Archive for June, 2009
The difference between you and her
(whom I to you did once prefer)
Is clear enough to settle:
She like a diamond shone, but you
Shine like an early drop of dew
Poised on a red rose petal.
The dew-drop carries in its eye
Mountain and forest, sea and sky,
With every change of weather;
Contrariwise, a diamond splits
The prospect into idle bits
That none can piece together.
- Yale College Lecture on Ezra Pound audio, video and full transcripts from Open Yale Courses
- Articles and analysis of Pound’s works at Literary Encyclopedia
- Pound’s Grave
- Pound at Modern American Poetry
- Pound at EPC
- Fenollosa, Pound and the Chinese Character
- Works by Ezra Pound at Project Gutenberg
- Ezra Pound: His Metric and Poetry at Project Gutenberg , by T. S. Eliot
- The Music of Ezra Pound
- A Pound biography at Kobe University
- Marjorie Perloff’s essay on ‘The Pisan Cantos’ and Pound’s translations
- Ezra Pound Speaking — the text of his radio speeches; the text of “An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States“, “Jefferson and/or Mussolini“, “America, Roosevelt and the causes of the present war“
- The Economics of Human Energy in Brooks Adams, Ezra Pound and Robert Theobald
- Pound’s Collected Poetry Recordings, University of Pennsylvania, read by Pound
- Recording of sections from Hugh Selwyn Mauberley and others, read by Pound (RealAudio).
- EarthStation1: Ezra Pound WWII Propaganda Broadcast Audio
- Ego scriptor cantilenae: The Music of Ezra Pound, excerpts from the two operas plus three works for solo violin, selected from performances all over the world.
- “The Four Steps” talk, in which Pound outlines his antipathy towards all forms of bureaucracy – BBC Home Service June 21, 1958 (RealAudio).
I recently read Greene’s The Power And The Glory; it’s a fine book, one of Graham’s best. Written in 1940, it is a timeless book (e.g. not specifically of 1940) about a whiskey priest on the run in Mexico—trying to escape from the authorities who want him dead and from his own past. The writing is tight and controlled; there is not a dead patch in the book. Of course, being Greene, it’s a very Catholic book; besides the pleasures of good writing, you also get Guilt, Original Sin, the Eucharist, and a boatload of alcohol. In other words, it’s Greene-land. The character of the priest is rather fuzzy and ambiguous, but by the end the reader has a very good idea of him.
I then read two mediocre books about priests (Giovanni Guareschi, G. K. Chesterton) and a horrible Willa Cather effort (Alexander’s Bridge). Then back to the well; The Ministry Of Fear was Graham Greene’s 1943 followup to TPATG. It is a vastly different work. It works best as an efficient spy thriller; an innocent man is framed for murder and goes on the run. All kinds of things happen to him. This kind of work was very much in vogue in the Thirties and Forties; Eric Ambler, John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock made careers out of this sort of thing.
What holds The Ministry Of Fear back are a few patches of dead writing, or filler. The plotting is fantastic. Careful readers will get thrills as Graham plots his double and triple crosses; I was nodding my head approvingly about halfway through. A name on one page becomes a NAME on another page. The dialogue too is well-done. Best of all are several set pieces: unexpected but furthering the plot. As opposed to under-writing the lead, we get too much information. The religio as before is kept to a minimum. The character of London is clear; bomb blasts, funerals, streets in rubble. The plot hums along; it is what Greene called an entertainment.
TMOF is very much of its time, with bomb blasts, London in rubble, and the unnamed enemy casting a pall over everything. The Romance is forced: ”It is not being happy together that would test the couple; it was being unhappy together.” These apothegms dot every Greene book.
It is not Graham Greene’s best book, but worthy. Greene at half boil was better than anybody else except Evelyn Waugh.