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By Ezra Pound

This crucial paintings, first released in 1934, is a concise assertion of Pound’s aesthetic idea. it's a primer for the reader who desires to preserve an energetic, serious brain and turn into more and more delicate to the sweetness and concept of the world’s most sensible literature. With attribute vigour and iconoclasm, Pound illustrates his precepts with shows meticulously selected from the classics, and the concluding “Treatise on Meter” offers an illuminating essay for somebody desiring to learn and write poetry. ABC of interpreting monitors Pound’s nice skill to open new avenues in literature for our time.

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That is partly the fault of people who complained that I gave them lists without saying why I had chosen such-and-such authors. YOU WILL NEVER KNOW either why I chose them, or why they were worth choosing, or why you approve or disapprove my choice, until you go to the TEXTS, the originals. 45 And the quicker you go to the texts the less need there will be for your listening to me or to any other long-winded critic. A man who has climbed the Matterhorn may prefer Derbyshire to Switzerland, but he won't think the Peak is the highest mountain in Europe.

The lyrics where he is learning, I believe from Italian song-books in which the WORDS were printed WITH the music. The plays, especially the series of history plays, which form the true English EPOS, as distinct from the bastard Epic, the imitation, the constructed counterfeit. It would be particularly against the grain of the whole ideogrammic method for me to make a series of general statements concerning Elizabethan katachrestical language. The way to study Shakespeare's language is to study it side by side with something different and of equal extent.

The present booklet is concerned with language. For the specific difference between Provence and Italy or the 'progress' from Arnaut Daniel to Sordello, to Caval· canti and Dante, the reader who cannot and will not read Italian, can, if he like, refer to my descriptive criticism. Without knowing Dante, Guido Cavalcanti and Villon, no one can judge the attained maxima of certain kinds of writing. Without the foregoing MINIMUM of poetry in other languages you simply will not know 'where English poetry comes'.

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