Article Index

Ezra Pound's and Olga Rudge's The Blue Spill: A Manuscript Critical Edition, ed. Mark Byron and Sophia Barnes.
London: Bloomsbury, 2019, 320pp, ISBN: 9781474281072, HB $201
Written during the Italian winter of 1930, The Blue Spill is an unfinished detective novel written by Ezra Pound – the leading figure of modernist poetry in the 20th century – and his long-time companion Olga Rudge. Published for the first time in this authoritative critical edition, the novel reflects both Rudge's and Pound's voracious reading of popular fiction as it echoes and parodies such writers as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and P.G. Wodehouse.

Based on the original manuscripts of the novel, this critical edition includes annotation and textual commentary throughout. The book also includes critical essays exploring the contexts of the work, from the dynamics of artistic collaboration to the growing popularity of detective fiction at the beginning of the 20th century. Taken together, this unique publication sheds new light on the relationship between the literary avant-garde and popular culture in the modernist period.

Table of contents

List of Figures

Part I: The Edition
Introduction: “Brilliant Detective cut off…”: The Blue Spill as an Incomplete Murder
Textual Essay: "Too Much Attention to Detail...": The Composition of The Blue Spill

Reading Text: The Blue Spill

Part II: Essays
A Golden-Age Clue-Puzzle: The Blue Spill and Detective Fiction

Olga Rudge and Ezra Pound: A Career in Artistic Collaboration