Edith Wharton? Ezra Pound? Apocryphal?
Dear Quote Investigator: A classic work must be timeless, and it must also exhibit an irrepressible freshness. This notion has been attributed to the prominent U.S. novelist Edith Wharton and the well-known poet and critic Ezra Pound. Would you please help me to resolve this uncertainty?
Quote Investigator: In 1934 Ezra Pound published “ABC of Reading” which included the following passage. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1960 (1934 Copyright), ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound, Section: Warning, Quote Page 13 and 14, New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York. (Verified with scans)
A classic is classic not because it conforms to certain structural rules, or fits certain definitions (of which its author had quite probably never heard). It is classic because of a certain eternal and irrepressible freshness.
QI has found no substantive evidence that Edith Wharton used this saying. She died in 1937, and she received credit by 2006.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
Continue reading It Is Classic Because of a Certain Eternal and Irrepressible Freshness
|↑1||1960 (1934 Copyright), ABC of Reading by Ezra Pound, Section: Warning, Quote Page 13 and 14, New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York. (Verified with scans)|