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Sly Signature

In response to:

The Waste Land Without Pound from the October 11, 1984 issue

To the Editors:

Although, as an amateur of Eng. Lit., I am tempted to share Mr. Louis Auchincloss’ feeling “that an expanded Waste Land would be more coherent” [NYR, October 11]—and, inevitably, more verdant—, I am equally tempted to question his (and anyone else’s) idée reçcue that T.S. Eliot’s dedication of this major composition to Ezra Pound has to be taken as an unreserved acknowledgment of Pound’s superior craftsmanship. At best, the text of the dedication:

For Ezra Pound

il miglior fabbro

implies the following ironic equivalence:

(Dante g< Arnaut): (Eliot g< Pound).

On the other hand, ever since my undergraduate days, I have often wondered whether the Italian tag should not simply be read as a sly signature, i.e. (il miglior fabbro) = (T.S.E.).

George P. Savidis

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

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