Ezra Pound: Poet, Volume 1:
The Young Genius 1885-1920.
Oxford University Press, 544 pages, $47.95
Any biographer of Ezra Pound needs a clear head, a cool and dispassionate style, and first-rate literary-critical powers. Of David Moodys two predecessors, Noel Stock (1960) had only the first two, and was inhibited by the control exercised over his work by Pounds widow, while Humphrey Carpenter (1988) had the first two, but not consistentlyhis readability coming at the price of some journalistic slicknessand did not pretend to the third. Moody has all three. His book, the first of two volumes, will be a godsend to people like myself, who have spent decades feeling obscurely guilty about their lack of enthusiasm for Pound, and wondering why others, whose judgment they admire, hold him in high regard. If I concentrate here on what Moody says about Pounds writing, that must not...