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Amy Smith

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 1 month ago

T.S. Eliot -- Video Response



        I'm very interested in Ezra Pound's edits to the poem.  I wonder what parts he took out, and why he kept the parts he did.  In the movie, it mentioned that he edited the poem a great deal, and took out other facets of it, leaving a much shorter poem.  However, the poem is still pretty lengthy, so there must have been a lot of material that was not included in the publishing.  I'm also curious as to how accepting Eliot was of all this editing.  Clearly he respected Pound's ability as a writer (as seen in the dedication to him preceding the poem), but did Eliot do exactly as he was told.  Perhaps this is completely wrong and it was a collaborative effort between the two, but the movie made it seem to me that Eliot handed the poem to Pound who proceded to scratch and circle and cross-out until he was satisfied, then gave it back to Eliot who said, "Oh, okay."  Was this editing process really so one-sided as the movie portrayed?  Did Eliot give Pound full reign over the outcome of his poem?



    By Amy Smith



Abigail Andrews' Response


I had to wonder about Pound's edits as well.  Eliot obviously accepted Pound as the superior writer, as he indicates in the opening dedication "For Ezra Pound Il Miglior Fabbro."  The quote from Dante reads "The better maker" in English.  However, I cannot see any writer just handing over his labor of love and accepting all critiques without question.  Many writers might accept some suggestions and modify others so that the work remains their own.  Differences in opinion almost always exist.  Thus, I feel that Eliot must not have given Pound complete control over the outcome of "The Wasteland." It would be interesting to see if any records, such as letters, diary entries, etc., exist from that time to provide clues as to what really did happen when Pound edited Eliot's work.   


Louie Marven's Response:


I don't think it's that surprising that Eliot would let Pound cut down the poem so much. Pound was such a respected person in the modernist movement in poetry, and the video also touched on Eliot not realizing the poem was as great as it turned out. It seems like the idea that an authentic piece of poetry could result from the individual's imagination and that it wouldn't need revision is pretty Romantic, which the Modernists were trying to get away from. Eliot was bringing all of history together in one poem, already chopping off a lot of history, so it makes sense that he would welcome Pound cutting off the excess of the poem, especially given this elitist modernist sensibility that most poetry uses too many words. Plus, oftentimes in the editing process it takes another reader to reveal when something doesn't make sense or might be too heavy-handed. In fact, I think Dr. Downing wrote the same dedication to her husband in the beginning of her book, and I'm sure she didn't write a horrible draft the first time around and let him turn it into something he wanted it to be.


Laura Barnes' Response:

Pound and Eliot appear to have had a very close relationship of mutual respect, admiration, and trust, at least on an intellectual basis. I can picture them in a London coffee shop discussing literature and composition. I know that Pound edited "The Waste Land," but I wonder if Eliot is known for revising any of Pound's work? Was their relationship characterized by a mutually beneficial and contributory exchange of ideas and advice, or did Pound assume a role as a type of writing mentor for Eliot?



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