In 1948, Wyndham Lewis published brief reminiscences of two longtime colleagues: Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot. It was in 1915, Lewis wrote, that Pound first introduced him to Eliot. Pound was then at the height of his powers, producing beautiful poetry and vigorous essays in which he argued for hardness and clarity in literature. Lewis, England’s leading modern artist, was completing his first novel. Eliot, a pleasant and rather handsome graduate student visiting London between terms, had published some promising verse.

Lewis went on to tell how much the personal fortunes of his friends had changed in the ensuing thirty-three years. Pound was now “confined in a criminal asylum in America” while Eliot was “a rarely honoured member of his profession, dwelling in the bland atmosphere of general approbation.” Lewis might have added that he found his own position...


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