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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 24 Jan 2003 10:51:43 -0000
"A. David Moody" <[log in to unmask]>
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"A. David Moody" <[log in to unmask]>
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Garrick Davis wrote:

> Pound wrote: "Major form is not a non-literary component. But it can do us
no harm to stop for an hour or so and consider the number of very important
works of world literature in which form, major form, is remarkable for [its]
> from: ABC of Reading (if I recall correctly....)

Without a fuller context it is impossible to get the bearing of that remark.

I don't find it in ABC of R -- I may have missed it.  I do find in the
chapter headed "DISSOCIATE" remarks on major form in the novel, leading up
to this: "and in all of them [Donne, Cavalcanti, Ford, James et al] the
underlying concept of FORM, the structure of the whole work, including its

I reflect without rancour that hazily incorrect recall wastes everybody's
time and mind.
> Also: Writing to his father in 1927, two years after A Draft of XVI Cantos
was published, Pound admitted:
> Afraid the whole damn poem is rather obscure, especially in fragments.
Have I ever given you outline of main scheme...or whatever it is?
>     1. Rather like, or unlike subject and response and  counter subject in
>     A.A. Live man goes down into world of Dead
>     C.B. The “repeat in history”
> B.C. The “magic moment” or moment of metamorphosis burst thru quotidien
into “divine or permanent world.” (Selected Letters, 210)

One might have read that as indicating a concern for form.
> I must disagree with Mr. Moody concerning the presence of "major form" in
The Cantos--Allen Tate's early and late essays on the poem being rather
instructive in that regard. Also, I highly recommend R. P Blackmur's essay
on the subject, contained in Form & Value in Modern Poetry.

I too have read messrs Tate and Blackmur with respect and profit;
neverthless it is possible to use one's own mind, all these years on, and
even to see what was not yet apparent to them.  But I repeat:  our not being
able to see something doesn't prove it is not there.  The accurate statement
is "I don't see it" -- the false claim is "It isn't there".  I have found it
more interesting, and more rewarding, to look harder.

If you are sufficiently motivated you might look up a couple of indicative
sketches:  "Composition in the Adams Cantos" in <Ezra Pound and America> ed.
Jacqueline Kaye (Macmillan, 1992); and the article on "The Pisan Cantos" in
<A Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry> ed. Neil Roberts (Blackwell,
2001).  Further brief indications in the Garland Encyclopaedia of EP (in
preparation), in my articles on the China and John Adams blocks of cantos.

David Moody