Selected Writings

In 1949 Louise Pound published Selected Writings. The book is full of varied topics and is divided into six groups: “Literary,” “Linguistic,” “On Vocabulary and Diction,” “Folkloristic,” “Educational,” and “Miscellaneous.”  In the “Literary” section, Pound focuses on poetry. At the beginning of the section, she describes how Walt Whitman’s unique writing style was influenced by his strong appreciation for Italian operatic music. She supports this by providing examples of poems he wrote containing musical terms. In another part, she describes bird poetry and Whitman’s interpretation of it. The rest of the section covers the history of the “Caedmon’s Dream Song,” Edgar Allan Poe’s “The City in the Sea,” an overview of literary anthologies and ballads, and concludes with how she foresees the future of poetry. In the “Linguistic” section, Pound writes about the importance of deciphering words people utter in their sleep, nasals in English speech, the history of the word “darn,” modern trade names, word coinage and research in American English. At the beginning of the “On Vocabulary and Diction section,” Pound describes modern American English. The rest of the section is about Charles Dickens’ dialect, American euphemisms pertaining death, French influence on Walt Whitman’s writing, James Fenimore Cooper’s dialect, and Latin loan words in modern American speech. In the “Folkloristic” section, Pound writes about the terms “communal,” folklore” and dialect.” She also writes about the history of English and Scottish ballads. The rest of the chapter includes folklore of her home state: “Nebraska Folklore,” The Nebraska Legend of Weeping Water,” and “Nebraska Cave Lore.” In the “Educational” section, Pound writes about the history of English literature, the value of English linguistics, contemporary forms of teaching English, graduate work for women, expectations of English teachers, and research of college women. The “Miscellaneous” section is full of odds and ends. The first half includes a part on different ways of pronouncing “neither” and “either ” and this history of their word formation, the fascination with “K” and “R” words, pronouns, plural-singulars from Latin neuters, variations of the word “yes,” indefinite names  and adjectives. The second half of the “Miscellaneous” section describes King Cnut’s song and the poem “The Washers of the Shroud.”