Statement by Pound signed by McLuhan

In 1953 a statement appeared in the Montreal journal CIV/n with the notation from the signatories to it: “As our means of disseminating this statement are limited, we ask those who receive it to give it what publicity they can, especially by reprinting in full, and to express their agreement or dissent in as lively a manner as possible.”1 

ALARMED by the neglect of Greek and Latin classics, milleniar source of light and guide in judgment of ideas and forms in the Occident; by lack of curiosity concerning what is current in contemporary foreign languages both in the west and in the orient; by growing carelessness in the use of language both private and public, and insensitiveness to the values of the literary arts which serve to maintain language in a healthy condition for civilized use; by the torpor of a pseudo-scholarship which does not mean any activity of the mind but mere retrospect.

WE URGE, TOWARD A REORIENTATION, that instead of hunting out the provenience of every bit of rubble used in the construction of literary works, the student of literature ask, and answer on the basis of evidence supplied by the works themselves, these three questions:

  1. To what degree of awareness has the given author attained?
  2. What was his aim and purpose in writing at all?
  3. What part of his discoveries is of use now, or is likely to be of use tomorrow, in maintaining the life of the mind here or elsewhere?


Clark Emery (University of Miami)
Ashley Brown (Washington and Lee University)
Hugh Kenner (University of California)
Rudd Fleming (University of Maryland)
L.R. Lind (University of Kansas)
Amiya Chakravarty (University of Kansas)
H.M. McLuhan (University of Toronto)
W.F. Stead (Trinity College)
Margaret Bates (Catholic University of America)
Robert Stallman (University of Connecticut)


  1. CIV/n published 7 issues between 1953 and 1955. Pound’s statement appeared in #4 from October 1953.  The same statement later appeared in Poetry, 84:2, p 119, May 1954. Both the CIV/n and Poetry statements were accompanied by this note: “Any communications regarding this manifesto should go to W. James, P. 0. Box 6964, Washington, D.C.” But the Poetry reprinting did not include the request for reprinting. The address given for inquiries was also the address of Pound’s ‘Square Dollar Series’.