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This review is taken from PN Review 1, Volume 4 Number 1, October - December 1977.

POUND REVISITED Donald Davie, Pound, Fontana, 60p.

For those who have over the years followed the twists and turns of Professor Davie's relationship with Pound, not the least of the pleasures of this, the latest episode, and one of the better contributions to the Fontana Modern Masters series, will be to see what further shifts in position Professor Davie has made. On the question of Pound's fascism, for instance, a question which few commentators have felt able to ignore, Professor Davie has reached a sounder, if less spectacular, verdict, than when he first looked at the problem in Purity of Diction in English Verse (1952). At that time Professor Davie was in the process of re-establishing the importance of syntax for English poetry, and made the ingenious suggestion that Pound's dislocation of syntax had a direct bearing on his political thinking:


By hunting his own sort of definiteness (truth only in the particular) he is led to put his trust not in human institutions but in individuals. Similarly he pins his faith on individual words, grunts, broken phrases, half-uttered exclamations (as we find them in the Cantos), on speech atomized, all syllogistic and syntactical forms broken down. Hence his own esteem of the definite lands him at last in yawning vagueness, the 'intuitive' welcome to Mussolini ... It would be too much to say that this is the logical end of abandoning prose syntax. But at least the development from imagism in poetry to fascism in politics is clear and unbroken.
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