Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dorothy McMahon, Charmaine Mosby, Frank Steele

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Examining the modes of characterization and the types of personalities evident in the first seventeen cantos of The Cantos of Ezra Pound, one can perceive that Ezra Pound felt he was composing an epic which was to revitalize for the present the best minds of the past. Pound's method of revitalization has a close affinity Co the doctrine of effluences in Longinus on the Sublime, a classical work of literary criticism. The personalities Pound employs in The Cantos fall into three broad categories: gods (deific), legends (archetypal), and men (historical). By applying Pound's neo-Platonism to their organization, one can further divide the gods into levels of spiritual ascent--Circe and the Sirens (the lowest), Persephone and the gods of the Underworld, Diana and the gods of land, Dionysus and the gods of the ocean, and Aphrodite and the gods of light. Similarly, the legendary figures can be further grouped into the archetypes of advisor, questor, midonz, and metamorph. Historical characters--the primary historical character in these early cantos being Sigismundo Malatesta--represent actualizations and "facts" which support the literary, sociological, and personal values Pound establishes through his presentation of the gods and legends.


Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America