Chapter

Ezra Pound's American Scenes: Henry James and the Labour of Translation

Daniel Katz

in American Modernism's Expatriate Scene

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625260
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652006 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625260.003.0003
Ezra Pound's American Scenes: Henry James and the Labour of Translation

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This chapter stresses the significance of the precedent of Henry James for Ezra Pound's own insufficiently studied attempts at auto-ethnography, and for his sense of American cultural identity. Examining how James's The American Scene provides a model for Pound's ‘Patria Mia’, it concentrates on Pound's qualification of James's importance as lying above all in what he dubs a ‘labour of translation’ in his crucial essay devoted to the author. Pound's 1918 article ‘Henry James’, a long homage to and running commentary on the author, who had died two years previously, is well known. ‘Patria Mia’ echoes The American Scene in various ways – notably, both texts place a good deal of emphasis on New York City and its architecture, burgeoning immigration and the American fascination with business. Already in 1918, Pound saw James's fate as encapsulating the destiny he so actively courted.

Keywords: Ezra Pound; Henry James; American Scene; American cultural identity; Patria Mia; labour of translation

Chapter.  7576 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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