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


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 973 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (August 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,523,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By tepi on September 7, 2001
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Al Kihano on December 2, 1999
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben F. Olena on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Humphrey Carpenter manages the impossible, that is to bring to life a man who's very life seemingly defied description. Ezra Pound emerges from these pages as a Titan in the early years of the free verse struggle. From his birth in the Idaho Territory to his burial in Venice the struggles, triumphs and defeats of Pound are traced with a compassionate, fair and and devoted hand. It is certainly a "must read" for anyone interested in modern poetry and the man who established it as a respectable and engaging literary form.
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