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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Ezra Pound conspiracy theory

I've been reading The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt, about the city of Venice. It's a lot of fun.

Chapter 9, "The Last Canto," has a conspiracy theory about the fate of many of Ezra Pound's literary papers, which naturally I am sharing with you.

Many of his papers wound up being preserved and placed in collection in a library at Yale University.

Berendt's theory is that an expatriate American, Jane Rylands, took advantage of Pound's mistress, Olga Rudge, by forming the "Ezra Pound Foundation," enriching herself in the process. All of the elements of the theory cannot be proved, because the alleged conspirators concealed some of the evidence.

The three officers of the foundation were Rudge, Rylands and a Cleveland lawyer (not named in the book.) Any decisions of the foundation would be made be a majority vote of the three.
In other words, when Rudge realized that she was being taken advantage of, she was outvoted.

The foundation was dissolved after the papers were sold to Yale. "There were rumors that Yale had paid Jane Rylands a considerable sum of money for the papers, but they were only conjecture." (Page 210).

The Olga Rudge Papers at Yale consist of 208 boxes of materials. Scholars can read the material in 207 boxes. One box, No. 156, has the papers of the Ezra Pound Foundation, and Yale has placed that box off limits until 2016. According to Berendt's book, Rylands and the unnamed Cleveland lawyer insisted upon that condition.


Eric Wagner said...

I didn't read the whole book, but I did enjoy the Pound chapter. I met Olga Rudge and Mary de Rachewiltz in 1985 at the Ezra Pound Centennial in Maine.

michael said...

Thanks for this one, Tom. I had never heard of it!

When Ez got sprung in 1958, his life with women was probably something most of us haven't dealt with. He had his wife Dorothy Shakespear Pound, his mistress Olga Rudge, his daughter Mary, and another poet-acolyte-lover-girlfriend, Marcella Spann, all competing/having to deal with him.

O! The wonderful, horrible life of Pound!

Cain and Todd Benson said...

I did a portrait of the great Ezra Pound which I would like to use to express my thoughts.

Aginnor said...

It's now 2018 ... 2 years last when box 156 was to be opened. Was it? If so, what was on it?