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Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley


by Ezra Pound

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley Theme of Dissatisfaction

You don't have to look far to find plenty of disappointment in "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley." Pound is pretty much down on everything he sees in modern art and culture. But that doesn't mean he's just a big whiner. He's pretty clear on what he wants when it comes to alternatives. He wants modern artists to study the classics and learn from them about beauty. It's all pretty straightforward. The only problem is that the world might not care all that much about beauty anymore.

Questions About Dissatisfaction

  1. In your opinion, does the speaker have a good reason to feel so dissatisfied with modern culture? Why or why not? What parts of the poem support your answer? 
  2. What types of people annoy the speaker the most? What types of people does he blame most for ruining modern culture? Where in poem do you see this? 
  3. Do you think that dissatisfaction is necessary for great art? Would any progress (in art, or elsewhere) be made if everything was just ducky? How would the speaker answer?

Chew on This

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

Silver lining alert? In several sections of "Mauberley," Pound's dissatisfaction seems to waver, and he actually starts to sound as if he enjoys living in the modern world.

The dissatisfaction expressed in "Mauberley" tends to come from the speaker's frustration over the way the world has treated artists he considers to be really great. Get 'em, Hugh.

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