Both twentieth century poets. Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was an influential figure in the development of Modernism, working as an editor to publish other Modernist writers, such as T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost and James Joyce, as well as publishing his own poetry. Born in American, he lived in England until the First World War, when he moved to Italy. He is notorious for embracing Mussolini's fascism and broadcasting pro-Fascist radio speeches during the Second World War. In 1945 he was arrested for treason by the advancing American army in Italy. His time in prison triggered a mental breakdown, though he produced more volumes of his most famous work, the Cantos, whilst incarcerated in Pisa.
T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) was an American-born poet, though he too moved to England early in his career. His influence over twentieth century poetry is difficult to overestimate: a Modernist, works such as The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock and The Waste Land have entered into modern consciousness; for example The Waste Land is one of the most often-bookmarked poems here on Book Drum. T.S. Eliot became a British citizen when he was 39, revoking his American citizenship, and converting to Anglicanism. Eliot is a figure of great importance to Donna Tartt, and oblique references to his life and work appear frequently in this novel. Tartt also refers to the same literary sources as Eliot, especially those in The Waste Land: for example Dante's Paradise Lost, revenge tragedy, the Hindu Upanishads and Dickens' Our Mutual Friend, all of which were also employed by Eliot in The Waste Land.