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American Modernism's Expatriate SceneThe Labour of Translation$
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Daniel Katz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625260

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625260.001.0001

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

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

(p.53) Chapter 3 Ezra Pound's American Scenes: Henry James and the Labour of Translation
American Modernism's Expatriate Scene

Daniel Katz

Edinburgh University Press

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

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