The Macksey Journal


T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound significantly influenced modernist poetry through publishing their respective poetic works as well as editing and promoting the work of fellow modernists and inspiring developments in 20th century Anglophone literary criticism like New Criticism. However, despite both poets’ prominence in Anglo-American modernist poetry, their shared interest in situating their works in literary tradition, and with special emphasis on the classical tradition, through erudite allusion distinguishes their understanding of “modernism” from that of other Anglo-American modernists like William Carlos Williams and Virginia Woolf. This article approaches Eliot’s and Pound’s participation in Anglo-American literary modernist movement and their reception of literary tradition in different ways. The first section compares the non-literary prose of some Anglo-American modernist poets and writers alongside Eliot’s and Pound’s own prose to show exactly where other Anglo-American modernists disagree with and diverge from those particular aesthetic principles shared by Eliot and Pound. The second section attempts to provide an explanation for why Eliot and Pound have such a desire to fit themselves into literary tradition, suggesting that understanding both poets as believing in a structuralism about meaning accounts best for why reception and reproduction are fundamental features of their respective work.