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James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Ford Madox Ford in 1923

In this iconic photograph, James Joyce sits alongside Ezra Pound, John Quinn [off picture to right], and Ford Madox Ford. Their collective presence captures a moment when literature was in flux, and the old order yielded to the new.

These three literary luminaries—Joyce, Pound, and Ford—shaped the course of modernist literature, leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire writers today. Their words echo across time, inviting us to explore the boundaries of creativity and imagination.

Ezra Pound, an American poet and critic, played a pivotal role in shaping modernist literature. Pound championed innovative poets and writers, acting as a catalyst for change. His famous dictum, “Make it new,” encapsulates his commitment to pushing artistic boundaries.

Pound recognized Joyce’s genius early on. He celebrated A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and predicted that it would bring Joyce acclaim within literary circles. Pound’s influence extended beyond poetry; he also fostered connections between writers across genres.

Ford Madox Ford, an English novelist and editor, collaborated with both Joyce and Pound. His novel The Good Soldier is a classic of early 20th-century literature, known for its intricate narrative structure and unreliable narrator. Ford’s exploration of human psychology and hidden motives resonated with modernist sensibilities.

In 1923, Ford, with the assistance of Ezra Pound, founded the avant-garde literary journal Transatlantic Review. This influential publication featured works by James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and other prominent writers. Ford’s commitment to innovation extended to both poetry and prose.

The Paris Connection

In Paris during 1922, Ford and Joyce crossed paths. Pound facilitated their meeting, recognizing the potential synergy between these literary giants. Ford had already praised Joyce’s work, and Pound’s endorsement further solidified their connection. Together, they navigated the shifting currents of modernism, each leaving an indelible mark on the literary landscape.


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