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Thus, although Pound indeed distrusted the masses, "foreigners," and so forth, The Cantos themselves (with their references to Confucius, the agrarian populism of Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democracy, and even the "enlightened despotism" of Leopold II) reflect the underlying conservative sentiment behind his more well-known social and economic views (including his antisemitism.) The Cantos are not complex, they are complicated; they are not arrayed by logic or driven by pursuing emotion, they are connected because they follow one another, are set side by side, and because an anecdote, an allusion or a sentence begun in one Canto may be continued in another and may never be completed at all; and as for a theme to be realized, they seem to have only, like Mauberley, the general sense of continuity — not unity — which may arise in the mind when read seriatim.The Cantos are what Mr Pound himself called them in a passage now excised from the canon, a rag-bag. Eliot had previously approached the subject of fragmentation of human experience: while Eliot was writing, and Pound editing, The Waste Land, Pound had said that he looked upon experience as similar to a series of iron filings on a mirror.

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The most striking feature of the text, to a casual browser, is the inclusion of Chinese characters as well as quotations in European languages other than English.

The poem's symbolic structure also makes use of an opposition between darkness and light.

Images of light are used variously, and may represent Neoplatonic ideas of divinity, the artistic impulse, love (both sacred and physical) and good governance, amongst other things.

The Cantos by Ezra Pound is a long, incomplete poem in 116 sections, each of which is a canto.

Most of it was written between 19, although much of the early work was abandoned and the early cantos, as finally published, date from 1922 onwards.

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