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Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

by Ezra Pound

Respect and Reputation Theme

For Pound, one of the biggest problems with the modern world is the fact that all people seem to care about is looking good in the eyes of others. In the early 20th century especially, Pound felt like people were trying way too hard to be prim and proper, and he felt like this had a way of sucking all the passion and life out of art. He really can't stand people who don't think there should ever be sex or passion in art. In fact, in "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley," bringing the sex back to art seems to be one of the first things he thinks we should do if we're going to make art good again.

Questions About Respect and Reputation

  1. In what specific ways would the speaker like to see passion brought back into art? What parts of the poem support your answer?
  2. What is the speaker's biggest beef with folks like Gladstone (line 94) and Buchanan (line 98)? How is it connected to the theme of respect and reputation?
  3. In your opinion, do Pound's opinions about the lack of passion in art still hold true today? Why or why not?

Chew on This

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

Let it all hang out. For Pound, people should forget about what others think about them and let their passion loose if they're going to be great artists.

In "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley," Pound shows us that our concern with respect and reputation is dumb, and that we're just wasting our lives if this is all we care about.

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