Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir Analysis

Ezra Pound

Form and Content

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska was a young French sculptor who came to London as a student in 1907. Ezra Pound, an American poet who was to become a central figure in the development of literary modernism, arrived the following year. In 1913, Pound discovered Gaudier-Brzeska’s work at an exhibition and immediately drew the young artist into his avant-garde cultural circles. Gaudier-Brzeska became an important figure in the vorticist movement that Pound launched together with the English painter and writer Wyndham Lewis. Gaudier-Brzeska was killed in June, 1915, in the trenches of France; he was twenty-three. Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir, composed soon after, is Pound’s testimony to the young sculptor’s accomplishment and potential greatness and an account of an important part of the London art and literary scene that World War I effectively ended.

Pound clearly wanted to honor his fallen friend with the memoir. The work also provides a platform for pushing some of Pound’s favorite concerns and projects. Along with an account of Gaudier-Brzeska’s career and their personal friendship, Pound also discusses vorticism—the most important English contribution to the modern revolution in the arts—for which Pound was the leading spokesman and Lewis and Gaudier-Brzeska the central artists. Overall, Gaudier-Brzeska provides a helpful view of Pound’s perception of the London art and literary scene during one of its most interesting and important...

(The entire section is 427 words.)


(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Cole, Roger. Burning to Speak: The Life and Art of Henri Gaudier Brzeska, 1978.

Ede, H.S. Savage Messiah: Gaudier-Brzeska, 1931.

Nolde, John J. “Some Observations on Gaudier-Brzeska’s Bronze Drum,” in Paideuma. XV (Spring, 1986), pp. 43-46.

Perloff, Marjorie. “The Portrait of the Artist as Collage-Text: Pound’s Gaudier-Brzeska and the ‘Italic’ Texts of John Cage,” in The American Poetry Review. XI (May/June, 1982), pp. 19-29.

Wees, William C. Vorticism and the English Avant-Garde, 1972.