Ezra Pound - ABC of Reading

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    HE CAN

    ELECED CAN

    CLLECED HRER PEMCLLECED EARLY PEM

    Edited Michae Jhn KingELECED PEM 1908-59

    HE RANLAN F EZRA PUND

    Induced Hugh KennePHCLE'ELERA

    vesin Eza PundLERARY EAY F EZRA PUND

    Edited S. EitELECED PRE 190965

    Edited Wiiam CknELEC ED LEER F EZRA PUND 90741

    Edited D D Paige

    A B C of Reading

    byZRA OUND

    fbfbLONDON BOSTON

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    Fst pubshed n 1934by George Rouedge Lmted

    New edon pubshed n 1951by Faber and Faber Lmted

    3 Queen Square London WClN 3AU

    paperback edon rst pubsed n 1961Ressue 1991

    Pnted n Great Bn by Cox & Wyman Ltd, Readng Berkshre

    rgh reseed

    Copyrgt the Ezr Pound Lte Propey T 1934 1951

    ok so suea t the ntion tht it sh not, w oftoothee b t, ro hired out

    othee crted without the publh' pr nst in n ofbinding or oth thn tht in whh it is

    publh nd wthout simir ton inung thtn ng ios on the suut pus

    ACIP rcord for ths bk is aviabe from the Brish braISBN 0 57 05892 2

    Contents

    ABC

    OW TO STUDY lOTRY

    WARNING

    1CHAPTR ON

    Laboratory ConditionsIdeogrammic Method

    CHAPTR TWO

    What is Literature?hat i the Ue of Laguage?

    CHAPTR THR

    CHAPTR FOUR

    PtB 9

    11

    13

    17

    23

    26

    28

    28

    29

    32

    36Compass, Sextant, or Lanmark 41

    CHAPTR FIV 50

    CHAPTR SIX 58

    CHAPTR SVN 62

    CHAPTR IHT 63

    Test nd Composition Exerie 6Second Set 66Further Tests 68

    Bis71

    Liberty 77Exercie 77XIXth Century 78Study 79Perception 81The Insuctor 83Taste 86

    DISSOCIAT

    DICT= CONDSA 92

    7

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    bitFo PioxStyle of a Pod Table of Dat

    Otr DatTo RcpitulatWt

    TB.TIS OK T

    8

    J 9532353

    892

    9AB

    Or gus ssum, fr thos whmght k t . h bk ntadrss to tos wh hv rrv t fnowlg of th subjct wtout knwingte fact

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    H Sudy Py

    THE present book is intended to meet the need for fuller

    and simpler explanation of the method outlined in How toRed. Ho o Rd may be considered as a controverspamphlet summarizing the moe actie or spiky parts of

    te autor's ealier citial skmising, and taking count

    of an enemy. Te pesent pages should be ipersona

    enoug to sere as a text-book The author hopes to

    follow te tadition of Gaston Pais and S. Reinah tat isto produce a text-oo tat can also be read for pleasu

    as well as po y tose no longer in school; by those whohae not been to shool or by those who in their college

    days suered those tigs wih most of my own enera

    tion suered

    A private word to teachers and professors will be found

    toward the end of the volume. I am not idly sowing torns

    in teir path. I sould like to make even their lot and ife

    more exhilaating and to save een them from necessa

    boredom in class-room

    1

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    Warning

    1T longish dull stetch shortly fte the gn

    f th ook. Th studnt wi hv to endu it I m tt plc trying by l mns to void mbiguity, in

    p of sving th studnt's time lter

    Glo d solemnity e enely out of plce in v mst igoous study of n t orginaly intnded to ld th hert of mn

    Gvity, mystius crig of tbody t concl th defects of the mnd

    LAURENCE STRN

    3 T hsh tetmnt e ccorded nume ftoio wits is not imlss, ut proceeds om : covictin tht the ony wy to keep th est writng c, o t mk t st poety popu', ytic seprtion f th st o gret mss of witintt s n long considd f vlu, tht hs vightd cicul, nd tt to b lmd fo t veco cnt id t ood k must ofcssity dull on

    c csic us it cfoms t ct1l uls, r ts r denitons (of whic it

    3

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    autho ha qte poaly nee ead) It s classc e

    ause o a cetan etenal and epessle eshss

    Italan state examne jolte y my eton o

    Caalcant, expessed admaton at the almost ulta

    oenty o Gudos language

    gnant men o genus ae contntly dsoeng

    laws o at wc t acadmcs a slad o dden

    he autos concton on ts day o Ne Ye s tat

    usc gs to atophy wen t epats too a om th

    ance that poety egns to atopy en t gets too a

    om mus ut ts must not e taen as mplyn that

    algoo musc s dance musc o all poety lyc Bach and

    Moat a nee too a om physcal oeent

    unc est endum

    Nunc pede leo

    Pulsana tells

    14

    EIN E

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    Chapter One

    We live an age of science and of abudance caand reverence for hooks as suc, proper to an age wen ook as duplicated unil someone took te pains to copyit out b and, obiousl no longer suied to 'e nof society or to te conservaton of leing Te weedeis supremel needed te Grden of e Muse to perias a garden

    T proper METHOD for uding poer and gooletters e eod of contemporar biologist, tat isarel rst-and examintion of te matter and continuCOMPARION of one 'slide or spcime wit anoter

    No man equipped for modern g untl e aunderstood te anecdote of Agassiz and te s:

    A post-graduate sudent equipped it onours and dilomas went o Agassiz o receive te nal and isintouces Te great man oered a small s nd tol

    to describe itPos-Graduae Student: 'Tats onl a sunsAgassiz: 'I know tat Write a description of itAer a fe minues te suden reurned wit t de

    iption of te cus eliodiplodokus, or watev t sed t conceal te common suns om vlg knledge, family of eicterinkus etc, as fod ttooks of te sbject

    17

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    here was goo deal o care for termnology and thegeneral exacttude n the ue of bstract term may hveeen (probaby was} hgher.

    I mean a mediaeval theologian took care not to dee adog in terms that ould have applied just a well to a dogstooth or its hde, or the noise it makes when lappng water;

    ut all your eachersw tel you that science developedmore rpidly afte acon had suggested the drect eamnation of phenomena and after ileo and others hadtopped dscussing things o much and had begun really toook at them and to nvt means (lke the telescope) ofseeing them better

    he most useful livng member of the Huxley mlyhas emphasized the fact that the telescope wasn't merelyan idea, but that it was very dentely a techncal acievement.

    By contrst to the method of abstractio or of denngthngs n more and stll more general terms Fenollosaemphasies the method of science, whch is the method ofpoetry ' as dstinct om that of phlosophc dscussiond is the way the hnese go about it in ther ideograph

    or abbrevated picture wing.

    o go back to the begnng of story you robayko that there is spoken language and witten languageand tht there are two nds of writte language onesed o sound ad the other on sight

    You sak to an amal wth a few sle oise ad20

    e Levy-Bruh ccou o rive a Aic rcord auae that e still ond u imc ad ete

    e Etian ally used reiated ice orereet onds but the Chiese til e areied icre A ictures that i to say Chiee ideora doe o

    t to e the pictur of a od or o e a rite iecalin a sound but it is til the icture o a thig; o thin i a ive ositio or reato or of a comiatio ots It man the tng or he action or situao orqait erae o te severa ins that it ic

    Gaudier Breska who wa accustoed to oo at here ae o thgs cold read a certai mot oChiesewtwitout ANY STUDY. e aid O coeyou can seeits horse (or a wig or hatever)

    I abes showing prmitive Chinese character n oecon and the preset coventioalied is i aotheryoe can see o the ideoram or n or ee or nrisedeveoped or wa ipied om or a reduced o teeetia o the t icte o t or urie

    Tu

    A*e

    a

    tree

    n

    sun tangled n the tree raches asat unrise eaning o he Et

    Bu he the Cam aed o e ict e 21

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    something more complcad, or of a general idea, how did

    h go abou i?

    He is to dne red. How can h do it in pict that

    is't paned n red pan?

    He pus (or his ancestor put) togthr th a bbreviatd

    pictrs of

    ROSE CHERRY

    IRON RUST FLAMINGO

    Tha, you se, is very much he kind of hing a bioloist

    does (in a very much mor compicaed way) when he gets

    togeher a few hunded or housand slides, and picks out

    what is cessay for his genera saemen. Somethng

    that ts the case, that appies in a of the cases.

    h Chinese ord or ideogram for red is basd o

    something everyone KNOWS.

    If ideogram had devoped in Engand, th writrs

    would possiby have subsituted the fro side of a robi,

    or something ess exoic han a amingo.)

    Feoosa was tling how ad why a anguage writ i

    ths way simpy HAD TO SAY POETIC; simpy coudt

    p bng and staying poetic in wa tha coum o

    Es t might v w ot sta poetic.

    H d bfo getting od to puishing and pro

    c a mtod'.

    22

    Ths is nvertheess the RIGHT WAY o tudy poet,

    or iterature, or paintin. It is in fact he way the mor

    inteignt mmbrs of the general public DO stud

    painting. If you want o nd out somhinaout painting

    ou go to the Nationa Galery, or the Salon Carr, or th

    Brera, or the Pado, and LOOK at th pictures.

    For every reader of book on a, 1,000 peope go toOOK at the paintngs. Thank haven!

    LABORAORY CONDITIONS

    SERIES of concideces has prmitted me (1933) to

    demostra the How to Read thesis in a medium