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Sunday, February 7, 2016

New Ezra Pound biography

U.S. Army mug shot of Ezra Pound 

The Wall Street Journal's book section runs an interesting review of a new Ezra Pound biography, Ezra Pound: Poet, Vol. 3, by A. David Moody, completing a three-volume set. The review is by Allan Massie, a prominent Scottish novelist and critic, and in Massie's telling the book is very interesting and well-researched, discussing Pound's later poetry and the controversies over his radio broadcasts and the accusations of treason.

About Pound's imprisonment in a mental hospital, Massie writes,

Many assumed Pound would soon be released. In fact, he remained in the asylum for a dozen years. It was embarrassing to keep “America’s greatest living poet” there. It would have been embarrassing to release a fascist and presumed traitor. It was embarrassing when the Library of Congress awarded him its Bollingen Prize for “The Pisan Cantos.” It was embarrassing when Jewish writers expressed their disapproval of the award. It was embarrassing when Dag Hammarskjold, the secretary-general of the United Nations, said that Pound’s continued incarceration was damaging the image of the United States. In short there was no end of embarrassment.

I've never read any of Massie's books but apparently he's quite a famous writer. Here is Sean Gabb's review of one of Massie's historical novels,  Caesar. 


Anonymous said...

In an occupied land history can only be radical. It is a class issue. Life is ‘occupied’. In a colonized place occupation is throughout society. The closer to the ruling class we get, the less difference there exists in language and culture, until we find that questions fundamental to wholesale society are settled by members of the same circle, even the same family. And the outcome of that can be retarded journalism due to media inbreeding, war, etc. Or, to not paraphrase James Kelman, and quote my daughter:

"It's a hard ducks life, for us!"

Allan Massie, never heard of him.

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