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Themes

Well, this entire poem of "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" is pretty much dedicated to talking about the state of art and culture in the modern world. And Pound's verdict isn't a very flattering one. The modern world, he argues, is full of artists who have no clue what true beauty is because they're completely ignorant to the history of art. For Pound, it was the ancient Greeks who truly knew what beauty was. But nobody studies the Greeks anymore, so we have no way of figuring out what beauty is.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. What does Pound mean when he compares modern civilization to "an old bitch gone in the teeth" (88)? What parts of the poem give you your ideas? 
  2. According to the poem, what are some of the reasons why the modern world has lost its connection to true beauty? What are the main problems with modern art?
  3. Throughout this poem, Pound searches for something that can restore beauty to modern art and culture. What are some of the things that might achieve this, according to the poem?
  4. In your opinion, is Pound right about modern art and culture losing its connection with the history of art? How so? How not so?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

In "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley," Ezra Pound shows us that there's no hope at all for modern art to create something beautiful. We haz a sad.

Chill out, gang. In "Mauberley," Pound argues that everything will be all right if modernist writers look back to the art of the ancient past for inspiration

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