It seems appropriate that Ezra Loomis Pound should have been born on the frontier (in Hailey, Idaho, in 1885) and then moved to Philadelphia at the age of two, to be reared in the suburb of Wyncote until his education at the University of Pennsylvania Hamilton College (Ph.B. 1905, and M.A. 1906). Pound, though always presenting himself as the ultimate American, kept moving east, in search of culture, in a voyage that would lead him to England, then to France, finally to Italy, and in spirit all the way to China.
After his education in romance languages and philology—what today would be called comparative literature—he took a teaching position at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Given his scholarly bent, he might easily have become a teacher and a scholar, but a scandal involving Pound’s offering a night’s hospitality to a destitute woman ended his career at Wabash and, as it was to turn out, his academic career as well.
He left for Venice in 1908, published his first book of poems there, A Lume Spento, and then went to London, where he was to spend the next twelve years remaking literature. Tiring of London after World War I, he moved to Paris in 1921; in 1924 he moved again, to the lovely Italian seaside town of Rapallo. In his twenty years of residence there, he became increasingly enamored of the policies of Italy’s fascist ruler, Benito Mussolini. When war broke out between Italy and the United States in 1941,...
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