Article Index



1. Le papier Fayard was a patent treatment for blisters and corns. For Eliot and Pound, August 1919 (not 1920 or 1921 as Pound - perhaps mischievously -  recollected) was, at least in part, a walking holiday.

2. There is no inscription on the back. Although Ezra Pound was at Châlus in 1912, there is no suggestion that he revisited it in 1919. (Note that the date on the front of the postcard should be 1199 rather than 1198.)

3. On the back of PFP 590, Dorothy’s green ink records – “EP. D.P. We walked into Foix, flags flying. Armi Peace just signed 1919.”

4. The 5th edition (1907) was still the most recent in 1919.

5. “En Bertrans” was probably born at the Château de Born (or de Bellegarde) about eight kilometres to the northeast of Hautefort. Smith tried to find “the original Born castle ... not far from Dalon, in the forest above the lake of Born and below Bellegarde....,” but he never found it. Penaud says that though nothing now remains of the Born (or Bellegarde) Castle where de Born was born, there were still ruins visible in the 18th century. The name “Bellegarde” today attaches to a plateau and a few farm buildings in a clearing in the woods, part of the Forêt Domaniale de Born (or “de Bord” on some maps), by Clairevivre. From Ezra Pound’s notes on his 1912 walking tour (WTSF 21) it would seem that, despite having consulted Smith, he may have mistaken Blis-et-Born for the site of the original castle of Bertrand de Born.

6. On his 1912 walking tour, Pound’s route between Hautefort and Excideuil seems to have been somewhat circuitous. He seems to have retraced his steps eastward from Hautefort to explore the country between Périgueux and Hautefort, travelling along the valley of the Auvézère, visiting Blis-et-Born in the hills, and possibly Auberoche as well as Cubjac in the Auvézère Valley, before crossing to the valley of the Isle at Savignac-les-Eglises. From Savignac he “took the tramway for Excideuil in that prescience which occasionally descends when after we have done our utmost the perfect thing awaits” (WTSF 23). The tramway is now closed.

7. Source: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College, London.

8. “ Montignac. Thither went Bertran de Born, too, but not by a route so indolent, for at the end of the journey in a lofty castle buttressed by a natural pillar of black ivy-wreathed stone forty feet high, and boldly overlooking the town and the river, Lady Maent, a sister of Maria de Ventadorn (or Ventadour), waited to smile upon him” (Smith 223). Maent (married to a brother of the Count of Périgord), Maria de Ventadour, and a third sister, Elis (who married Guilhem de Gordon) were daughters of the Viscount of Turenne. Turenne lies to the south of Brive. I have not found evidence that the Pounds visited Turenne in 1919, although the train from Rocamadour to Brive passes very close by.

9. A railway line formerly ran from Hautefort to Gourdon via Terrasson, Montignac and Sarlat. I have not been able to trace “les Prunes” on this route.

10. The three walks were probably Hautefort to Montignac, Sarlat to Souillac, and Souillac to Rocamadour.

11. PFP 156. This postcard was sent by Miss N. Juillet to Dorothy Pound on 21 July 1924.

12. The Magdalenian era of the late Upper Paleolithic runs from about 17,000 years ago to about 12,000 years ago. It takes its name from Abri de la Madeleine, a rock shelter in the Vézère valley near the village of Tursac, just upstream from les Eyzies.

13. It is unclear from the letter whether this hotel, lunch and garden were in Périgueux or Excideuil. It would seem likely that Pound would have wanted to go back to his hotel in Excideuil where he was staying with Dorothy; although, if that were the case, it would probably have made more sense for Eliot to have changed trains in Thiviers for Excideuil rather than in Périgueux.

14. T. S. Eliot worked for Lloyd’s Bank from 19 March 1917 to 25 November 1925. Pound continued to be concerned for his friend’s well-being after their days in Excideuil. Ernest Hemingway wrote, “Ezra Pound was the most generous writer I have ever known and the most disinterested. He was always doing something practical for poets, painters, sculptors and prose writers that he believed in and would help anyone, whether he believed in them or not, if they were in trouble. He worried about everyone and in the time when I first knew him he was most worried about T. S. Eliot who, Ezra told me, had to work in a bank in London and so had insufficient time and bad hours to function as a poet” (Hemingway 177).

15. When he wrote these lines,Pound could equally have had in mind a postcard that Nancy Cunard sent to him from Les Eyzies in October 1923. That postcard shows a line drawing of a mammoth copied from the caves at Font de Gaume (Lilly Library, Ezra Box 1 Pound mss: Cunard Nancy). It is possible that les Eyzies was on the itinerary of Pound's August 1923 trip with Olga Rudge.

16. Pound would have been able to return to Excideuil by train/tram by one of two routes - either (with Eliot) via Périgueux or via St. Pardoux and Thiviers.

17. The Venus of Laussel is now on display in the Musée de l’Aquitaine in Bordeaux. A second version of a woman holding a horn found at the same site was taken to Berlin in controversial circumstances. It is believed to have been destroyed there during World War II. A comprehensive set of photographs of the Abri de Laussel and the ancient objects found there, many of which seem to have sexual connotations (including one that may be a copulation scene), can be found at (accessed 4 August 2017).

18. It seems unlikely that Eliot would not have dutifully sent postcards to his wife, Vivien, while he was in France, however strained their relationship might by then have become. If they survive and are made available they would afford us a better understanding of his itinerary in August 1919, if not also some further insight into what was on his mind in those days. The postcard to Lytton Strachey (L/TSE 1: 388) is the only piece of correspondence from T. S. Eliot during his time in France in 1919 published in Volume 1 of his letters. Part of the text of the postcard was quoted in Holroyd (365) well before the publication of Eliot’s letters. The source of this postcard is given in L/TSE 1 as the British Library. As it is not in Add MS60665 (August 2017), it would appear to have gone missing. The picture on the front of the postcard and its postmark might have served to corroborate Eliot’s route in Corrèze.

19. When the Malatesta Cantos were published in Eliot’s The Criterion (Vol. 1, No. IV, July 1923), these lines were omitted.

20. There is actually some doubt as to where Giraut de Borneil was from. While he is probably from the region of Excideuil in Dordogne, it is possible that he was from the area of Exideuil [sic] on the borders of Charente and Haute-Vienne (Penaud 69). There are also several hamlets called Bourneix in the region.

21. The first part of “Ash Wednesday” was published in Commerce in Spring 1928 quoting Guido Cavalcanti, “perch’i no spero di tornar giammai.” Pound’s Canto XXIX was published in 1930.

22. On 6 August 1919, shortly before he left London for France, Eliot wrote to Mary Hutchinson, “Please send Gerontion back to me at once. I leave on Saturday night, and I must revise it in France, so just put it in an envelope and send it by return.” (L/TSE 1: 387.) Eliot had apparently sent his draft of Gerontion to her on 6 July.

23. Dorothy’s later note on the back reads “Did I see this? EP anyway knew it.” It might seem strange that Dorothy might not have seen Périgueux in the summer of 1919, but it is certainly not impossible. The journeys that we know of that Ezra and Dorothy took together from Excideuil were to the southeast, with the exception of the possible trip to Poitiers when the obvious route would not have passed through Périgueux.

24. Like Pound and Eliot, William Force Stead (1884-1967) was an American. He came to England in the US diplomatic service, which he left in 1917, and was eventually ordained in the Anglican Church. He became Chaplain and a Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford, and in 1927 baptised Eliot after his conversion. He has been referred to as Eliot’s “confessor.” Stead returned to the United States in 1939.

25. Commentators (for example see Eliot 2015), though not Eliot’s own Notes on the Waste Land (Eliot 1969 76), often cross refer the reader to Chaucer’s opening lines of the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales: “Whan that aprill with his shoures soote...” But, while in the Périgord, one might also look to the following lines from Pierre de Bussignac, a 12th century Périgourdin troubadour associated with Hautefort -

Quan lo dous tems d’abril             When April’s sweetness

fo’ls arbres secs fulhar,                  Brings leaves again to the dry trees

e’ls auzelhs mutz cantar                And the silent birds begin to sing

quascun en son lati...                      Each in its own tongue...

(My translation. For Pierre de Bussignac, see Penaud 2001 77).

26. Some commentators (for example, Wilhelm 235) place Eliot back in Excideuil on 21 August 1919, thereby dating the line “I am afraid of the life after death” to after the Périgueux episode of “dispossession by the dead.” It is not clear to me that Eliot did return to Excideuil after the walking trip with Pound to Thiviers, Brantôme and Bourdeilles.

27. Eliot may have passed through France on his way to Marburg in July 1914, but I think it unlikely. Even if he did so, he did not see Jean Verdenal. Verdenal was by then already enlisted in the army and was then in Pau with a broken leg. The direct route from London to Marburg is through Belgium and we know that Eliot visited Bruges, Ghent and Brussels in July 1914. When Eliot got out of Germany after the outbreak of war in August 1914 - through the Netherlands to London, where he stayed until the beginning of the Oxford Michaelmas Term - he wrote “I think I should love Paris now more than ever, if I could see her in these times.”

28. Terrell commented: “Perhaps the polite salesman is the same one celebrated by T. S. Eliot in “Gerontion” as Mr. Silvero. Pound said that all the troubadours who knew music or letters had been taught at ‘the abbeys of Limoges’ (367).” If Terrell’s speculation is correct, might Pound and Eliot actually have come across the prototype of Mr. Silvero “With caressing hands, at Limoges/Who walked all night in the next room” at the hotel in Excideuil? Despite the possibly significant use of “at Limoges” in both Gerontion and Pound’s Canto LXXIV, I can find no indication that Pound and Eliot were in Limoges together. Excideuil seems to be the closest they came. Eliot 2015 does not pick up on the link Terrell makes here.

29. The details that follow about the Poujol family and the former hotels in the rue Gambetta in Excideuil come from the archives of the towns of Excideuil and Montignac, from, from Le Maitron, and from conversations with Mme Jacqueline Desthomas-Denivelle who was born and spent her childhood in the building that had formerly been the Hôtel Mordier. By the time of WWII, it had become the residence and surgery of Excideuil’s dentist, Mme Desthomas-Denivelle’s father.

30. Roger Hippolyte Poujol left Excideuil in 1912 and became a teacher, based around Le Havre and Rouen, and, from 1920 a leading member of the local Communist Party. He married Marie-Louise Marcelle Loffet, a fellow teacher and militant socialist, in Excideuil in 1916. He was arrested in 1941, deported to Germany in 1943, and died at Buchenwald on 26 June 1944. (Le Maitron)

31. The Metropole mentioned in The Waste Land is generally taken by commentators to refer to the hotel of that name in Brighton, and Mr Eugenides’s suggestion of a weekend there as an invitation to a homosexual tryst. Ricks and McCue also note that in “St Louis, the Metropole Hotel, built in 1912, was know to cater for prostitutes until 1920” (Eliot 2015 659). Might “the Metropole” here also contain a sly reference to the hotel in Excideuil where Eliot and Pound spent a few days in 1919?