ABSTRACT

By 27 February 1911 he was in London again; it was ‘splendid’ to be back. He stayed in England only a day or two and then went on to Paris where by 3 March he was installed in a pension ‘by the Odeon’. In mid-March he dined with Arnold Bennett and saw him again later but Bennett did not interest him. Quick to use or develop a point once he had seen it Pound was often slow to catch it in the first place. Bennett knew much more of what was going on in Paris than Pound did and in his reports on French literature in The New Age he was drawing attention not only to men like Romain Rolland and Claudel whom Pound never liked but to others, Remy de Gourmont and Tristan Corbière, for instance, whom Pound had not yet discovered but was later to consider very important. A few weeks before they dined together Bennett had written: ‘Who among you has ever heard of Paul Valéry? Yet Paul Valéry is one of the very finest intelligences in France today.’ And in an article published on 23 March he praised The Brothers Karamazov and Stendhal's Chartreuse de Parme ‘as the most heroical novels in European literature … fiction raised to the highest power’. When we think of Pound's later praise of Stendhal and Chartreuse de Parme it is difficult not to believe that here was an opportunity missed; but Pound was not able to take in things quickly if unprepared: he could learn only when ready, only when he had developed at his own pace to the required point. Yeats came to Paris about the third week in March and together they visited Notre Dame and Versailles.