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This report is taken from PN Review 86, Volume 18 Number 6, July - August 1992.

Edward Thomas, Ezra Pound and the Square Club Denys J. Wilcox
During the spring of 1909 Edward Thomas was asked to review a small book of poems entitled Personae by a young American named Ezra Pound. Edward Thomas was immediately struck and excited. by the 'brusque intensity of effect' that he detected in the poetry. The first favourable review that Pound had received was to cause much controversy amongst Thomas's literary friends in The Square Club. The literary establishment did not welcome such honest enthusiasm for a complete unknown. Although Edward Thomas was a member of a number of literary groups and certainly not unpopular among his contemporaries, he remained quietly separate from mainstream thought.

Throughout Thomas's career as a reviewer he expressed grave doubts about his own ability, often feeling inadequate as a person to pass judgement on other peoples' work. In letters to his trusted friend Gordon Bottomley he often articulated this agonizing self doubt; 'I get more and more self-conscious every day - of the little good in myself and work, - of the much bad, - of the futility of reviewing, of my insolence in reviewing any book'. However when Thomas was not in the depths of despair, he often delighted in the discovery of new talent. Perhaps a rare example of the occasional delight that Thomas received from his reviewing can be found in a passage from his book entitled Beautiful Wales; 'Nothing is to be compared with the pleasure of seeing stars thus in the east, when most eyes are watching the west, except ...


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