J. B. Harmer, in his study of Imagism, says that Hulme ‘gave up poetry in a fruitless search for intellectual satisfaction’, and he asserts that Hulme will survive by his poems rather than his ideas (p. 52). The essays in this volume show that to be an oversimplification, but it is true that the syntheses (or balanced antitheses) of ideas Hulme was looking for are best served through imagery rather than philosophical argument – at least as he developed it. But the fact that the same imagery can be found in the early notebooks (particularly ‘Cinders’ and ‘Notes on
Language and Style’) as well as in more formal prose pieces – shows that a simple division between poet and man of ideas is artificial. Hulme’s poems are ideas, but treated with such delicacy that explication (betraying them to the ‘extensive manifold’) is a questionable activity.1 But explication of the overlapping modes of thought and imagery Hulme employed is nevertheless the purpose of this chapter.