Edmund Wilson (1895-1972), "Ezra Pound's Patchwork," The Shores of Light: A Literary Chronicle of the Twenties and Thirties
(1952; rpt. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1979), pp. 44-48 (at 45-46):
For, in spite of the parade of cultures and the
pontifical pretenses which have terrified the more naïve
of the American intelligentsia, Ezra Pound is really at
heart a very boyish fellow and an incurable provincial.
It is true that he was driven to Europe by a thirst for
romance and color that he could scarcely have satisfied in
America, but he took to Europe the simple faith and the
pure enthusiasms of his native Idaho. And he took, also,
the fresh cavalier spirit which remains his greatest charm.
His early poems were full of gallant and simply felt emotions; but they were already tainted with an obsession
which has cursed him all his life: the frantic desire to
flee as far from Idaho as possible, the itching to prove
to Main Street that he has extirpated it from his soul.
That he has remained unsuccessful to this day is sufficiently attested by the fact that he still spends so much
time insulting the United States. He seeks refuge in
bawdiness, in obscurity, in recondite erudition, in the
most extravagant of the modern movements, such as
dadaism and vorticism, but he can never slough off his
self-consciousness at having settled in the Sacred Grove.
"Look at me!" he says in effect to his compatriots at home.
"See how cultured and cosmopolitan I have become since
I've left America—how different from you over there! I'll
bet there's not a man among you who knows about
Pratinas and Gaudier-Brzeska. I can read half a dozen
languages! I am a friend of Francis Picabia!"