Monday, June 3, 2013

Pound and the Publication of 'Prufrock'.

From letters from Pound to Harriet Monroe

London, 30th September 1914
I was  jolly well right about Eliot. He has sent in the best poem I yet had or seen from an American. PRAY GOD IT BE NOT A SINGLE AND UNIQUE SUCESS. He has taken it back to get ready for the press and you have it in a few days.

London October

Dear H.M.: Here is the Eliot Poem. The most interesting contribution I've had from an American.
P.S Hope you'll get it in soon.

London, 9 November
Dear H.M.: Your letter, the long one to hand is the most dreary and discouraging document that I have been called upon to read for a very long time.
Your objection to Eliot is the climax.
London, 9 November

Dear H.M.: No, most emphatically I will not ask Eliot to write down to any audience whatsoever. I dare say my instinct was sound enough when I volunteered to quit the magazine quietly about a year ago. Neither will I send you Eliot's address in order that he may be insulted.

Coleman's Hatch, 31 January 1915

....Now, as to Eliot: 'Mr Prufrock" does not "go off at the end". It is a portrait of failure, or a character which fails, and it would be a false art to make it end on a note of triumph. I dislike the paragraph about Hamlet, but it is an early and cherished bit and T.E won't give it up, and as it is the only portion of the poem that most readers will like at first reading, I don't see that it will do much harm.
    For the rest; a portrait satire on futility can't end by turning that quintessence of futility, Mr.P into a reformed character breathing out fire and ozone.
    I will let the unfortunate Ficke pass without a complaint if you get on with "Mr Prufrock" in a quiet and orderly manner. I assure you it is better "more unique" than any other poem of Eliot [sic] which I have seen. Also that he is quite intelligent (an adjective which is seldom in my mouth.)

London 10 April
...Do get on with that Eliot


LT said...

This is wonderful stuff. Thanks for posting.

Liam Guilar said...

you're welcome