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A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound Paperback – August 1, 1990

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Here in massive, perhaps excessive, detail is a comprehensive biography of a man variously regarded as crackpot, ass and major poet with an incomparable ear for language. "Carpenter's approach is fair, his prose cool, crisp and lively, and his narrative laced with shrewd comment on Pound's work," wrote PW. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 973 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385299966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385299961
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,629,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A SERIOUS CHARACTER : The Life of Ezra Pound. By Humphrey Carpenter. 1005 pages. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1988. ISBN 0-395-41678-7.
No matter what one may think of Ezra Pound as a writer - whether he was a genius or a buffoon or a mixture of both - there can be no doubt that he was one of the most colorful and dynamic characters of the era, and that he led a rich and fascinating life well worthy of an intelligent biography. Pound's poetry, for obvious reasons (some of it being superb while much of it is just plain bad), has always had both admirers and detractors, with the former always taking great care to distance themselves from his 'anti-semitism' and economic theories while the latter seem to have seen little else, but Carpenter has amazingly succeeded in treading, with great diplomacy, the line between these two camps. While doing full justice to Pound's humanity and genius, he has at the same time made no attempt to slur over Pound's seriously flawed character, his disturbed sexuality, and the many occasions throughout his writings when his genius just failed to deliver the goods. He has in short given us, not a partisan's Pound, but an extremely fair-minded and balanced portrait of the whole man, though it's clear that Carpenter's patience with some of Pound's more outrageous eccentricities was sorely tested at times.
Besides being balanced, comprehensive, well-researched, well-documented, and extremely well-written, Carpenter's biography is also at times very funny. Pound's idiosyncracies could be quite amusing and they
are treated by Carpenter with great wit; one often finds oneself chuckling at the scrapes Pound seemed constantly to be getting into during the course of his hectic career.
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Format: Hardcover
The bad-boy of the Paris avant-garde gets his definitive treatment in this fat biography by Humphrey Carpenter. Carpenter provides a literate and extremely detailed account of every period of Pound's long life, from his Idaho beginnings to his POW cage in Pisa to his shadowy senility in Venice. It's too bad this book is out of print, because I think it provides one of the best and most well-written portraits of Pound and the numerous friends and colleagues who derived benefit from his editing and patronage. Carpenter also provides balanced but critical discussion of Pound's unfortunate political leanings and their relation to his art. With some very good photos.
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Format: Paperback
I have never been particularly interested in Ezra Pound's poetry. The several times I encountered it left me unimpressed. So I am at a loss to recall how I became interested in reading his biography. Perhaps it was so well written that I persevered in reading it, but that would suggest that the book was a chore to read, which is not true. Pound was a fascinating character and Humphrey Carpenter does him justice in this 1005 page book, 914 pages of which are text---the rest being notes, supplementary material and index. Read it. You won't regret that you did.
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By A Customer on December 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
An excellently sculpted biography that provides great insight into the life of one of America's most influential writers. Carpenter does a superb job at using Pound's life to help illuminate his works. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming more aquainted with Ezra Pound, his influence and his work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a highly readable and, on the whole, sympathetic biography of Ezra Pound. Humphrey Carpenter avoids ideological ax-grinding and instead allows Ezra, the flawed genius, to emerge on the pages. As for those pages, there are about a thousand of them, which was honestly more than I wanted to read, the fascinating subject matter notwithstanding.
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