New Approach to the Poetry of Ezra Pound Through the Medieval Provençal Aspect

Author: Dennis, Helen
This study investigates both the medieval Provençal troubadours particularly studied by Pound (after Dante), with reference both to their canzon and to the medieval biographies; and the nineteenth and earlier twentieth century use of these, in romantic popularizing works, in the works of serious essayists and scholars, and by poets, especially Browning.These investigations elucidate Pound's own use of Provençal materials in developing his concept of poetry as the lost art of combining words with music, the technical études of Arnaut Daniel, etc. culminating in "Langue d'Oc", and the development of his persona method. This latter development is traced from early poetic sequences, through the major Provençal personae, to "Near Perigord", "Provincia Deserta", and "Three Cantos" (1917), which discuss the problem of writing a "poem including history". Pound's transition to the ideogrammic method of The Cantos is demonstrated by a detailed reading of the first seven cantos. Finally, a discussion of The Pisan Cantos shows how Pound's early studies of Provençal techniques, and of its cult of emotions which linked it to pagan rites of renaissance, led to his recreation of the troubadour ethos of Amor as Poesis.