The Pound letters introduce students of modernism to fresh primary materials, written during the artistic and literary ferment of the early twenties while Pound was engrossed in promotional and acquisitions work for the Dial in England and on the continent. They make clear that nearly all the foreign contributions published in the Dial during Pound's involvement were secured by Pound himself and that Pound can be seen to have established practically singlehandedly the distinctive international flavor for which the Dial quickly became known and respected. The letters also show Pound at his critical best in his running commentary on the Dial and stand as a coherent body of his criticism of the literature of the time - American, English, and European.
If modernism began in the magazines, as Robert Scholes and Clifford Wulfman argue, then the study of modern culture should begin with these publications. Scholes and Wulfman's radically inclusive approach not only considers the "little" modernist magazines alongside the "big" or mass magazines often dismissed as antithetical to modernism's elite culture, but also insists that scholars must investigate their contents as a whole—from poetry to advertising—to appreciate their full significance. The book's appendix also reprints a previously uncollected critique of popular British magazines from 1917 and 1918 by Ezra Pound.