Abstract

Arrested in early May 1945 on charges of treason due to his propagandistic radio broadcasts for wartime Fascist Italy, Ezra Pound’s escape from the hangman in 1945 has been ascribed to a number of factors: his international fame, his mental state at the end of the Second World War and even the vagaries of the treason laws in the USA. However, a clutch of recently released documents—ranging from a 1,513-page FBI dossier to several previously neglected archival holdings—sheds new light on this critical period in the poet’s life. In fact, the whole of 1945 may be described as a “near-death experience” for the infamous rabble-rouser. Yet May 1945 was only the midpoint in Pound’s lengthy allegiance to fascist ideology, an allegiance that may be said to have been at its most intense between his meeting Mussolini in 1933 and his release from St Elizabeths sanatorium in 1958. By taking all three critical periods into account via new archival materials—from 1933 to 1944, over 1945, and from 1946 to 1958—this article will recommend an empirically-grounded approach for heuristically approaching Pound’s “crazy” embrace of fascism.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 83-97
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-11
Open Access
No
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