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The Geography of the Imagination



The Geography of the Imagination. Forty Essays by Guy Davenport. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1981.


  • Acknowledgements
  • The Geography of the Imagination
  • The Symbol of the Archaic
  • Another Odyssey
  • The House That Jack Built
  • Prehistoric eyes
  • Whitman
  • Olson
  • Zukofsky
  • Marianne Moore
  • Spinoza's Tulips
  • Do You Have a Poem Book on E. E. Cummings?
  • Seeing Shelley Plain
  • Persephone's ezra
  • The Pound Vortex
  • Ezra Pound 1885 -- 1972
  • 'Trees'
  • Jonathan Williams
  • Ronald Johnson
  • Poetry's Golden
  • Where Poems Come From
  • Ishmael's Double
  • Louis Agassiz
  • That Faire Field of Enna
  • Charles Ives
  • Ozymandias
  • Christ's Cunning Rimesmith
  • Joyce's Forest of Symbols
  • The Man Without Contemporaries
  • Narrative Tone and Form
  • Tchelitchew
  • Jack Yeats the Elder
  • Wittgenstein
  • Hobbitry
  • Dictionary
  • No, But I've Read the Book
  • The Anthropology of Table Manners from Geophagy Onward
  • The Indian and His Image
  • Finding
  • Ralph Eugene Meatyard
  • Ernst Machs Max Ernst


  Most of these essays were called into being by editors and occasions.

  • 'The Symbol of the Archaic' was read at the University of Louisville as part of the Conference on Twentieth-Century Literature in 1974, and later that year at the University of Illinois.
  • 'The House that Jack Built' was the inaugural lecture to open the Yale Center of the Study of Ezra Pound and His Contemporaries, 30 October 1975.
  • 'The Geography of the Imagination' was the Distinguished Professor Lecture at the University of Kentucky for 1978.
  • 'Joyce's Forest of Symbols' was the Eberhardt Faber Lecture for 1973 at Princeton.

  For permission to reprint I am grateful

  • to Perspective and The Georgia Review for slightly different versions of 'The Symbol of the Archaic';
  • to Salmagundi for 'The House that Jack Built';
  • to Arion, Eva Hesse, Faber and Faber, and the University of California Press for 'Persephone's Ezra';
  • to Parnassus for 'In Gloom on Watch-House Point' and Boundary 2 for 'Scholia and Conjectures for Olson's "The Kingfisher's"' (these two studies are combined here under the title 'Olson');
  • [to] the National Review and the Jargon Society for 'Do You Have a Poem Book on E. E. Cummings';
  • to National Review for 'Poetry's Golden' (where it appeared as 'National Poetry Festival: A Report'), part of the essay on Zukofsky which appeared there as 'Happy Birthday, Wm. Shaxpar' a review of Bottom, part of the essay on Tchelitchew, which appeared there as 'Romantic in an Unromantic Age', 'Seeing Shelley Plain', 'No, But I've Read the Book', 'Wittgenstein', 'Dictionary', and 'The Pound Vortex';
  • to Vort for 'Narrative Tone and Form';
  • to W. W. Norton and Co. and Sand Dollar Press for the two pieces on Ronald Johnson that are here combined as a single essay;
  • to The Iowa Review for 'Joyce's Forest of Symbols';
  • to Arion for 'Another Odyssey' and 'Ezra Pound 1885 --1972';
  • to Aperture for 'Ralph Eugene Meatyard';
  • to Parnassus and Paideuma for two sections of  'Zukofsky';
  • to The Ballet Review for part of 'Tchelitchew';
  • to The Hudson Review for 'Prehistoric Eyes', 'The Indian and His Image', 'The Man Without Contemporaries' and 'Where Poems Come From?';
  • to Parnassus for 'Whitman' and 'Charles Ives';
  • to Beacon Press for 'Louis Agassiz';
  • to the University of North Carolina Press and New Directions for 'Jonathan Williams';
  • to Inquiry for 'Christ's Cunning Rimesmith' and 'Jack Yeats the Elder';
  • to The New York Times for 'Ozymandias', 'Trees', and 'Hobbitry';
  • to Perspective for 'Spinoza's Tulips',
  • to Antaeus for 'Finding' and "The Anthropology of Table Manners from Geophagy Onward'
  • and to New Directions for all the quotations throughout from Ezra Pound.

Dedication:  For Hugh Kenner

Dust jacket drawing by GD.

Note:  Dust jacket photograph of GD by Guy Mendes.

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Last revised:  2005-03-09
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