McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Ezra Pound, Image, Imagism, Imagisme, Imagiste, Vortex
Although previous Imagist scholarship considers its subject from chronological, technical, and historical viewpoints, rarely does it combine two-let alone all three-of those perspectives. Undoubtedly, each of those critical lenses contributes to the overall understanding of Imagism. Yet, by not weaving the technique and theory of Imagism into a linear account of its development, those studies tend to view those aspects of Imagism as if they were discrete and stable entities. To counteract that trend, this dissertation argues that Pound's Imagist program-due to the ambiguity and developing definitions of several of its key terms-allowed the Imagist poets to produce a richly diverse form of Imagism that coexisted with, but was not necessarily contained by, Pound's evolving concept of that program and its poetic Image. Specifically, by offering a chronological critical history of the technical and theoretical components of Pound's concept of Imagism as they developed, this project highlights the transitive process wherein Pound's Imagism both resulted from and created a poetic Vortex. Moreover, a close reading of the first Imagist anthology, Des Imagistes, illustrates how Pound's super-positioned editorial arrangement of that collection allows it to function as an Imagist presentation of the varied origins, influences, and types of imagery existent within Pound's version of the Imagist movement. Ultimately, then, this dissertation concludes that, due to the complex interaction between the individual interpretations of the Image made by the poets featured in Des Imagistes and the writers and literary traditions that influenced them, the anthological structure of that collection offers the most accurate presentation of the admixture of poetic fecundity and editorial pruning that defines Imagism.
Kishbaugh, J. (2014). Pound's Progress: The Vortextual Evolution of Imagism and Its Poetic Image (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/752