Returning to "Ezuversity": Feminism and Emancipation in the Letters of Ezra Pound to Forgotten Modernist Iris Barry, 1916-1917

Paula Camacho


At the beginning of the twentieth century, many young male and female poets attended “Ezuversity,” that is, Ezra Pound’s programme through which he educated them on the art of reading and writing. This study focuses on the case of Iris Barry (1895-1969), the English poet, novelist, film critic and forgotten modernist pioneer, to whom Pound sent a series of letters at the beginning of the twentieth century encouraging her to emancipate herself and avoid marriage. It also analyses “The Ezra Pound Period,” a text written by Barry and published in the Bookman in 1931, which serves as a response to the poet’s letters and instruction. The aim of this article is to contribute to feminist modernist studies by rescuing Barry from oblivion and by highlighting Pound’s promotion and support of many women writers who would later play a significant role in literary modernism.

Keywords: Iris Barry; Ezra Pound; “Ezuversity”; literary modernism; feminism; women’s emancipation

Full Text:


Works Cited

Akermark, Margareta, ed. 1980. Remembering Iris Barry. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Antequera Berral, Elizabeth. 2014. “Buñuel: novela, de Max Aub. Un testimonio generacional y un reto literario. Los materiales preparatorios para la obra.” PhD diss., University of Valencia.

Barry, Iris. 1916a. “Impression.” Poetry Foundation. [Accessed online on July 25, 2018].

—. 1916b. “The Fledgling.” Poetry Foundation. [Accessed online on July 25, 2018].

—. 1926. Let’s Go to the Pictures. London: Payson and Clarke.

—. 1931. “The Ezra Pound Period.” Bookman, October: 159-71. [Accessed online on June 17, 2018].

Brooker, Peter. 2007. Bohemia in London: The Social Scene of Early Modernism. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Camacho, Paula. 2017. “Iris Barry: The Birth of Film Criticism within Anglo-American Modernism.” PhD diss., University of Seville.

Carpenter, Humphrey. 1988. A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Childs, Peter. 2007. Modernism. London: Routledge.

DiBattista, Maria and Lucy McDiarmid, eds. 1996. High and Low Moderns: Literature and Culture, 1889-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Edwards, Paul. “Girl Reading: Wyndham Lewis and Iris Barry.” Lecture given at the Leeds Art Fund, Leeds, March 2016.

Felski, Rita. (1994) 2007. “Modernism and Modernity: Endangering Literary History.” In Rado 2007, 191-208.

Fogelman, Bruce. 1988. Shapes of Power: The Development of Ezra Pound’s Poetic Sequences. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research.

Green, Carol H. and Barbara Sicherman, eds. 2012. Notable American Women: The Modern Period: A Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP.

Hankins, Leslie K. 2004. “Iris Barry, Writer and Cineaste, Forming Film Culture in London 1924-1926: The Adelphi, the Spectator, the Film Society, and the British Vogue.” Modernism/Modernity 11 (3): 488-515.

Hanscombe, Gillian and Virginia L. Smyers. 1989. Writing for Their Lives: The Modernist Women, 1910-1940. Boston, MA: Northeastern UP.

Higson, Andrew, ed. 2002. Young and Innocent? The Cinema in Britain 1896-1930. Exeter: U of Exeter P.

Huyssen, Andreas. 1988. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Kenner, Hugh. 1973. “D. P. Remembered.” Paideuma 2 (3): 485-93.

Lindsay, Vachel (1915) 2000. The Art of the Moving Picture. Introduction by Stanley Kauffmann. New York: The Modern Library.

MacCabe, Colin, ed. 1986. High Theory/Low Culture: Analysing Popular Television and Film. Manchester: Manchester UP.

Mahood, Aurelea. 2002. “Fashioning Readers: The Avant Garde and British Vogue, 1920-9.” Women: A Cultural Review 13 (1): 37-47.

Modleski, Tania. 1986. “Femininity as Mas[s]querade: A Feminist Approach to Mass Culture.” In MacCabe 1986, 37-52.

Montagu, Ivor. 1970. “Birmingham Sparrow: In Memoriam, Iris Barry 1896-1969.” Sight and Sound 39 (2): 106-108.

Morató Agrafojo, Yolanda. “Iris Barry, a Forgotten Pioneer: From Modernist London to New York MoMA.” Paper given at the Women’s Worlds Conference, Madrid, July 2008.

—. 2011. “El dibujo del califa. Arquitectos, ¿dónde está vuestro vórtice? (1919), de Wyndham Lewis. Estudio preliminar, edición y traducción.” PhD diss., University of Seville.

Pound, Ezra. 1938. Guide to Kulchur. Norfolk, CT: Laughlin.

—. (1950) 1974. The Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941. Edited by D. D. Paige. New York: Haskell House.

—. (1934) 2010. ABC of Reading. New York: New Directions.

—. 2007. Ezra Pound’s Economic Correspondence, 1933-1940. Edited by Roxana Preda. Gainesville: UP of Florida.

—. 2008. Ezra Pound’s Chinese Friends. Edited by Zhaoming Qian. Oxford: Oxford UP.

—. 2010. Ezra Pound to his Parents: Letters 1895-1929. Edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, A. David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP.

—. 2011. One Must Not Go Altogether With The Tide: The Letters of Ezra Pound and Stanley Nott. Edited by Miranda Hickman. Kingston, Ontario: McGill-Queen’s UP.

—. 2015. Ezra Pound and Globe Magazine: The Complete Correspondence. Edited by Michael T. Davis and Cameron McWhirter. London: Bloomsbury.

Rado, Lisa, ed. 1994. Rereading Modernism: New Directions in Feminist Criticism. New York: Garland.

Sitton, Robert. 2014. Lady in the Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film. New York: Columbia UP.

Wasson, Haidee. 2002. “Writing the Cinema into Daily Life: Iris Barry and the Emergence of British Film Criticism.” In Higson 2002, 321-77.

—. 2005. Museum Movies: The Museum of Modern Art and the Birth of Art Cinema. Berkeley: U of California P.

—. 2006. “The Woman Film Critic: Newspapers, Cinema and Iris Barry.” Film History: An International Journal 18 (2): 154-62.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Atlantis. Journal of the Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies
ISSN: 0210-6124 | e-ISSN: 1989-6840. © The Author(s)
Contact | Privacy Statement | Copyright notice | Journal Help| Site Map