The Cantos Historical Context

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Pound wrote his The Cantos over a long period of time—the first canto was published in 1917 and the final installment to be published during Pound's lifetime appeared in 1968. Needless to say, these years were turbulent; they constitute the majority of the last century. But Pound's poem is especially steeped in history: his own description of the poem as he formulated it was "a poem containing history." History, therefore, both formed the raw material for the poem and impinged upon its construction and creation.

When Pound first thought of writing his "tale of the tribe," he was living in London and had gained a great deal of fame as a literary impresario and provocateur. From the time that he arrived in London —1909—he had set himself the task of wresting art and literature from the nineteenth century into the twentieth. To achieve this end, he did everything: he...

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This section contains 853 words
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Epics for Students
The Cantos from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.