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"Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond" Exhibition


    The University of Delaware Library announces the forthcoming exhibition "Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond: The Influence of Ezra Pound on Twentieth Century Poetry," which will be on view in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery of the Morris Library, University of Delaware, Newark from Tuesday, February 14, 2006, through Friday, June 16, 2006. “Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond” will draw extensively from the recently acquired Ezra Pound collection of Robert A. Wilson, noted bookseller, author, collector, publisher, and bibliographer.  A printed catalog which accompanies the exhibition will be available upon request to exhibition visitors at no charge.

    The curator of “Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond” is Jesse Rossa, Assistant Librarian in the Special Collections Department.
    The University of Delaware Library Associates and the University of Delaware Library will co-sponsor a presentation entitled “In the City of Aldus” by Robert A. Wilson on Wednesday, March 8, 2006, at 4:30 p.m. in the Reserve Room of the Morris Library.  A printed invitation will be available upon request by contacting or 302-831-2231.  The event is open to the public.

    Perhaps the most important literary figure in the early years of modernism was the expatriate American writer Ezra Pound (1885-1972).   As a poet, critic, supporter, and indefatigable promoter of the modernist cause, Ezra Pound perhaps more than any other individual was responsible for the profound transformation literature underwent in the early decades of the twentieth century.  Because of his controversial political views, Pound continues to attract almost as much criticism as he does accolades. Nevertheless, it is impossible to ignore the vital role he played in the modernist revolution, and “Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond” provides an in-depth examination of his place in twentieth century literature.

    Ezra Pound was equally a poet, translator, and mentor and collaborator to many other writers, including Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Ford Madox Ford, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Wyndham Lewis, and most famously T.S. Eliot, who acknowledged Pound’s contribution and editing of “The Waste Land” by dedicating the poem to him as “il miglior fabbro,” the “better craftsman.”

    “Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond” will examine Pound and his relationships with many authors, including those who followed in his tradition, such as the Objectivist poets (including Louis Zukofsky and George Oppen), the Black Mountain school (including Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan), the Beats, and others. Various aspects of Pound’s influence and pedagogy, such as his anthologies and translations, will be addressed through the display of first editions of Pound’s books including A Lume Spento and A Quinzaine for This Year, Pound’s first two publications (which are extremely rare), manuscript material, photo-graphs, and ephemera. The University of Delaware Library has extremely strong holdings in twentieth century modernism and “Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond” will include such treasures as the first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s first book, the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses, and several editions of The Waste Land.

    Robert A. Wilson, whose Ezra Pound collection now at the University of Delaware Library will be featured in the exhibition, was born in Baltimore in 1922.  After graduating from Johns Hopkins University in 1943 he entered the U.S. Army and served in Germany.  Following his discharge from the Army, he joined the United States Diplomatic Corps and held positions in various countries, including serving as Third Secretary of the Embassy in Warsaw, Poland and Pretoria, South Africa.  He left the Diplomatic Corps and moved to New York City and eventually became a noted antiquarian bookseller with his ownership of the Phoenix Book Shop in Greenwich Village. 

    Under Robert Wilson’s management, the Phoenix was transformed from a small bookshop on an obscure street in Greenwich Village into a legendary literary haven which became one of the most important bookstores of the era.  During his ownership, Robert Wilson bought and sold the books and manuscripts of a wide range of American, British, and other authors.  The Phoenix also became a destination of choice for collectors, scholars, and authors, and Robert Wilson met and befriended many of the most prominent contemporary authors and artists of the period.  He operated the Phoenix Book Shop until 1988 when he sold the business and moved to St. Michaels, Maryland, where he currently resides.

    In addition to his successful career as an antiquarian bookseller, Robert Wilson is also an author of note.  He is the bibliographer of Gertrude Stein, Gregory Corso, and Denise Levertov, and the author of a number of monographs, including Modern Book Collecting (1980) and the autobiographical Seeing Shelley Plain (2001).

    Wilson and the Phoenix Book Shop are also celebrated in the collection The Phoenix Book Shop: a Nest of Memories (1997), which includes short essays and tributes from such authors as Amiri Baraka, John Ashbery, Marshall Clements, Diane di Prima, Allen Ginsberg, James Purdy, Ed Sanders, Michael McClure, and others.

    Robert Wilson has also been a book collector for his entire life and assembled magnificent collections of the work of these and other authors, a number of which are housed in the Special Collections of the University of Delaware Library.  A significant portion have been gifts from this generous collector.

     In “Ezra Pound in His Time and Beyond,” the University of Delaware highlights one of its most comprehensive collections and pays tribute to Robert A. Wilson, bookseller, bibliographer, and collector extraordinaire.


About the Special Collections Department

    Holdings of the Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library include books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, broadsides, periodicals, pamphlets, ephemera, and realia from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. The collections complement the Library's general collections with particular strengths in the subject areas of the arts; English, Irish, and American literature; history and Delawareana; horticulture; and history of science and technology. The University of Delaware Archives is separately administered and comprises university records and history of the institution.

    Morris Library hours are available on the web of the University of Delaware Library at www.lib.udel.edu or are available at 302-831-BOOK.

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For Library hours call 302-831-BOOK or check the Library Web at: www.lib.udel.edu



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