ABC of Reading, by Ezra Pound. Hdbk. Routledge, 1934. 197 pp. Foxed edges, blotched red cloth binding. Endpapers foxed. No dust jacket. Marginal comments (sometimes of an intemperate nature, e.g “TRIPE!!!” ON P. 41) all in pencil except for some underlining, and more exclamation marks on p. 21. These are often entertaining in their own right: this book previously belonged to the poet and literary critic Jack Dalglish.
Pound can’t be ignored, either as a poet or as a critic, however much we may deplore his appalling political views. This is a trenchant and powerful piece of writing, if at times wildly incoherent and random, and well worth reading from cover to cover, though not perhaps at a single setting (or not without copious draughts from the whisky bottle at regular intervals). All the way through there are flashes of great incisiveness and wisdom. That they are buttressed with other pronouncements of highly dubious import is par for the course when reading Pound. He is never less than entertaining, and often much more than that.
The title is itself a little misleading (start as you mean to go on): this is very much a book about how to read POETRY. Other kinds of reading are mentioned, but only in passing, and for purely illustrative purposes. Don't buy it if you think it's a kindergarten primer: if you do, you'll be sorely disappointed, and so will your infant charges.
A snip at 19.99.