and personal statement.