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Ezra Pound, Italy, and The Cantos

Massimo Bacigalupo

Ezra Pound’s residence in Italy spanned six decades (1920s to 1970s), during which he composed most of his ambitious epic, The Cantos. He largely employed Italian materials: landscapes, artworks, politics, history, people. Bacigalupo approaches Pound’s poetry through its principal physical and cultural background, proposing a new and rewarding reading of The Cantos as an account of things seen and noted with a poet’s eye for the striking detail and telling phrase. We visit alongside Pound his favorite cities and landscapes (Rome, Venice, Rapallo) and encounter some of his foremost Italian peers, associates, and translators. Bacigalupo offers readings of important and neglected writings by Pound and shows how he created an autobiographical myth out of his multifarious experience. We get to see the poet at work and are provided with new essential keys to a nuanced understanding of Pound’s lively, tantalizing, and contradictory poetic world. This is the first time that so much material concerning a central aspect of Pound’s life and writing has been gathered in one volume.

Bacigalupo offers many perspectives on Pound and his relation to Italy and is especially helpful in prompting questions about the relation of real to imagined places.
—Peter Nicholls, Studies in Travel Writing

Ezra Pound, Italy, and The Cantos unveils an intimate portrait of both poet and poem. Massimo Bacigalupo’s study is conversational in tone, yet nevertheless scholarly and astute.
—Patrick Dunagan, Rain Taxi Review

a useful Baedeker to Pound’s universe”
—Luca Gallesi, Studi Cattolici 

Bacigalupo “is an informative but not obtrusive guide; not only in his exploration of the significance of Italian locations (especially Rapallo, where, as he notes, many of the cantos were actually written), but also in his comments on Pound’s less-than-perfect grasp of Italian as reader, translator and practitioner. He brings to bear a knowledge that few other of Pound’s critics can equal.”
Tony Sharpe, The Review of English Studies

“Bacigalupo’s study is, overall, a sensitive, erudite, and very approachable collection of essays that assumes a fair degree of knowledge about Pound’s life and work, but does not require it.”
Michael Kindellan, The Wallace Stevens Journal

About the Author

Massimo Bacigalupo is an experimental filmmaker, scholar, translator, essayist, and literary critic. He is a Professor of American Literature at the University of Genoa, a position he has held since 1990.

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Pages: 256 pages

Published: March 2020


ISBN: 9781949979008

ISBN: 9781949979015




Ezra Pound Center for Literature