New Biography Explores The Case Of Ezra Pound
Pound wrote The Pisan Cantos while he was in a prison camp in Italy in 1945. He’d been charged with treason for making more than 200 radio broadcasts from Rome during World War II in which he voiced support for Mussolini and Hitler, and canada goose coats on sale railed against a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
That’s why, four years later, when Pound won the Bollingen Prize, he was residing at St. Elizabeths Hospital, a government facility for the mentally ill located in c. The canada goose coats disdainful headline about the award in The New York Times read, « Pound, In Mental Clinic, Wins Prize For Poetry Penned In Treason Cell. »
Eliot canada goose black friday sale and the committee defended their decision by insisting that only the « poetic achievement » mattered. Pound himself prepared a cryptic acceptance statement that read, « No comment from the bughouse. »
In his provocative and wide ranging book called The Bughouse, literary critic Daniel Swift Canada Goose online chronicles his own cheap canada goose uk investigations into the question of whether or not Pound’s madness cagooseclearance and politics matter canada goose uk black friday to his poetry. Among other research adventures, Swift prowls the corridors of cheap Canada Goose the abandoned St. Elizabeths Hospital, dives into the archives, dines with present day Italian Canada Goose Online neo fascists who revere Pound and visits Pound’s 90 something year old daughter in canadian goose jacket her castle canada goose in Italy.
Had Swift’s book come out even last year, its subject might seem academic. Treatment Of Mental Illness
If you know any lines by Pound, chances are you know his signature Canada Goose sale modernist mantra: « Make it new. » The sordid events of the past few months make the questions raised by Pound’s long ago behavior « new » all over again.
Swift canada goose uk outlet is an alert and eloquent guide, not only through the thickets of Pound’s difficult poetry, but also through canada goose uk shop the changing treatments of mental Canada Goose Outlet illness in the buy canada goose jacket 20th century. Swift examines medical records, conversations and Canada Goose Coats On Sale Pound’s poetry for evidence of madness which some detractors thought he faked, especially when he began holding literary seminars on Canada Goose Jackets the buy canada goose jacket cheap lawn of St. Elizabeths midway through his 12 year stay.
Much less ambiguous are Pound’s radio broadcasts. canada goose clearance In a broadcast from Rome in April 1943, his message is clear. Pound says: « I think it might be a good thing to hang Roosevelt and a few canada goose factory sale hundred yidds IF you can do it by due legal process. »
Building on the work of other scholars, Swift points out that Pound, even when uk canada goose outlet he was uk canada goose in St. Elizabeths, anonymously contributed around 200 pieces to cheap Canada Goose far right journals and newspapers. In many of them, Swift says, Pound argues the case for eugenics and condemns desegregation as a « fuss. started by Jews. »
So, how do we read and think of Ezra Pound these days, assuming we do? Swift diligently keeps all of Pound’s contradictions in play, resisting a final verdict. The courts, however, were eventually pressured to reach one.
In 1958, Pound was released from St. Elizabeths. The judge in charge ruled that Pound had always been mad and that his condition was incurable. As Swift says, this judgment « hollowed » Pound’s broadcasts and his entire body of poetry « into Canada Goose Parka raving. »
Whether you canada goose clearance sale regard that verdict as a travesty or good riddance or something else, I guarantee that The Bughouse will vex you into thinking more deeply about the relation between an artist’s life and work, and perhaps even about canada goose store the old fashioned question of moral responsibility.