Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Stephen J. Adams


In this study John Allaster traces the evolution of Ezra Pound’s linguistic theories from the method of the Luminous Detail during 1910-12, to the theory of the Image in Imagism during 1912-13, to that of the Vortex in Vorticism during 1914-1915. By tracing the similarities and differences in Pound’s theoretical claims regarding the role of language and history in poetry, Allaster demonstrates that the roots of Pound’s Imagist and Vorticist articulations are situated in the underappreciated essay series “I Gather the Limbs of Osiris.” At the same time, Allaster also highlights the constructedness of Pound’s theoretical frameworks, as well as the elitist tendencies of those frameworks, not to undermine their importance in the history of poetics, nor to call into question the beauty of Imagist or Vorticist poetry, but rather, to call into question the language Pound uses to posit these frameworks as natural. Allaster ends the study by demonstrating Pound’s construction of a poetic Vortex in the poem “Near Perigord,” which is a poetic enactment that demonstrates both Pound’s attempt to create a poetic “renaissance” (especially in America), and also a poetic enactment of Pound’s theoretical frameworks.