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Themes

Huey Mauberley might be thirty years old, but "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" is still about a guy trying to come to terms with the modern world and the types of art it's willing to acknowledge. You can get a pretty clear sense that this poem is about an artistic awakening from its first lines, when it recounts that its main character was "out of key with his time" for three years. Right away, you see Huey as a social outsider. And the rest of the poem is basically dedicated to seeing how a guy obsessed with finding beauty either adapts or fails to adapt to the modern world.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. In your opinion, does Huey learn anything in this poem? If so, what does he learn? If not, what lesson does he fail to learn? What parts of the poem tell you this? 
  2. How exactly is Huey "out of key" with his time? How are his beliefs different from those of the world around him? What quotes support your idea? 
  3. What are the biggest obstacles/temptations that prevent Huey from realizing his dream? How many come from outside forces? How many come from inside Huey himself? What parts of the poem lead you to an answer?

Chew on This

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

Grown-ups? In "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley," Pound argues that it's almost impossible for a modern artist to mature over time, since there are so many things in the world trying to keep him or her immature.

"Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" is a totally autobiographical poem about why Ezra Pound eventually chose to leave England. So there.

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