Through a reconsideration of Ezra Pound’s early poem "Cantico del Sole" (1918), an apparently satiric look at American culture in the early twentieth century, this essay argues how the poem, in fact, expresses some of the tenets of Pound’s more radical hopes for American culture, both in his unorthodox critiques of the 1930s in ABC of Reading, Jefferson and/or Mussolini, and Guide to Kulchur and, more significantly, in his epic poem, The Cantos. The essay contends that, despite Pound’s controversial economic and political views in his prose (positions which contributed to his arrest for treason in 1945), he is characteristically optimistic about the potential for American culture. Behind his flamboyant style, his self-destructive allegiance to Mussolini, and his complex poetics, Pound anticipated and even initiated the multicultural imperative that by the end of the century emerged as an essential component of American literature.
Belgrade English Language and Literature Studies
Gery, John “‘The Thought of What America’: Ezra Pound’s Strange Optimism,” Belgrade English Language and Literature Studies, Vol. II (2010): 187-206.