Monday, May 23, 2011

Pound vs. Abercrombie

I have read somewhere the bumper sticker wisdom: "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace." In fact I'm pretty sure I've at least seen it on a t-shirt. Well, here's...the rest of the story.

Lascelles Abercrombie was a British poet and critic and professor of English literature at Leeds and London universities, who lived from 1881-1938. Ezra Pound was Ezra Pound.
Abercrombie had expressed an opinion with which the poet Ezra Pound violently disagreed. "Dear Mr. Abercrombie," wrote Pound. "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace. I hereby challenge you to a duel, to be fought at the earliest moment that is suited to your convenience..." Abercrombie was rather disturbed by the challenge, knowing of Pound's skill at fencing, but then he remembered with relief that the choice of weapons lay with the party challenged. "May I suggest," he replied, "that we bombard each other with unsold copies of our own books?" Pound, having far more "weapons" than his opponent, immediately withdrew the challenge.

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