Letter from Ezra Pound to Thomas Hardy, 17 January 1915

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Hotel Terminus

St. Raphael, Cote d' Azure


Thomas Hardy OM

My Dear Thomas Hardy:

Of course your last [let] note does not, did not require an answer — any more than my rather bold envoi of books needed acknowledgement — only it is so exceedingly difficult to get any criticism whatever ^ from anyone whose reaction one respects^ – there is the malice engendered – by stupidity – to the hurried hack work of poor devils who have had to write reviews — that if you have by any chance looked at the wretched brochures again and found any specific merit or demerit, it would be [Page 2] [Page 3] no inconsiderable kindness to send [me] word. — not a politeness –

The Propertius is confused. – Mauberley is [thin] – but one tries to comfort oneself with the argument that the qualities are inherent in the subject matter. – –

It is perhaps very " [non] ^un-^ English" to regard literature as a "mystery", a druidic druidic guild, in which one receives at least a few orders & a few prohibitions from the generation generation of elders.

I recognise the fact that the stuff in question may have the supreme fault of being 'merely uninteresting' — in which case no criticism is possible – & there is no remedy but the ^slender^ chance of doing better next time.

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I don't know that I have any other excuse to offer for writing this note. I was very much surprised by your first letter ^that you had heard of me at all^ — as indicated in your first reply to my importunities on behalf of the Dial.

I don't think mere praise is any good — I know where I can get it, & just what wrong reasons will lead one or two eminent contemporaries to like or tolerate certain passages. –

Forgive me if I blurt out this demand for more frankness than anything, save perhaps a lifelong friendship, can engender between two individuals.

sincerely yours

Ezra Pound
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And also concede that I know how much right you have to your quiet – and how little one ought to break in upon it – and in the end don't [answs] answer this if the whole subject bores you unspeakably.


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