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jeudi, 24 janvier 2019

Ezra Pound’s Guide to Kulchur


Ezra Pound’s Guide to Kulchur

Ezra Pound’s Guide to Kulchur (1938) is one of those unfortunate great books (think Spengler’s Decline of the West and any book by Henry Adams) that is often mentioned but seldom read. The book was meant as a guide to the essential philosophy, art, economics, history, and ethics from Confucius to the 20th century as uniquely interpreted by Pound.

This and the ABC of Reading (1934) constituted the core texts of the “Ezra-versity,” the informal seminars that Pound held before World War II for those acolytes who came to visit him in Rapallo, Italy.

The book is dedicated to two of these acolytes and “graduates” of the Ezra-versity: the British poet Basil Bunting (1900–1985), author of Briggflatts; and the American Jewish poet Louis Zukofsky (1904–1978) whose monumental long poem “A” is the only work comparable in scope and complexity to Pound’s own Cantos.

EPguide.jpgGuide to Kulchur is unique in both its structure and style. Written in Pound’s folksy demotic English that at times seems more akin to Mark Twain or Joel Chandler Harris, the book is arranged in a series of very short chapters that seem to unfold in a haphazard fashion. The book’s form only becomes manifest the longer one reads, and by the end of the book one is amazed at how Pound has managed to weave seamlessly the many strands of Western and ancient Chinese thought.

 [2]For Pound, philosophy and ethics begin with Confucius, particularly the Confucian idea that a well-ordered and moral society is based upon the imperative to call things by their correct names. This may seem like a minor point upon which to build a civilizational edifice, but it is, in reality, nothing less than a commitment to truth telling, a commitment that is sorely at odds with our own postmodern age that has abandoned the search for truth as a sine qua non. For Pound, the commitment to truth telling extends not only to philosophy and the arts but also to economics. His unique and highly critical take on the ancient Greek philosophers (especially Aristotle) stems in no little part, as he sees it, from their inability to conceive of money as other than a means of measurement without a basis in morality. Pound viewed the ancient Greeks as “happy men with no moral fervor”[1] [3] who represented a decline from the seriousness of their Homeric era ancestors.

While Pound’s embrace of Social Credit economics and strong denunciation of usury are well known, the Guide to Kulchur reveals how closely Pound linked together economics and aesthetics. In the very remarkable Chapter 50, entitled “Chaucer Was Framed,” Pound states:

Usury is contra naturam. It is not merely opposition to nature’s
increase, it is antithetic to discrimination by the senses. Discrimination
by the senses is dangerous to avarice. It is dangerous because any
perception or any high development of the perceptive faculties may
lead to knowledge. The moneychanger only thrives on ignorance.
He thrives on all sorts of insensitivity and non-perception.
An instant sense of proportion imperils financiers.[2] [4]

 [5]Pound’s insights are as remarkable as they are prescient. An imperiled aesthetic sense that is incapable of discerning differences of quality and meaning and that cannot sense subtleties of emotion is necessary for a complacent body of fungible consumers who, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

Pound, who viewed the Medieval Church as the highest expression of Western Civilization, likewise saw Calvinist Protestantism as its lowest expression, one that permitted, indeed glorified, usury and the inability to make aesthetic and moral distinctions:

You can, by contrast, always get financial backing for
debauchery. Any form of “entertainment” that debases perception,
that profanes the mysteries or tends to obscure discrimination, goes
hand in hand with drives toward money profit.
It might not be too much to say that the whole of protestant
morals, intertwined with usury-tolerance, has for centuries tended
to obscure perception of degrees, to debase the word moral to a
single groove, to degrade all moral perceptions outside the relation
of the sexes, and to vulgarize the sex relation itself.[3] [6]

What is remarkable here is that Pound was able to see through the practices and goals of the leftist globalists at precisely the time that the right-wing nationalists were at the zenith of their power. These two paragraphs of Pound’s explain why the globalists use pornography as a means to normalize sexual perversions in order to subvert white family formation. They also explain the bread-and-circus nature of the global financiers to keep consumers satiated with cheap toys and gadgets. And finally, Pound was able to ascertain that Calvinist morality has led to an inability of our enemies to be able to make moral distinctions, wherein any disagreement with a leftist, however minor, becomes an example of “hate speech” in which the speaker literally becomes Adolf Hitler. It is also amazing that Pound saw the origin of leftist ideology in Calvinism, and as such, antedates by more than half a century the same conclusion brought by the Neoreactionaries, especially Curtis Yarvin a/k/a Mencius Moldbug.

Pound is a demanding author. He does not suffer fools gladly and he expects his readers to do their homework, but the rewards are many for those readers who are up to the challenge. Guide to Kulchur should be an essential book in the library of every white nationalist. Although written 80 years ago, the book is even more relevant today than it was when it was written, for in the words of its author:

            Liberalism is a running sore, and its surviving proponents
are vile beyond printable descriptions. They have betrayed the “Droits
            de l’homme”, they are more dastardly than Judas . . . .
In our time the liberal has asked for almost no freedom save
the freedom to commit acts contrary to the general good.[4] [7]

I rest my case.


[1] [8] Ezra Pound, Guide to Kulchur (New York: New Directions, 1970 [1938]), p. 330.

[2] [9] Ibid., p. 281.

[3] [10] Ibid., pp. 281–82.

[4] [11] Ibid., p. 254.


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vendredi, 03 août 2018

Pagan Pound


Pagan Pound

The following is the text of a talk given in London on May 27, 2018 at The Poet at War, an event convened by Vortex Londinium.

“We want an European religion. Christianity is verminous with semitic infections. What we really believe is the pre-Christian element which Christianity has not stamped out . . .”[1] [2]

“If a race NEGLECTS to create its own gods, it gets the bump.”[2] [3]

“The glory of the polytheistic anschauung is that it never asserted a single and obligatory path for everyone. It never caused the assertion that everyone was fit for initiation and it never caused an attempt to force people into a path alien to their sensibilities.

 Paganism never feared knowledge. It feared ignorance, and under a flood of ignorance it was driven out of its temples.”[3] [4]

Pound is a forest and one is in need of principles by which to navigate him, otherwise one is apt to lose sight of the wood for the trees, as we say in English. What I shall call Pound’s paganism can, I submit, offer one of the more direct routes into the man and his work, and in particular, into the heart of his most difficult: The Cantos.

At the same time, in the opposite direction, his poetry and prose can bring one to a better understanding of this part of our heritage and its potentialities, and here I intend no narrowly partisan point. By paganism I mean a central stream in European civilization, something that has participated in the formation of Christianity just as much as offering alternative visions of life. To give one example, the theologically fundamental doctrine of the Trinity is arguably a modified form of the Neo-Platonic triad of the One, Intellect, and Soul, in which the latter two emanate from the One and yet both are equivalent to it and yet not equivalent to it. St. Augustine in his Confessions confirms [5] that he and other Christian intellectuals believed thus that the Neo-Platonists had already had an awareness of the persons of the Trinity.

Pound was pagan in three respects. First, he accepted as true ideas from the pre- and non-Christian philosophers. One finds a Neo-Platonic orientation of mind, in the foreground or background, from the very first poem in his first published anthology, “Grace Before Song,” to the very last words of the final Canto, “Canto CXVI”:

To confess wrong without losing rightness:
Charity I have had sometimes,
I cannot make it flow thru.
A little light, like a rushlight
to lead back to splendour.[4] [6]

It is the idea of light as the symbol for a higher form of reality, of a more real reality, which all things may draw closer towards and so perfect themselves – it is this idea that unites how he speaks of the ethical precepts of Confucius, the financial theories of Major Douglas, the politics of John Adams, and the poetry of Cavalcanti, all aids towards the perfected man and the perfected society.

This is that first poem, from A Lume Spento, in 1908:

Lord God of heaven that with mercy dight
Th’alternate prayer wheel of the night and light
Eternal hath to thee, and in whose sight
Our days as rain drops in the sea surge fall,

As bright white drops upon a leaden sea
Grant so my songs to this grey folk may be:

As drops that dream and gleam and falling catch the sun
Evan’scent mirrors every opal one
Of such his splendor as their compass is,
So, bold My Songs, seek ye such death as this.[5] [7]

EP-port2.jpgThe second and obvious respect in which Pound was pagan was that he accepted as valid indigenous images, names, and myths, by which Deity has revealed Itself to the Europeans. He claimed that the only safe guides in religion were Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the writings of Confucius.[6] [8]

Which brings one to the third respect. He was pagan in his ethics, in the sense that he sought precepts that had arisen through tradition, were enshrined in custom, and were implicit in the natural order and man’s place within it. When he was captured by the partisans after the war and assumed he was about to face execution, it was the Analects of Confucius that he took with him, which he considered a better guide to moral behavior than the Bible: “The unshakable wisdom of Confucius . . . in comparison with which Christianity is a fad.”[7] [9]

In Pagan Ethics: Paganism as a World Religion,[8] [10] Professor Michael York unambiguously speaks of Confucianism as a religion, with its principles of solicitous care, decency, and benevolence, and the obverse of the Golden Rule: Do not do to others as you would not have done to yourself. Another example: Act in such a way that your descendants will be glad. In its emphasis on correct relationships between oneself and one’s family, between oneself and those above one and below one in society, between oneself and those who came before one in time, and between oneself and those who will come after one, Pound perceived the same multi-directional communitarian values that he found in Fascism.

Cut to London in the years following 1908, when Pound settled here. With the rise of science and biblical scholarship precipitating a crisis of faith in the mid-nineteenth century, some of the space hitherto occupied by the established denominations began to be filled by mysticism, occultism, and philosophies drawn from earlier times or from other parts of the world; and this was nowhere more evident than within the artistic circles in which Pound would move. The Theosophical Society was founded by Madame Blavatsky in 1875, and one of the emblematic texts of the aesthetic movement, Walter Pater’s work of fiction, Marius the Epicurean, appeared ten years later, providing a fully fleshed-out account of how non-Christian, Classical concepts of spirituality and the Good might be just as valid a way to live well as the prevailing religious norms.

The major source which fed Pound’s development as a religious thinker was, as has been indicated, Neo-Platonism, which is simply the continuation of Plato’s ideas, namely their elaboration and exegesis, principally through Plotinus but also through a host of others, including Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola in Italy, and later through the translations of the eighteenth-century English Neo-Platonist Thomas Taylor, whose books were read by and influenced poets such as Blake, Shelley, and Yeats.

What Pound found within Neo-Platonism was:

  1. The idea of henosis, that is to say union or reunion with the absolute One, which could manifest as a mystical experience. On his deathbed, Plotinus is reported to have summarized his teaching thus: “Try to bring back the god in oneself to the divine in the All.”[9] [11]
  2. The idea that an individual soul has a better, higher, and true self, and that this superior self seeks its return to the One that gave birth to all creation.
  3. The idea that experience results from the tension between the poles of the temporal and the eternal.
  4. The idea that the beauty of the absolute One descends into the beauty of the Platonic world of forms, and is then instantiated in the material world.

It seems Pound was congenitally disposed to such ideas. When interviewed during his stay in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital after his return to America in 1946, he said he had been under the influence of mysticism between the ages of 16 to 24.[10] [12] Later in his life, he wrote two refreshingly precise and disciplined statements of his own philosophy:Religio, or the Child’s Guide to Knowledge (1918) and “Axiomata” (1923). The first is a catechism, a series of simple questions and answers which enunciates a pagan theology as well as any other text of such brevity of which I am aware.


He was drawn to Plotinus because Plotinus defended the value of worldly sensations and attacked their rejection by the Gnostics, who thought physicality evil in some sense. He was drawn to the idea in Plotinus that the beauty of this world is the manifestation of a celestial beauty, which we may not be able to grasp but which is yet a glimpse of a paradise that imparts to us, within a limited time, an unlimited joy.

But unlike Plotinus, who thought that this glimpse into the world of ideal forms was but the penultimate stage in the union with the One, a union with the absolute, an entity without parts or qualities, Pound seemed to believe that this was an unwarranted assumption, which one’s highest experiences neither legitimated nor needed. His type of paganism was without dogmatism or unnecessary abstraction: “To replace the marble Goddess on Her pedestal at Terracina is worth more than any metaphysical argument.”[11] [13]

The vast, sprawling, expansive sequence of poems called The Cantos is Pound’s attempt to fashion a work that embraced all things that seemed relevant, all things that needed to be said. It makes use of twenty-five languages – twenty-six if one includes musical notation. It draws on Dante’s Divine Comedy in the progression from the dark depths to the upper regions; Ovid’s Metamorphoses in the treatment of impermanence and change, and of the human and the mythic; and Homer’s Odyssey, in the hero’s endeavor to succeed over obstacles and achieve victory, and victory not merely in worldly terms.

Plotinus regarded Homer’s Odyssey as a metaphor for the journey of the individual soul to return home into the Great Soul of the absolute, and this became for Pound almost a foundational myth for civilization. The Cantos begins therefore with an account of Odysseus making landfall and offering sacrifice to the gods. Paganism, in its Hellenic manifestation, he saw as the golden thread that ran overtly through the Classical era, covertly through the Middle Ages, and surfaced again in the Renaissance, indeed being implicit alongside the explicit Christianity of his favorite author, Dante Alighieri.

In the essay “Psychology and Troubadours” (1912), he posited a continuity of Classical paganism in the south of France:

Provence was less disturbed than the rest of Europe by invasion . . . if paganism survived anywhere, it would have been, unofficially, in the Langue d’Oc. That the spirit was, in Provence, Hellenic, is seen readily enough by anyone who will compare the Greek Anthology with the work of the Troubadours. They have, in some way, lost the names of the Gods, and remembered the names of lovers.[12] [14]

ep-context.jpgOne recognizes a person that one actually knows by sight, by who the person is, not because of the name. A person may be called by different names yet be the same person still. “Tradition inheres in the images of the Gods, and gets lost in dogmatic definitions . . . But the images of the Gods . . . move the soul to contemplation and preserve the tradition of the undivided light.”[13] [15]

Before I close with a poem, I should like to put forward two conclusions.

First, with the insights into the Cantos offered by Neoplatonic paganism, one can put to one side some of the less inspiring critical readings – that it is a record of a lifetime’s reading, or an old man’s descent into confusion – and it becomes again the epic he intended it to be, the struggle of light against darkness, of heroes with themselves and with the world to reach a blessed place.

And second, with Pound’s veneration for the past and his appetite for the future, for making it new, as he put it, with his courage and capacity for friendship, with the range of his enthusiasms, and the range of what he was not satisfied with, he is an ideal figure to head any movement of European rebirth. And this poem, “Surgit Fama”[14] [16] (“it rises to fame”), seems to be about that more than anything else. The first stanza depicts a stirring in the world, the coming of Korè who is Persephone, the returning and reborn Spring; in consort with Leuconoë, the girl to whom Horace addresses the famous injunction to seize the day, carpe diem.[15] [17] In the second stanza, when the poet tries to render this into verse, he has to resist any superfluity, any unnecessary words that may be circulated as rumor or bent in their meaning, which he feels Hermes may tempt him to, and he addresses himself, exhorting himself to speak true. And in the final stanza that is what he does, when he says how in Delos, the island where it was said Apollo and Artemis were born, once again shall rites be enacted and the story continued.

There is a truce among the Gods,
Korè is seen in the North
Skirting the blue-gray sea
In gilded and russet mantle.
The corn has again its mother and she, Leuconoë,
That failed never women,
Fails not the earth now.

The tricksome Hermes is here;
He moves behind me
Eager to catch my words,
Eager to spread them with rumour;
To set upon them his change
Crafty and subtle;
To alter them to his purpose;
But do thou speak true, even to the letter:

“Once more in Delos, once more is the altar a quiver.
Once more is the chant heard.
Once more are the never abandoned gardens
Full of gossip and old tales.”


[1] [18] Ezra Pound, “Statues of Gods,” The Townsman, August 1939; in William Cookson (ed.), Ezra Pound, Selected Prose 1909-1965 (London: Faber and Faber, 1973), p. 71.

[2] [19] Ezra Pound, “Deus et Amor,” The Townsman, June 1940; Selected Prose, p. 72.

[3] [20] Ezra Pound, “Terra Italica,” The New Review, Winter, 1931-2; Selected Prose, p. 56.

[4] [21] Ezra Pound, The Cantos (London: Faber and Faber, 1975), p. 743.

[5] [22] Michael John King (ed.), The Collected Early Poems of Ezra Pound, ed. Michael John King (London: Faber and Faber, 1977), p. 7.

[6] [23] In a letter from 1922 to Dr. Felix E. Schelling, in D. D. Paige (ed.), The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941 (London: Faber and Faber, 1950), p. 182.

[7] [24] “Statues of Gods,” Selected Prose, p. 71.

[8] [25] Michael York, Pagan Ethics: Paganism as a World Religion (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2016), p. 356.

[9] [26] Porphyry, The Life of Plotinus, in Plotinus, vol. I, trans. Arthur Hilary Armstrong (Cambridge, Mass.: Loeb Classics, Harvard University Press, 1995), p. 7.

[10] [27] Peter Liebregts, Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism (Madison: Rosemont Publishing, 2004), p. 34.

[11] [28] Ezra Pound, “A Visiting Card,” written in Italian and first published in Rome in 1942; the translation by John Drummond was first published by Peter Russell in 1952; Selected Prose, p. 290.

[12] [29] Ezra Pound, The Spirit of Romance (London: Peter Owen, 1952), p. 90.

[13] [30] “A Visiting Card”; Selected Prose, p. 277.

[14] [31] Ezra Pound, Collected Shorter Poems (London: Faber and Faber, 1952), p. 99.

[15] [32] Horace, Odes, I, XI.

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mercredi, 10 mai 2017

Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound’s friendship spanned continents—and ideologies.


The Circuitous Path of Papa and Ezra

Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound’s friendship spanned continents—and ideologies.

Ernest Hemingway, fresh off his marriage to Hadley Richardson, his first wife, arrived in Paris in 1921. Paris was a playground for writers and artists, offering respite from the radical politics spreading across Europe. Sherwood Anderson supplied Hemingway with a letter of introduction to Ezra Pound. The two litterateurs met at Sylvia Beach’s bookshop and struck up a friendship that would shape the world of letters.

They frolicked the streets of Paris as bohemians, joined by rambunctious and disillusioned painters, aesthetes, druggies, and drinkers. They smoked opium, inhabited salons, and delighted in casual soirées, fine champagnes, expensive caviars, and robust conversations about art, literature, and the avant-garde. Pound was, through 1923, exuberant, having fallen for Olga Rudge, his soon-to-be mistress, a young concert violinist with firm breasts, shapely curves, midnight hair, and long eyebrows and eyelashes. She exuded a kind of mystical sensuality unique among eccentric highbrow musicians; Pound found her irresistible.

Pound was known for his loyalty to friends. Although he had many companions besides Hemingway—among them William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Robert McAlmon, Gertrude Stein, e.e. cummings, Pablo Picasso, Wyndham Lewis, T.E. Hulme, William Carlos Williams, Walter Morse Rummel, Ford Madox Ford, Jean Cocteau, and Malcolm Cowley—Hemingway arguably did more than the others to reciprocate Pound’s favors, at least during the Paris years when he promoted Pound as Pound promoted others.

Pound was aware of Hemingway’s talent for publicity: he and Hemingway had combined their genius to promote Eliot’s The Waste Land. Hemingway introduced Pound to William Bird, an American reporter who arranged to publish an autobiographical piece about Pound’s childhood. Bird was instrumental to the eventual publication of Pound’s A Draft of XVI Cantos. Pound, for his part, secured for Hemingway a position as assistant editor of The Transatlantic Review. Their relationship matured into something symbiotic and mutually beneficial.


Pound edited Hemingway’s work, stripping his prose of excessive adjectives. Hemingway remarked that Pound had taught him “to distrust adjectives as I would later learn to distrust certain people in certain situations.” Unlike, say, Conrad Aiken or Robert Frost, who resisted Pound’s editing, Hemingway acquiesced to Pound’s revisions. In exchange, Hemingway taught Pound how to box. He acknowledged that the scraggly Pound had “developed a terrific wallop” and had “come along to beat the hell wit the gloves.” Hemingway worried that “I will get careless and [Pound] will knock me for a row of latrines.” He even treated Pound to a night at the prizefights to brighten Pound’s spirits as Pound battled various illnesses.

Pound, however, grew disillusioned with Paris, where his friends were gravitating toward socialism and communism. Paris, he decided, was not good for his waning health. Hemingway himself had been in and out of Paris, settling for a short time in Toronto. In 1923, accompanied by their wives, Pound and Hemingway undertook a walking tour of Italy. The fond memories of this rejuvenating getaway inspired Pound to return to Italy with his wife Dorothy Shakespear in 1924. They relocated, in 1925, to a picturesque hotel in Rapallo, a beautiful sea town in the province of Genoa, on the bright blue Tigullio Gulf.

Pound found the weather in Rapallo to be soothing and agreeable. It was Hemingway who had first recommended this scenic spot, having visited Sir Max Beerbohm there years before. Hemingway’s tales of the sunshine, swimming, tennis, and other outdoor activity in Rapallo appealed to Pound, who fancied himself an athlete. The fact that his mistress Olga frequented Italy—where her father owned a house—made Rapallo all the more desirable, as did Dorothy’s seeming willingness to share her husband with his lover.


Olga Rudge

The friendship remained intact as Pound settled into Rapallo. About to vacate Europe for Key West, Hemingway dashed off a missive to Pound that began “Dear Duce” and then boasted about how Papa, as people had begun to call Hemingway, was “going to know everything about fucking and fighting and eating and drinking and begging and stealing and living and dying.” Gradually, though, the Pound-Papa gulf widened.

The move to Italy also effectively terminated Pound’s glory years in Paris, about which Hemingway wrote affectionately:

So far we have Pound the major poet devoting, say, one fifth of his time to poetry. With the rest of his time he tries to advance the fortunes, both material and artistic, of his friends. He defends them when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. He loans them money. He sells their pictures. He arranges concerts for them. He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying and he witnesses their wills. He advances them hospital expenses and persuades them from suicide. And in the end a few of them refrain from knifing him at the first opportunity.

This last line is both teasing and fitting because there was, in fact, at least one assailant in Paris who didn’t refrain: a man who attempted to stab Pound at a dinner party hosted by the surrealists.

Hemingway guessed that Pound might stay in Italy “sometime” even if he took “no interest in Italian politics.” Hemingway was right about Pound’s love for Rapallo but wrong about his political affinities. More than anything else, Italian politics—and the rise of fascism—damaged Hemingway’s regard for Pound, who became a zealous supporter of Mussolini and a reckless trafficker in conspiracy theories.

Hemingway grumbled that if Pound “actually and honest to God … admire[d] and respect[ed] … [Mussolini] and his works [then] all I can say is SHIT.” Hemingway, true to character, remained manfully playful, stating, “I will take practical steps by denouncing you here in Paris as a dangerous anti-fascist and we can amuse one another by counting the hours before you get beaten up in spite of your probity—which in such a fine country as it must be would undoubtedly save you.” Such slight criticisms may have been colored with a lighthearted tone, but the disapproval was plain.

When Hemingway and Guy Hickock visited Pound in northern Italy in 1927, Pound was living in self-imposed exile. Hemingway had recently converted to Catholicism and was enjoying renewed fame after the publication of The Sun Also Rises. He divorced and remarried that year, offering Hadley a portion of the profit from The Sun Also Rises as part of their divorce. Pound, meanwhile, was immersing himself in political theories that likely baffled Hemingway as much as they angered him.


Shortly after the stock-market crash in 1929 and the onset of a worldwide economic crisis, Pound took to writing in Italian. Mussolini’s March on Rome had occurred seven years earlier, and since then he had assumed dictatorial control of Italy, suppressed opposition parties, and built a police state. Pound was enthralled. He met Mussolini in 1933, peddling strange monetary schemes to the fascist leader.

In 1933 Pound and Hemingway exchanged letters that highlighted their diverging attitudes toward Mussolini, fascism, and government. Pound, who’d embraced wild and polemical speculations about the economic theories of the American Founders—Jefferson in particular—began to decry capitalism and taxation while celebrating fiat currency and a convoluted system of state central planning. “Since when are you an economist, pal?” Hemingway mocked. “The last I knew you you were a fuckin’ bassoon player.” Hemingway offered Pound some money, sensing that money was needed, but Pound declined it.

Pound was now enamored with Il Duce; Hemingway was furious. Hemingway hated government, he told Pound, and preferred organized anarchism and masculine sport to statist ideology. Hemingway saw through Pound’s charlatanic flourishes and economic fallacies and accused Pound, quite rightly, of lacking clarity. Yet Pound’s admiration for Hemingway’s work did not diminish, and Pound, ever devoted, included Hemingway in an anthology that he was then editing.

Possibly the last time Pound and Hemingway saw each other, they were having dinner with Joyce on a warm summer night in Paris. Pound allegedly bloviated about economics and the decline of art and European civilization, and Hemingway and Joyce feared that Pound had gone mad. The date and details of the dinner are a matter of debate, as is the veracity of any account of that evening. But one thing is certain: Hemingway was frustrated with Pound’s embrace of Italian fascism. By the time Pound voiced support for Franco in the Spanish Civil War, putting him once again at odds with Hemingway, their once thriving friendship had deteriorated beyond repair.

The falling out was no secret, and other writers took sides. William Carlos Williams wrote to Pound in 1938, saying, “It is you, not Hemingway, in this case who is playing directly into the hands of the International Bankers.” Hemingway conveyed his concerns about Pound to their friend Archibald MacLeish:

Thanks for sending the stats of Ezra’s rantings. He is obviously crazy. I think you might prove he was crazy as far back as the latter Cantos. He deserves punishment and disgrace but what he really deserves most is ridicule. He should not be hanged and he should not be made a martyr of. He has a long history of generosity and unselfish aid to other artists and he is one of the greatest living poets. It is impossible to believe that anyone in his right mind could utter the vile, absolutely idiotic drivel he has broadcast. His friends who knew him and who watched the warpeing [sic] and twisting and decay of his mind and his judgement [sic] should defend him and explain him on that basis. It will be a completely unpopular but an absolutely necessary thing to do. I have had no correspondence with him for ten years and the last time I saw him was in 1933 when Joyce asked me to come to make it easier haveing [sic] Ezra at his house. Ezra was moderately whacky then. The broadcasts are absolutely balmy. I wish we could talk the whole damned thing over. But you can count on me for anything an honest man should do.

Hemingway was referring to Pound’s notoriety as a propagandist for radio and newspaper during the Second World War.  When he received transcripts of Pound’s radio broadcasts, he surmised that Pound was “obviously crazy” for espousing such “vile, absolutely idiotic drivel.” Pound was a “crazy … and harmless traitor,” Hemingway concluded, and an “idiot” with a “distracted mind” who “ought to go to the loony bin.” And that’s precisely where Pound ended up: He was admitted to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, in 1945.


Pound’s friends put their reputations at stake to help him. MacLeish, expressing both love and admonition, dashed off these words in a missive to Pound:

… your information is all second-hand and distorted. You saw nothing with your own eyes. And what you did see—Fascism and Nazism—you didn’t understand: you thought Musso belonged in Jefferson’s tradition and God knows where you thought Hitler belonged. I think your views of the history of our time are just about as wrong as views can be. But I won’t sit by and see you held in confinement because of your views. Which is what is really happening now. I am doing what I am doing partly because I revere you as a poet and partly because I love this Republic and can’t be quiet when it violates its own convictions.

MacLeish helped to orchestrate Pound’s release from St. Elizabeth’s, drafting a letter to the government on Pound’s behalf that included Hemingway’s signature, along with those of Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot. A year later Hemingway provided a statement of support for Pound to be used in a court hearing regarding the dismissal of an indictment against Pound.

Hemingway, who was now living in Cuba, did little else to help Pound. More for practical reasons than personal conviction, Hemingway, who was himself targeted by the American government, refused to sign a petition of amnesty for Pound. The petition had been Olga’s idea, and Hemingway didn’t believe the American people would rally behind the desperate pleas of an adulterous lover. Hemingway never visited Pound at St. Elizabeth’s, but he did tell Pound, via Dorothy, that he had read and enjoyed The Pisan Cantos. And when he won the Nobel Prize in 1954, Hemingway announced that the year was good for releasing poets, a not-so-slight reference to his old friend.

Hemingway awoke on the morning of July 2, 1961, put a 12-gauge, double-barreled shotgun to his head, and, alone in the foyer of his home, blew his brains out. He was 61. Pound’s friends and family didn’t tell him about Hemingway’s death, but a careless nurse did, and Pound reacted hysterically. The older of the two, Pound, at 72, was free from St. Elizabeth’s, where he’d spent 12 solemn years. He had returned to his beloved Italy to finish out his long and full life. In the autumn of 1972, he died peacefully in his sleep in Venice, the day after his birthday, which he’d spent in the company of friends.

Allen Mendenhall is an associate dean at Faulkner University Thomas Goode Jones School of Law and executive director of the Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty.

ezra pound grave-turismo lett.jpg

vendredi, 02 septembre 2016

Ezra Pound: décadence des lettres, décadence de la Nation


Ezra Pound: décadence des lettres, décadence de la Nation

Ezra Pound est la figure majeure de la poésie du XXe siècle. Qu’il s’agisse de ses fameux Cantos, comme de ses abécédaires (et de son  Comment Lire), l’œuvre poundienne constitue une incontournable source d’appréhension et de compréhension de la littérature, comme de la poésie. Cela étant, au travers de ses essais et de ses poèmes, Ezra Pound établit à plusieurs reprises une corrélation entre la décadence littéraire d’une nation et la décadence de cette nation elle-même. Si le langage et la littérature entretiennent des liens évidents, Pound remarquait que la régression littéraire engendrait forcément une régression du langage, et fatalement celle de la culture nationale : « si la littérature d’une nation décline, cette nation s’atrophie et périclite ». S’il évoquait déjà subrepticement la question dans Comment lire, c’est dans son ABC de la lecture qu’il aborda au fil des chapitres le drame du déclin littéraire comme déclin national, dans l’indifférence la plus totale, sinon dans la joie de la masse de consommateurs acculturés.

Si Comment Lire était un pamphlet auquel on reprocha cependant de ne pas aller suffisamment au fond des choses, Ezra Pound se rattrapa dans ABC de la lecture qui doit être lu comme un complément au premier livre où il  y développa sa propre doctrine  littéraire, mais surtout sa propre doctrine du langage. Or, comme la littérature est « du langage chargé de sens », la « grande littérature est tout simplement du langage chargé de sens au plus haut degré possible ». Ainsi, pour Ezra Pound, « le Langage a été manifestement créé pour – et sert manifestement à – la communication » (communication ne s’entendant pas dans son acception moderne qu’est celle du marketing, bien évidemment). De la sorte, lorsque la littérature connaît une phase de déliquescence, cela influe fatalement sur le langage, et donc sur la communication entre les hommes. Pire même, c’est la culture de la nation qui subit cet avilissement ; en s’accoutumant au médiocre, l’homme finit par le considérer comme une normalité des plus banales, avant de le confondre avec l’excellence, puisqu’« un peuple qui croît dans l’habitude d’une mauvaise littérature est un peuple sur le point de lâcher prise sur son empire et sur lui-même ».

« L’Homme sensé ne peut rester assis tranquillement à ne rien faire quand son pays laisse mourir sa littérature, quand la bonne littérature ne rencontre que le mépris, de même qu’un bon docteur ne peut avoir la conscience tranquille quand un enfant ignorant est en train de s’inoculer la tuberculose comme s’il s’agissait simplement de manger des tartes à la confiture. »

-Ezra Pound-

ABC-de-la-lecture_8103.jpgLes causes de l’avilissement du langage selon Ezra Pound convergent avec les observations que fit Pasolini quelques années plus tard dans Empirisme Hérétique ; il pointe les dégâts que cause l’Usure, mais aussi le catholicisme qu’il percevait comme une religion castratrice, en prenant comme point d’appui la décadence de Rome qui transforma « de bons citoyens romains en esclaves ». De fait, si Dieu est aussi mort aux yeux de Pound, l’hégémonie culturelle des sociétés modernes est aux mains de la Technique. Si le degré hégémonique de cette dernière indique le niveau de décadence d’une civilisation, Ezra Pound estime que c’est d’abord la littérature, et donc le langage, qui en pâtit la première, car si « Rome s’éleva avec la langue de César, d’Ovide et de Tacite. Elle déclina dans un ramassis de rhétorique, ce langage des diplomates « faits pour cacher la pensée », et ainsi de suite », dit-il dans ABC de la Lecture. La critique d’Ezra Pound ne diffère guère de celle de Bernanos ou de Pasolini sur ce point, outre le fait qu’il aille plus loin dans la critique, n’hésitant pas à fustiger les universités, au moins étasuniennes, comme agents culturels de la Technique, mais aussi l’indifférence navrante de ses contemporains. Le triomphe des Musso, Levy et autre Meyer ne trouve aucune explication logique, tout du moins sous le prisme littéraire. Seules les volontés capitalistes des éditeurs – se cachant sous les jupes du « marché » qu’ils ont pourtant façonné – expliquent leur invasion dans les librairies. Comme il l’affirme dans Comment Lire, « Quand leur travail [des littérateurs, ndlr] se corrompt, et je ne veux pas dire quand ils expriment des pensées malséantes, mais quand leur matière même, l’essence même de leur travail, l’application du mot à la chose, se corrompt, à savoir devient fadasse et inexacte, ou excessive, ou boursouflée, toute la mécanique de la pensée et de l’ordre, socialement et individuellement, s’en va à vau-l’eau. C’est là une leçon de l’Histoire que l’on n’a même pas encore à demi apprise ».

En lançant pareille provocation, Ezra Pound se refusait cependant à tout élitisme. Au contraire, puisqu’il jugeait l’état littéraire d’une nation comme représentative de sa santé culturelle et politique. Il anticipa néanmoins les critiques de ses détracteurs en déplorant qu’« il [soit] très difficile de faire comprendre aux gens cette indignation impersonnelle qui vous prend à l’idée du déclin de la littérature, de ce que cela implique et de ce que cela produit en fin de compte. Il est à peu près impossible d’exprimer, à quelque degré que ce soir, cette indignation, sans qu’aussitôt l’on vous traite « d’aigri » ou de quelque autre chose, du même genre. »

C’est justement cette incapacité à réagir, et même cette propension incompréhensible à applaudir l’avilissement que provoque la culture de masse, qui hérissait Ezra Pound. Le poète s’accorde plusieurs apartés dans Comment Lire où il raille cette hégémonie de la Technique sur la création. Alors que la poésie, et la littérature, sont chargés de sens, il voyait dans l’avènement des pseudo-manuels du bon écrivain non pas une réelle méthodologie comme celles qu’il aborda dans ABC de la Lecture, mais une recette qui fonctionnerait à tous les coups pour fainéants qui souhaiteraient avoir du succès en matière littéraire, au détriment de la connaissance et du savoir. « Le mépris général voué au « savoir », le mouvement de recul du grand public devant tout livre réputé « bon » et, d’autre part, les publicités flamboyantes sur le mode « Comment avoir l’air de savoir quand on ne sait rien », auraient pu indiquer depuis beau temps aux âmes sensibles que quelque chose cloche dans les méthodes contemporaines de diffusion des belles-lettres »

« Un premier larron invente quelque chose, un deuxième met en valeur, ou plusieurs douzaines généralisent un enthousiasme ou une surabondance mousseuse ou onctueuse, après quoi un dernier tente de remettre de l’ordre. Par exemple, l’estimable Pléiade émascule la langue française, et les classiques anglais, etc., toutes choses bonnes à reléguer en zone subsidiaire : intérêt pour une époque, intérêt historique, bric-à-brac pour musées. »

-Ezra Pound-

Littessays.jpgCette glorification de la médiocrité, Ezra Pound la voyait d’autant plus dans la reproduction hédoniste à laquelle s’adonnent certains scribouillards dans le but de connaître un succès commercial. Aujourd’hui, plus que jamais, la réussite d’un genre littéraire entraîne une surproduction incestueuse de ce même genre, comme c’est notamment le cas en littérature de fantaisie, où l’on vampirise encore Tolkien avec autant de vergogne qu’un charognard. Si la « technicisation » de la littérature comme moyen créatif, ou plutôt en lieu et place de toute création, devient la norme, alors, comme le remarquait plus tard Pasolini, cela débouche sur une extrême uniformisation du langage, dans une forme déracinée, qui efface petit à petit les formes sophistiquées ou argotiques d’une langue au profit d’un galimatias bon pour les robots qui présentent le journal télé comme on lirait un manuel technique. Les vestiges d’une ancienne époque littéraire ne sont plus que le fait de compilations hors de prix et d’hommages ataviques afin de les présenter au public comme d’antiques œuvres dignes d’un musée : belles à regarder, mais réactionnaires si elles venaient à redevenir un modèle. Ezra Pound disait que « le classique est le nouveau qui reste nouveau », non pas la recherche stérile d’originalité qui agite la modernité comme une sorte de tautologie maladive.

mercredi, 21 octobre 2015

"Canto XIII - Canto 13" by Ezra Pound (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

"Canto XIII - Canto 13" by Ezra Pound (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

Kung is Confucius who presents an ideal social order based on ethical principles "good is right" rather than on political realism "might is right". You notice that present day society - particularly in dealings between nations - works on the basis of political realism with only the pretence of ethical principles. The rich and the powerful have the best weapons. the best lawyers and can withstand deprivation the longest, so they manage to win. There's a good exposition of the kung-fu philiosophy of government here:

One of the sayings I like best - although it's really Taoism, but Kung could easily have said it too - "The wise man does everything while appearing to do nothing" We all take too much action. Often the best thing to do is nothing.

You can read more about Ezra Pound's cantos and radical ideas here:

lundi, 25 mai 2015

Ezra Pound and the Corporate State


Ezra Pound and the Corporate State

In a modern world subject to the numerical vagaries of bad credit and unbalanced algorithms, the Fibonacci number offers a pattern of sanity and intrigue. Know also as the Golden Spiral, this pattern appears as a perfect and dynamic model of order visible in creation, yet also demonstrates the intriguing attribute of having no beginning and no end. The spiral implies that from the micro to the macrocosm exist a fundamental and unbroken connection, implying a correlation between the health of one’s cellular structure and the socio-political forms of global order. Whereas Aristotle spoke of the Golden Mean, the Golden Spiral describes arrangements of natural phenomena ranging from the seed pod arrangement of a pinecone to spiral galaxies such as the milky way.

Somewhere along this ‘divine proportion’ has emerged what the great American poet Ezra Pound called a “canker corrupting all things”, leaving both cell and state compromised. CONTRA NATURAM! Lincoln called it “a black spot on the soul of a nation”. What Pound refers to is a subject and condition that has been poisoning the worlds cellular structure since homo sapien emerged, but has been successfully resisted until the past millennium brought forth an overpowering method of human economic interaction that is guaranteeing the eventual ecological collapse of the earth, with social collapse already a global visible phenomenon. It is an age which Pound says is characterized by the need “to sell, and sell quickly”. The acceleration of industry by usury which the modern world is built upon has led to the securitization of vast swathes of the earth’s surface, bringing forth untold trillions of apparent wealth, while leaving behind poisonous rivers and species extinction; an age in which even the air is tainted with industrial excess. Debt, the delayed contact with reality, allows men to profit off the future, Pound says to “rake in the profits resulting from changes in the values in the monetary units”. A 2006 US senate report noted that as much as 60% of the oil price rise since the early 2000’s were due to the activities of investment banks speculating on the oil futures market.

The poet offers us a Malapartian blend of fact and fiction, a tapestry weaving together historic truths with intelligent composition, creating the epic of the Cantos written over 50 years. His writings offer insights into economics, history, culture and the meaning of language. His enemy is usury, the enemy of freedom, his allies – none save his mind, which was declared lost in 1945, “when the raft broke and the waters went over me”, a charge which inspired the poet towards greater heights. Pound begins Cantos XLV “With usura hath no man a house of good stone each block cut smooth and well fitting that design* might cover their face”. If the absence of design is the mark of finance-capitalism then one understands that there is no end goal in sight, no purpose to be fulfilled, just rampant profiteering.”With usura is no clear demarcation” declares the poet; the lines between low and high, between ugly and beauty, between extinction and survival have been severed.

Discrimination, as Ian Dallas writes, forms the basis of sanity. R.D. Laing defined madness as the sane response to an insane situation. The madness of contemporary leadership is evident in their fundamentalist belief held in the magical brilliance of paper-money and democracy, while increasingly vast slums of the urban poor lead to new warfighting doctrines being developed by the state. Civil unrest, poverty and the imposition of draconian laws by a self serving state mean that the masses find themselves in a situation where citizen and terrorist are both addressed via uniform methods owing to budget-deficit enforced standardization protocols. In America, SWAT teams were once present only in the largest cities, now every mid sized city has one, routinely employing them in day to day activities such as the serving of warrants, with deadly consequences. Matt Apuzzo writes that “police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” with the result that the hardened American soldier returning home finds airport security using the same M4 assault rifles as he used in Afghanistan.

Pound writes that “with usura hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall”. With empty churches being converted to banks across Europe, and banks built like cathedrals, a paradise aspired to has become a laughed at chapter in history. Marx wrote that money has itself been endowed “with the properties of a quasi-religious nature”. Sheldon Wolin writes that under the corporate state “a giant corporation includes prayer sessions for its executives while evangelicals meet in franchised congregations while millionaire preachers extol the virtues of capitalism”

Paraphrasing Karl Polanyi, the American activist Chris Hedges writes that capitalism “turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities. This ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The ecosystem and human beings become objects whose worth is determined solely by the market. They are exploited until exhaustion or collapse occurs. A society that no longer recognizes that the natural world and life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves.” The internal cannibalism of the united states, as evident in such dreadful carcass of Detroit testify to the reality of great lands under siege by usura.

If we may take a democratic approach to world history we may find interest in the fact that the majority have for the majority of the time found value in the belief that behind the perceived order or disorder of existence lay something beyond themselves, a sacred ‘design’ around which were built temples and civilizations. The loss of the divine has not been without consequence. James Mossman’s suicide note famously read “I can’t bear it any more, though I don’t know what ‘it’ is.”

The towering figure of Sheldon Wolin, a retired political science professor from Yale, has called the phenomena of our free society an “inverted totalitarianism” which stands in direct comparison with the classic totalitarianism of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. His extraordinary book of the same name explores layer by layer the social outcomes of advanced finance-capitalism as reflected in the world greatest inverted totalitarian regime, the land of his birth. What he documents is a phase in social organization that every capitalist state will eventually pass through, en route to harsher forms of control and financial insecurity. The correlation of debt to totalitarianism seems to be in the 21st century a valid theorem when evaluating the social costs of capitalism.



The defend the present with reference to socialisms failure is to divert attention from the de facto extension of state control over life towards the utopian belief in social and political freedom enshrined in a humanist doctrine espousing liberty, de jure. Inverted totalitarianism is the outcome of “investing de facto power with authority”. When money is power, government becomes the formal face of governance, but is itself beholden to real power originating elsewhere. In the inverted totalitarianism created by finance-capitalism, “economics trumps politics” as opposed to classical totalitarianisms where the economy is an instrument in the service of the political leader. Wolin writes that in this system “the leader is not the architect of the system but its product”.

The question of debt is not some sentimental affair dramatised by the stage antics of Bono and Blair, nor private in the case of ones personal debt or the national debt as a technical problem concerning the citizen of “his” nation. Patriotism quickly vanishes when the reality of the corporate state is understood. The question of debt reaches into the very DNA of the modern state and can be seen as the cause and effect of much social ill as well as the inevitable driver of every capitalist state towards harsher forms of control. Debt has been likened to a delayed contact with reality. This places today’s much vaunted ‘personal freedoms’ into a saner context: one day it will catch up with us because the imbalance that promotes unconstrained sexual freedom is the same that allows the unconstrained rape of the ecosystem.

As the corporate state oversees the wholesale sale of the nation and its prosperity, the resulting disintegration will necessitate the fusion of corporate monopoly with the security apparatus of the state, leading to the inverted totalitarianism of capitalist society. The media will explain that certain restrictions and draconian laws will be implemented in order to save our free societies. To prepare us for our the protection of our freedoms the state will offer us democratic accountability: the narrative states that our debt is the reason that we are collapsing as a society, a truth experienced personally by billions of the worlds poor. Cutbacks to pay off debt means that social welfare becomes a distant memory and decent jobs a privilege reserved for the faithful few. We will all pay the price as a collective, and we will maintain the respect for the law as is befitting a nation, and that those who do not endure patiently the remedy, will be processed by an efficient legal system which makes outlaws of those flaws in the system.

The privatized prison industry is one of the most worrying indicators of social malfunction. The constraint effects of debt and the jail cell were both issues experienced by the poet. “No man who has passed a month in the death cells believes in cages for beasts”, Pound said of his time in the open air holding cells of the American military. The death-cell was the experience given to Pound by the incipient American corporate state. His freedom denied, Pound found in his shackles the reality of the corporate state; those who trespass beyond the narrow confines of the economic motif fall outside the definitional framework of a money-civilization and are incarcerated; the dangerous masses through debt and exceptional individuals within concrete walls.


Whereas Carl Schmitt spoke of the ‘total state’ penetrating every aspect of society, Wolin speaks to us of a corporate state where every aspect of human life, from religion to culture, to people, become commodified, becomes exploitable, to turn a profit. When every aspect of life becomes subject to an economic determinism, when our impulses and physical movements are all in tune with market forces, then the corporate state has imposed a brilliant coup de etat, in effect rewriting society according to the dictates of one aspect of the human existence; making money, and exalted it above all else, creating the one dimensional man who’s dependence upon credit fosters the necessity of the credit industry. Matt Tabibi writes of America showing a “culture that is slowly giving in to a futuristic nightmare ideology of computerized greed and unchecked financial violence.”

If the illogical drive towards ecological collapse is not the intention of the financial elite, then we may find uncomfortable comfort in Wolin’s explanation that this system is perpetuated by “power-holders and citizens who often seem unaware of the deeper consequences of their actions or inaction”. This economic determinism underpinning the subconscious of modern man is visible at the political level where any social challenge is addressed via recourse to a ‘budget’ allocation. Where the destruction of Amazonian rainforests are measured in the billions of dollars and where climate change proposals are ignored as too expensive.

Survival is an instinct which has been lost by economic man. This was not lost on Carl Schmitt who witnessed the political extinction of a German republic which could not protect itself against an adversary using constitutional means to destroy the constitution. His nation’s fascist destiny was not beyond the powerful undercurrents of a European civilization succumbing to ‘market forces’. Karl Polanyi wrote that “fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function.”

Whereas Carl Schmitt sought to protect the “political” from the corroding affects of a financial philosophy of history, Wolin writes that in the corporate state “It is politics all of the time but a politics largely untempered by the political”, low voter turnout but a simple indicator that the uneducated masses even know that what they are given as politics” is a media spectacle necessary for the holographic flame of democracy to stay lit. With the death of politics traditionally understood, anacyclosis as defined by Polybius has been supplanted by market forces, with its own cyclical logic visible on the stock market.

The corporate state may be defined as a mixed constitution of plutocracy, oligarchy and democracy with a state security apparatus which serves the front of the most powerful interests within that state. While a mixed constitution might appear as the recommended means of fostering stability by delaying the painful stages of political cycles, the peculiar nature of financial capitalism fosters a regime which Polybius would have rejected outright as tyrannical in the extreme; one of his negative regimes favoring the few over the many; the corporate state is by design anti-democratic.


Pound wrote that “The Scientists are in terror and the European mind stops”. It is significant that the monied narrative struck at the popular heart of western civilization by examining in minute details the debt problems in modern Greece. Our prized rationality itself seems to be undergoing restructuring as the home of the Acropolis sees right wing thugs carrying clubs and knives to “cleanse” the streets of this once great city. That citizens might employ vigilante violence against non-Greeks to cure a problem caused by the diseased logic of fiat money means that modern education has successfully forced us to equate squares with triangles, allowing easy reception to that other equation of freedom equals democracy and free markets. According to Wolin, inverted totalitarianism is the inevitable political form of capitalism.

In the maelstrom of these unfolding events, society should remember that even the Ancients Greeks had divine recourse; inscribed above the entrance of the Temple of Apollo was the exhortation “know thyself”, and as millions of activists worldwide strive to correct these wrongs, we would do well to remember the exhortation of Odysseus; “hold fast, my heart, you have endured worst suffering”.

*design/delight according to different versions of the text

Spanish version below

See also this old interview with Sheldon Wolin, and then buy his book

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wlHB6jSe7s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6HMQM7Lo58

Featured image from https://shapersofthe80s.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/roberts-vorticistseiffel1915.jpg

samedi, 22 novembre 2014

Un poète rebelle, immortel et toujours debout

Un poète rebelle, immortel et toujours debout

Auran Derien
Ex: http://metamag.fr

pound35.jpgAu mois de novembre 1972, disparaissait le génial Ezra Pound dont la lutte contre l’usure fut une direction fondamentale de la vie et de l’œuvre. Les Cantos prohibidos (Chants interdits) sont une création poétique admirable qu’aucun usurier ne pourra faire oublier malgré les efforts pour salir tout ce qui est beau, noble et généreux. La haine des banksters s’est traduite par la proclamation que Pound était un “malade mental” qui fut enfermé dans un établissement pour psychopathes. 

Le poète fuit le grand asile d’aliénés

Ezra Loomis Pound naquit aux Etats-Unis dans l’Etat d’Idaho en 1885 et mourut à Venise en novembre 1972. S’il a été la plus grande gloire littéraire jamais née dans ce pays, il fut le plus européen de tous ses écrivains. Peu après la fin de ses études (Université de Pennsyvania), il édita la revue “Poetry” dans laquelle il fit connaître entre autres William Butler Yeats et Thomas Stearns Eliot. Il quitta les Etats-Unis en 1911, quasi définitivement. Il y retourna contraint et forcé après la seconde guerre mondiale.

Il s’installa en Angleterre où il fonda le mouvement “imagisme” et en rédigea, en 1914, la première anthologie Hommage à Properce où il parle de la décadence de l’Empire Romain. Il prophétisa ensuite la chute de l’Empire britannique dans “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley”. Il évolua lentement vers une perception “vorticiste”, mouvement qu’il opposa aux esthétiques antérieures ainsi qu’au conservatisme anglais. Tout naturellement, le vorticisme voulait être une esthétique appropriée au monde de son temps. L’œuvre principale, la plus connue, les Cantos, contient 117 poèmes dont la rédaction s’étale de 1917 à 1968. On y découvre l’envergure prodigieuse de son talent et l’immensité de sa culture. Il y utilise les principales langues européennes ainsi que le mandarin, qu’il maîtrisait au même titre que l’arabe. Quoique l’anglais prédomine, il se sert abondamment d’expressions provençales, grecques, latines, françaises, espagnoles et surtout italiennes, affirmant que certaines idées doivent être exprimées dans leur langue initiale pour ne pas les altérer. On est loin ici des camarillas contemporaines pour lesquelles la traduction mensongère est la base du commerce de niaiseries pieuses. Les mafias s’abattront sur lui, authentique génie - hors du commun - de la littérature du XXème siècle. Le motif de la haine fut que, depuis l’Italie qu’il aimait tant, il parla à Radio Rome durant la seconde guerre mondiale, incitant les USA à ne pas entrer dans le conflit puis se faisant l’avocat d’une paix honorable. Lorsque l’Italie fut envahie par l’armée US avec l’aide de la mafia italienne, Pound fut arrêté, enfermé dans une cage exposée aux intempéries. On n’oubliera pas qu’aux Etats-Unis il fut condamné à la prison pour trahison. Parce que le monde de la culture devait beaucoup au poète, quelques personnalités dont Hemingway, qu’on saluera donc au passage, obtinrent son transfert dans un hôpital psychiatrique. Lorsqu’il put enfin sortir, il abandonna les USA au profit de l’Italie qui avait été une Patrie adoptive. En arrivant il promit de ne plus faire de déclarations, après avoir affirmé que finalement il avait pu sortir d’un asile d’aliénés peuplé de 180 millions d’habitants. On se souviendra aussi qu’en descendant du bateau Christophe Colomb qui le déposa à Naples le 9 juillet 1958, il salua à la Romaine sa patrie d’adoption. 

Un écrivain maudit

Cantos_Ezra_Pound.jpgSi Pound n’est pas apprécié dans les médias, la raison en est son immense lucidité. Il a accepté la responsabilité historique d’écrire à contre courant, d’être un rebelle à temps complet. Son talent secouait la médiocrité et le mensonge. Son œuvre fonctionne comme un miroir dans lequel les trafiquants voient leur infâmie. Tout cela a été délégitimé par l’industrie du spectacle et les prédicateurs médiatiques. L’écrivain contemporain, celui pour qui les lobbys obtiendront un prix “ en souvenir de Nobel”, n’est plus qu’un propagandiste du meilleur des mondes. Pound reste l’ultime manifestation de l’esprit, incarne l’aède antique même si en ce moment les shopping center ont remplacé le forum.

Mais l’œuvre est là, les “Cantos prohibidos” contre l’usure ont été formulés, le poète est toujours debout, immortel. Il en sera ainsi jusqu’à ce que ces chants fassent tomber les murs des marchés spéculatifs, envoient les usuriers dans des marmites remplies d’eau où ils finiront en bouillie comme l’ont mérité, au cours du temps nombre, de faux-monnayeurs.

vendredi, 31 octobre 2014

«Il mio amico Pound ha ragione»

«Il mio amico Pound ha ragione»

di Adriano Scianca 
Ex: http://augustomovimento.blogspot.com
«“Ma qvesto”,
disse il Duce, “è divertente”
afferrando il punto prima degli esteti».
L’incipit del canto 41 in cui Ezra Pound rievoca il suo incontro con Benito Mussolini (the Boss, nella versione originale) avvenuto esattamente 80 anni fa costituisce da sempre un vero rompicapo per gli storici e i letterati. Se la “v” in “qvesto” sembra alludere in parte alla romanità e in parte al marcato accento romagnolo di Mussolini (un particolare, quest’ultimo, che viene sottolineato proprio per segnare ulteriormente la natura popolare e popolana del capo del fascismo e la conseguente distanza tra lui e “gli esteti”), il giudizio si riferisce, come noto, alla lettura, da parte del Duce, dei primi 30 Cantos. Ma facciamo un passo indietro.
Informazioni di prima mano su Mussolini, al di là di ciò che il poeta leggeva nei giornali e vedeva per le strade, Pound le aveva avute da Olga Rudge, che già nel 1923 aveva suonato il violino per il leader fascista, riportandone un’opinione lusinghiera: il Capo di Stato appariva alla musicista americana come un uomo politico illuminato, amante dell’arte, che sapeva a sua volta suonare il violino e sembrava molto competente della materia per essere un profano. Tali racconti dovevano aver fatto grande presa su Pound, che da sempre auspicava una politica più attenta al mondo dell’arte e della cultura. Nei primi anni Trenta il poeta, come detto in precedenza, cominciò a muoversi per cercare di incontrare Mussolini. Anni dopo cercherà di fare altrettanto con Roosvelt, senza riuscirci. Con Mussolini dovette insistere un bel po’, ma alla fine lo incontrò (ulteriore conferma, ai suoi occhi, della superiorità dell’Italia fascista sull’America democratica), precisamente il 30 gennaio 1933, alle 17.30.
Il poeta portò a Mussolini una copia dei canti 1-30. Il Duce li sfogliò, lesse per un po’, poi esclamò: «È divertente». Il commento appare a prima vista naif, superficiale, quasi irridente. Tale, almeno, è sembrato negli anni ai soloni della cultura. Non così all’autore dei Cantos, che proprio a questo episodio dedicherà l’incipit del canto 41 che abbiamo già visto precedentemente. Come spiegare l’entusiasmo di Pound? I più propendono per l’accecamento puro e semplice del poeta di fronte al suo eroe, ma forse che le cose stanno diversamente. Secondo Tim Redman, infatti, Mussolini era rimasto colpito da un passaggio in cui un personaggio dei Cantos parla in dialetto e aveva chiesto di cosa si trattasse. Dopo la spiegazione, il Duce si mise a ridere e disse che la cosa era divertente. Pound rimase folgorato e il perché ce lo ha spiegato di recente la figlia Mary: «Solo pochi giorni prima Joyce si era lamentato con mio padre perché nessuno gli aveva detto che l’Ulysses era divertente. Bisogna conoscere i retroscena». Antonio Pantano, invece, ha ricondotto il divertimento di Mussolini alla comprensione del metodo poundiano per eliminare le imposte, tassando direttamente il denaro con il ben noto meccanismo della moneta prescrittibile. Eliminare le tasse: quale governante non riterrebbe questo “divertente”?
Nello stesso incontro, comunque, pare che Mussolini e Pound abbiano discusso di cultura cinese e del concetto confuciano del “mettere ordine nelle parole” per mettere ordine nelle idee. Al che Mussolini, evidentemente molto ben ispirato, quel giorno, chiese al poeta perché mai volesse mettere ordine nelle sue idee, confermando a Pound l’impressione di stare parlando con un uomo geniale. Idea che molti commentatori hanno giudicato ingenua, anche se uno studioso non certo fascisteggiante come Hugh Kenner ha potuto scrivere: «Nel 1933 sembrava possibile credere che Benito Mussolini comprendesse queste nozioni. Forse, in un certo senso, era così». Anche il fatto che Pound lo chiamasse “the Boss” (ma altre volte utilizzava nomignoli come “Mus” o “Ben” oppure, curiosamente, lo appellava “il toro”) non va trascurata: Pound, evidentemente, riconosceva nel capo del fascismo anche il proprio capo.
La convocazione dell’udienza venne appesa nello studio di Pound, mentre sulla carta da lettere finì la frase mussoliniana «la libertà è un dovere», liberty, a duty. Nel 1945, nei primi interrogatori con il comando militare americano, ricostruirà ancora una volta l’incontro con Mussolini, sbagliando la data ma aggiungendo ulteriori particolari: «Intorno al 1929, ho avuto un’udienza con Benito Mussolini che era a conoscenza del mio libro “Guido Cavalcanti” che gli avevo presentato l’anno prima. Lui pensava di discutere di quello, ma io invece gli ho sottoposto una serie di domande di argomento economico molto incalzanti». Altre richieste di colloquio finirono invece nel vuoto, spesso bloccate sul nascere dalla segreteria del Duce, decisamente poco a suo agio di fronte alla prosa creativa dei testi che il poeta continuava a inviare a Mussolini. Eppure il nome di Pound ricorre più di una volta in un testo centrale per la comprensione del pensiero del capo del fascismo: i Taccuini mussoliniani di Yvon De Begnac. Come noto si tratta della mole sterminata di appunti che il giovane giornalista conservò in occasione dei suoi colloqui con Mussolini avvenuti fra il 1934 e il 1943. Da questi taccuini avrebbe dovuto infine nascere una biografia del Duce che non vide mai la luce per le contingenze storiche, mentre gli appunti vennero in seguito pubblicati così come erano, con lunghi monologhi privi di domande sugli argomenti più disparati. E in tutto questo, come detto, compare più volte il nome di Pound. La citazione più importante recita, fra l’altro:
«Il mio amico Ezra Pound ha ragione. La rivoluzione è guerra all’usura. È guerra all’usura pubblica e all’usura privata. Demolisce le tattiche delle battaglie di borsa. Distrugge i parassitismi di base, sui quali i moderati costruiscono le loro fortezze. Insegna a consumare al modo giusto, secondo logica di tempo, quel che è possibile produrre. Reagisce alle altalene del tasso di sconto, che fanno la sventura di chi chiede per investire nell’industria, e aumenta il mondo del risparmio, riducendone il coraggio, contraendone la volontà di ascesa, incrementandone la sfiducia nell’oggi, che è più letale ancora della sfiducia nel domani. Allorché il mio amico Ezra Pound mi donò le sue “considerazioni” sull’usura, mi disse che il potere non è del danaro, o del danaro soltanto, ma dell’usura soltanto, del danaro che produce danaro, che produce soltanto danaro, che non salva nessuno di noi, che lancia noi deboli nel gorgo dalla cui corrente altro danaro verrà espresso, come supremo male del mondo. Aggiunse in quel suo italiano, gaelico e slanghistico, infarcito di arcaismi tratti da Dante e dai cronachisti del trecento, che il potere del danaro e tutti gli uomini di questo potere regnano su un mondo del quale hanno monetizzato il cervello e trasformato la coscienza in lenzuoli di banconote. Il danaro che produce danaro. La formula del mio amico Ezra Pound riassume la spaventosa condizione del nostro tempo. Il danaro non si consuma. Regge al contatto dell’umanità. Nulla cede delle proprie qualità deteriori. Contamina peggiorandoci in ragione della continua salita del suo corso tra i banchi e le grida della borsa nelle cui caverne l’umano viene, inesorabilmente, macinato. Il mio amico Pound ha le qualità del predicatore cui è nota la tempesta dell’anno mille, dell’anno “n volte mille” sempre alle porte della nostra casa di dannati all’autodistruzione. La lava del denaro, infuocata e onnivora, scende dalla montagna che il cielo ha lanciato contro di noi, mi ha detto il mio amico Pound; e nessuno, tra noi, si salverà. Il mio amico Pound ha continuato con voi, come mi avete detto, nella casa romana dello scrittore di cose navali Ubaldo degli Uberti, l’analisi di come il danaro produce soltanto danaro, e non beni che sollevino il nostro spirito dalla palude nella quale il suo potere ci ha immerso. Non è ossessione la sua. Nessun uomo saggio, se ancora ne esistono, ha elementi per dichiarare esito di pericolosa paranoia il suo vedere, tra i blocchi di palazzi di Wall Street e tra le stanze dei banchieri della City, le pareti indistruttibili dell’inferno di oggi. I Kahn, i Morgan, i Morgenthau, i Toeplitz di tutte le terre egli vede alla testa dell’armata dell’oro. Pound piange i morti che quell’esercito fece. E vorrebbe sottrarre a ogni pericolo tutti noi esposti alla furia del potere dell’oro. Con il vostro amico Pound ho parlato di quello che Peguy ha scritto contro il potere dell’oro. Conosce quasi a memoria quelle pagine. Ne recita brani interi, senza dimenticarne alcuna parola. Il suo francese risale agli anni parigini in cui la gente di New York, di Boston, emigrata a Parigi, pensava ancora che l’occidente fosse fra noi. Illusa, quella gente, che scegliendo Parigi, il potere dell’oro sarebbe andato per stracci, almeno per questi migranti della letteratura. È, quel francese di Pound, come un prodotto del passato, come una denuncia del troppo che stiamo dimenticando, tutti noi che corriamo il rischio, o che già lo abbiamo corso, di finire maciullati dal potere dell’oro».


jeudi, 16 octobre 2014

Ezra Pound on Endless Trial


Ezra Pound on Endless Trial

By Alex Fontana casillo

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Robert Casillo
The Genealogy of Demons: Anti-Semitism, Fascism, and the Myths of Ezra Pound [2]
Evanston, Ill: Northwestern University Press, 1988.

Robert Casillo’s The Genealogy of Demons is unique in Pound studies because the explicit purpose of it is to give critical insight into Pound’s anti-Semitism, and it accomplishes this by way of multiple techniques, which it must employ, because Pound’s anti-Semitism is prismatic. A great many games are played herein to discredit Pound’s views on the Jews, although this is sophistic liberal revisionism and intellectual masturbation at a very high level. For example: “One might view Pound’s anti-Semitism as in part a revolt against the punitive parental rival and superego, a conflict between the religion of the forbidding father Jehovah and that of the messianic son” (Casillo, p. 287).

Casillo often relies on Freudian psycho-babble. Advanced Frankfurt School techniques are not the limit of his probing deconstruction, but they are the preferred method. Nevertheless one can learn much from Casillo’s efforts — specifically his work on detailing the thought of French fellow travelers Charles Maurras and Maurice Bardèche. The earlier chapters are especially rewarding as they are the prologue to the trial, thus they are concerned with establishing the relevant background information, the intellectual anti-Semitic precedents and proto-fascistic streams of thought that foreshadowed and shaped Pound’s thinking. The later chapters then seek to wrap the a priori guilty verdict — of Pound’s insistent ‘demonological’ anti-Semitism — in a nice bow.

As a Ph.D. in literature, you might expect Casillo to shy away from social-historical analysis of the validity of anti-Semitism and instead rely upon highly creative abstract devices to explain away this “irrational phenomenon” — and you would be right. For that is exactly the type of analysis that Casillo employs. Never does Casillo ask it it is possible that Pound blamed usury first and those who monopolized the mechanism secondly, or if, by way of studying the Social Credit economic system of Major C. H. Douglas, Pound was led to what Jonathan Bowden delightfully called the opposite of philo-Semitism. For Casillo, as for those who refuse to awaken to the reality of Jewish subversion and usury, there is a missing link.

By way of illustration, take a brief snapshot of the current situation in Argentina, which I plan on detailing in a forthcoming essay for Counter-Currents. While Argentina defaulted on $81 billion in 2001, as a result of President Menem’s neoliberal (laissez-faire) reforms, which allowed for the IMF and World Bank to secure short-term investments with the accompanying liberalizing policies of privatizing state enterprises, and constriction of government monetary policy. All this really means is that by breaking down the autarky of the nationalist-socialist strain of Argentina — most fully expressed in Peronism — the IMF and the World Bank enabled the country to slide $155 billion dollars in debt through securing short-term loans which artificially inflated the value of the Peso and simultaneously disabled government control on how the loans could be withdrawn. Essentially, foreign investors poured their money into Argentina only to pull the rug out when the dividends reached a certain level of profitability. This left bonds on the market at heavily discounted prices, which the vulture capitalists (economic terrorists) then acquired.

When we observe the facts, that the debt holders came forward to claim their pound of prime triple A Argentinian flesh, it was none other than the usual suspects: Paul Elliott Singer, a real New York Jew and CEO of Elliott Management Corp, who is described by Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez as a “vulture capitalist” and whose “principal investment strategy is buying distressed debt cheaply and selling it at a profit or suing for full payment,”[1] and another tribesman Mark Brodsky of Aureilus Capital. Fellow tribesman George Soros has emerged as another of the bond buyers who is suing BNY Mellon for withholding funds from the initial settlement with Argentina. Of course calling the whole thing a criminal enterprise, which will negatively impact millions of Argentinians for generations and enrich a few investors like Soros and Singer, is beyond the pale. But not to worry, because the tribe has one of their own inside: Axel Kicillof, the economic minister of Argentina, overseeing the whole transaction of a nation’s wealth into the pockets of some Jewish hedge fund types. It is hard to avoid conclusion that the facts are anti-Semitic.

Unsurprisingly, israelnationalnews.com is quick to join a growing cacophony blaming the victim, Argentina, for the country’s woes.[2] This is not unlike the NSDAP’s post-WWI claim that Germany was stabbed in the back by Jewish financiers, who sought to gain economic leverage over the nation by plundering it into debt and destabilizing the Second Reich. But the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy is, according to the Frankfurt School analysis, the result of projection and scapegoating by the German people because of their loss in the war. Never mind that Bavaria fell to the Reds in 1919, first under a Jewish socialist in Kurt Eisner then into a bloody regime of Bolsheviks under the Jew Eugen Levine, with fellow tribesmen Ernst Toller and Gustav Landaver filling out the vanguard, murdering Countess Heila von Westarp [3] and Prince Gustav of Thurn and Taxis [4], among others. The strategy detailed in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which many commentators have suggested that despite being a “forgery” conforms to reality. But then the facts are anti-Semitic!

Now the Casillo types would point to these assertions of a Jewish strategy of domination as fanatical delusions, processes of psychological projection and scapegoating for failed artistic types (Pound and a certain Austrian corporal come to mind). Liberals (I use the term broadly) like to play the individualist card and don’t employ notions of groups or peoples or essences (stereotypes), which to them seems a highly barbaric and unenlightened form of thinking. Singer, Brodsky, and Soros are individuals who conform to negative stereotypes and not representatives of the Jewish people as a whole — while the Jews refuse to hold their own to the fire. Pound, however, understood the distinction between the “big Kikes” and the “little Yids” but still managed to see the forest as well as the trees.

Individualism vs. collectivism is the great divide between the Semitic Freud and the European Jung. Jung was able to image a collective unconscious that is a social-historical aspect of the psyche, while Freud could only imagine the isolated individual struggling with his neurosis. Jung was social, while Freud was anti-social. Pound sides with Jung, who, like Pound, would likely look upon individual Jewish usurers — Rothschilds, Soros, Kuhn, Warburgs, Sachs, etc. — and see not only individuals but archetypes or mythologized symbols of Jewish subversion of Western civilization as it has morphed into different forms through the centuries. The essence is the constant, or as Jung would write: “Because the behavior of a race takes on its specific character from its underlying images, we can speak of an archetype.”[3]

But Pound was not an individualist thinker. He did not see himself or others as isolated individuals concerned only with their own morality and conscience. Pound was a European thinker, whose thought worked in the poetic language of myth and tradition: “The Pound-Eliot ‘revolution’ was a return to the past in order to renew the links connecting past and present.”[4] Pound was a holistic thinker who entertained a certain amount of essentialism. He concerned himself with European civilization as a living, breathing entity entirely connected to the smallest of its parts, and thus objected to forces undermining its coherence. Thus, his identification of the Jews as bacillus and related imagery is a “natural” thought within the processes of racial and cultural consciousness. Correspondingly, Pound followed “Douglas’s idea that the basis of credit is social and not private.”[5]

The trick of the liberal education/indoctrination establishment today is to isolate the individual from these modes of thinking, to atomize him as a neurotic member of a diffused society – to put him on Freud’s chaise-lounge (or in a psychiatric ward in St. Elizabeths mental hospital) while the Schiffs, Warburgs, Soros, et al. plunder the public purse. Pound sought to bring the diffusion and subsequent confusion together under a fascism which Europe would be reborn (experience a renaissance) under a more unified and pagan directive.

Casillo classifies Pound’s anti-Semitism as a result of personal “pressures” and as a “poetic strategy.” This discards all of Pound’s factual, historical, social, cultural, and spiritual reasons. Pound’s anti-Semitism is thus divorced from any real manifestation of Jewish misconduct and instead grafted onto Pound’s deficient personality complex. Pound is engaged in projecting his own short-coming onto the Jews.

Pound’s anti-Semitism was multifaceted and not just limited to economic exploitation. Pound was a man of the West. He felt not just an identity with the West but a moral responsibility for its preservation. This is “totalitarianism” as viewed by a Confucian: “having a sense of responsibility” and “thinking of the whole social order” and “creating a balanced system” (Casillo, p. 128). He saw our civilization through a fascist lens as “a supra individual spiritual entity capable of infusing with heroism and purpose the lives of those who fight for it.”[6] It is essential to understand these traditional holistic foundations of Pound’s anti-Semitism.

As a general rule, whenever Casillo presents us with a “paradox” of Pound’s or fascist thinking it only appears paradoxical upon willful under-examination of their underlying principles. The Genealogy of Demons represents the most “rigorous” — i.e., niggling — attempt to deconstruct Ezra Pound’s fact-based political philosophy into “thoroughly arbitrary construct” and a psychological malfunction. But it has to be. Because the facts are anti-Semitic.


1. Michael Sheehan, “Vulture funds – the key players,” [5] The Guardian [6] (London).

2. Gil Ronen, “Argentina’s President Sees Jewish Conspiracy?”http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185676 [7].

3. http://www.american-buddha.com/nazi.wotancarljung.htm [8]

4. Stock, Poet in Exile, p. 30. Quoted in Kerry Bolton’s Artists of the Right: Resisting Decadence (San Francisco: Counter-Currents Pub, 2012), p. 98.

5. Tim Redman, Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 69.

6. Roger Griffin, Fascism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 43.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2014/10/ezra-pound-on-endless-trial/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/casillo.jpg

[2] The Genealogy of Demons: Anti-Semitism, Fascism, and the Myths of Ezra Pound: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0810107104/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0810107104&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=NNXI2W5SHHID6ATP

[3] Heila von Westarp: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Heila_von_Westarp&action=edit&redlink=1

[4] Prince Gustav of Thurn and Taxis: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Gustav_of_Thurn_and_Taxis

[5] “Vulture funds – the key players,”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/nov/15/vulture-funds-key-players?intcmp=122

[6] The Guardian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guardian

[7] http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185676: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185676

[8] http://www.american-buddha.com/nazi.wotancarljung.htm: http://www.american-buddha.com/nazi.wotancarljung.htm

jeudi, 11 septembre 2014

Pound poeta

mercredi, 23 avril 2014

"Beauty is difficult"

samedi, 30 novembre 2013

Ezra la Surf

lundi, 28 octobre 2013



Descargar con issuu.com

Descargar con scribd.com

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Ezra Pound. Reseña biográfica, por Denes Martos

Ezra Pound, un poeta del siglo XX, por Richard Avedon

Ezra Pound: los cantos y la usura, por José Luis Ontiveros

Ezra Pound. La voz de Europa, por Joaquín Bochaca

Ezra Pound: santo laico, poeta loco, por Manuel Vicent

La radicalidad poética de Ezra Pound, por Mariano Antolin Rato

Ezra Pound, en sus ideas difíciles, por Manuel Domingo y José Manuel Infiesta

Espacio y Tiempo en Pound, por Vintila Horia

Goces subterráneos: Ezra Pound y la poiesis ambigua de la imagen, por Kathryn Stergiopoulos

Ezra Pound y la crítica, por José Luis Ontiveros

Ezra Pound: Vanguardia y Fascismo, por Nicolás González Varela

Ezra Pound, filósofo de taberna, por Samuel Putnam

Ezra Pound y el Bel Esprit, por Ernest Hemingway

Ezra Pound y Neruda, por José Miguel Ibáñez Langlois

Pound: la música de las palabras, por Héctor Alvarez Castillo

Sobre un poema de Ezra Pound, por Mariano Pérez Carrasco

Apuntes sobre Pound y el fascismo, por Claudio Quarantotto

Ezra Pound, la última entrevista, por Grazia Livi

dimanche, 02 décembre 2012

Eliot, Pound, and Lewis: A Creative Friendship

Eliot, Pound, and Lewis: A Creative Friendship


It may be a source of some pride to those of us fated to live out our lives as Americans that the three men who probably had the greatest influence on English literature in our century were all born on this side of the Atlantic. One of them, Wyndham Lewis, to be sure, was born on a yacht anchored in a harbor in Nova Scotia, but his father was an American, served as an officer in the Union Army in the Civil War, and came from a family that has been established here for many generations. The other two were as American in background and education as it is possible to be. Our pride at having produced men of such high achievement should be considered against the fact that all three spent their creative lives in Europe. For Wyndham Lewis the decision was made for him by his mother, who hustled him off to Europe at the age of ten, but he chose to remain in Europe, and to study in Paris rather than to accept the invitation of his father to go to Cornell, and except for an enforced stay in Canada during World War II, spent his life in Europe. The other two, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, went to Europe as young men out of college, and it was a part of European, not American, cultural life that they made their contribution to literature. Lewis was a European in training, attitude and point of view, but Pound and Eliot were Americans, and Pound, particularly, remained aggressively American; whether living in London or Italy his interest in American affairs never waned.

The lives and achievements of these three men were closely connected. They met as young men, each was influenced and helped by the other two, and they remained friends, in spite of occasional differences, for the rest of their lives. Many will remember the picture in Time of Pound as a very old man attending the memorial service in Westminster Abbey in 1965 for T.S. Eliot. When Lewis, who had gone blind, was unable to read the proofs of his latest book, it was his old friend, T.S. Eliot who did it for him, and when Pound was confined in St. Elizabeth’s in Washington, Eliot and Lewis always kept in close touch with him, and it was at least partly through Eliot’s influence that he was finally released. The lives and association of these three men, whose careers started almost at the same time shortly before World War I are an integral part of the literary and cultural history of this century.

The careers of all three may be said, in a certain way, to have been launched by the publication of Lewis’ magazine Blast. Both Lewis and Pound had been published before and had made something of a name for themselves in artistic and literary circles in London, but it was the publication in June, 1914, of the first issue of Blast that put them, so to speak, in the center of the stage. The first Blast contained 160 pages of text, was well printed on heavy paper, its format large, the typography extravagant, and its cover purple. It contained illustrations, many by Lewis, stories by Rebecca West and Ford Maddox Ford, poetry by Pound and others, but it is chiefly remembered for its “Blasts” and “Blesses” and its manifestos. It was in this first issue of Blast that “vorticism,” the new art form, was announced, the name having been invented by Pound. Vorticism was supposed to express the idea that art should represent the present, at rest, and at the greatest concentration of energy, between past and future. “There is no Present – there is Past and Future, and there is Art,” was a vorticist slogan. English humour and its “first cousin and accomplice, sport” were blasted, as were “sentimental hygienics,” Victorian liberalism, the Royal Academy, the Britannic aesthete; Blesses were reserved for the seafarer, the great ports, for Shakespeare “for his bitter Northern rhetoric of humour” and Swift “for his solemn, bleak wisdom of laughter”; a special bless, as if in anticipation of our hairy age, was granted the hairdresser. Its purpose, Lewis wrote many years later, was to exalt “formality and order, at the expense of the disorderly and the unkempt. It is merely a humorous way,” he went on to say, “of stating the classic standpoint as against the romantic.”

The second, and last, issue of Blast appeared in July, 1915, by which time Lewis was serving in the British army. This issue again contained essays, notes and editorial comments by Lewis and poetry by Pound, but displayed little of the youthful exuberance of the first – the editors and contributors were too much aware of the suicidal bloodletting taking place in the trenches of Flanders and France for that. The second issue, for example, contained, as did the first, a contribution by the gifted young sculptor Gaudier-Brzeska, together with the announcement that he had been killed while serving in the French army.

Between the two issues of Blast, Eliot had arrived in London via Marburg and Oxford, where he had been studying for a degree in philosophy. He met Pound soon after his arrival, and through Pound, Wyndham Lewis. Eliot’s meeting of Pound, who promptly took him under his wing, had two immediate consequences – the publication in Chicago of Prufrock in Harriet Monroe’s Poetry magazine, and the appearance of two other poems a month or two later in Blast. The two issues of Blast established Lewis as a major figure: as a brilliant polemicist and a critic of the basic assumptions and intellectual position of his time, two roles he was never to surrender. Pound had played an important role in Blast, but Lewis was the moving force. Eliot’s role as a contributor of two poems to the second issue was relatively minor, but the enterprise brought them together, and established an association and identified them with a position in the intellectual life of their time which was undoubtedly an important factor in the development and achievement of all three.

Lewis was born in 1882 on a yacht, as was mentioned before, off the coast of Nova Scotia. Pound was born in 1885 in Hailey, Idaho, and Eliot in 1888 in St. Louis. Lewis was brought up in England by his mother, who had separated from his father, was sent to various schools, the last one Rugby, from which he was dropped, spent several years at an art school in London, the Slade, and then went to the continent, spending most of the time in Paris where he studied art, philosophy under Bergson and others, talked, painted and wrote. He returned to England to stay in 1909. It was in the following year that he first met Ezra Pound, in the Vienna Cafe in London. Pound, he wrote many years later, didn’t greatly appeal to him at first – he seemed overly sure of himself and not a little presumptuous. His first impression, he said, was of “a bombastic galleon, palpably bound to or from, the Spanish Main,” but, he discovered, “beneath its skull and cross-bones, intertwined with fleur de lis and spattered with star-spangled oddities, a heart of gold.” As Lewis became better acquainted with Pound he found, as he wrote many years later, that “this theatrical fellow was one of the best.” And he went on to say, “I still regard him as one of the best, even one of the best poets.”

By the time of this meeting, Lewis was making a name for himself, not only as a writer, but also an artist. He had exhibited in London with some success, and shortly before his meeting with Pound, Ford Maddox Ford had accepted a group of stories for publication in the English Review, stories he had written while still in France in which some of the ideas appeared which he was to develop in the more than forty books that were to follow.

But how did Ezra Pound, this young American poet who was born in Hailey, Idaho, and looked, according to Lewis, like an “acclimatized Buffalo Bill,” happen to be in the Vienna Cafe in London in 1910, and what was he doing there? The influence of Idaho, it must be said at once, was slight, since Pound’s family had taken him at an early age to Philadelphia, where his father was employed as an assayer in the U.S. mint. The family lived first in West Philadelphia, then in Jenkintown, and when Ezra was about six bought a comfortable house in Wyncote, where he grew up. He received good training in private schools, and a considerable proficiency in Latin, which enabled him to enter the University of Pennsylvania shortly before reaching the age of sixteen. It was at this time, he was to write some twenty years later, that he made up his mind to become a poet. He decided at that early age that by the time he was thirty he would know more about poetry than any man living. The poetic “impulse”, he said, came from the gods, but technique was man’s responsibility, and he was determined to master it. After two years at Pennsylvania, he transferred to Hamilton, from which he graduated with a Ph.B. two years later. His college years, in spite of his assertions to the contrary, must have been stimulating and developing – he received excellent training in languages, read widely and well, made some friends, including William Carlos Williams, and wrote poetry. After Hamilton he went back to Pennsylvania to do graduate work, where he studied Spanish literature, Old French, Provencal, and Italian. He was granted an M.A. by Pennsylvania in 1906 and a Fellowship in Romantics, which gave him enough money for a summer in Europe, part of which he spent studying in the British museum and part in Spain. The Prado made an especially strong impression on him – thirty years later he could still describe the pictures in the main gallery and recall the exact order in which they were hung. He left the University of Pennsylvania in 1907, gave up the idea of a doctorate, and after one semester teaching at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, went to Europe, to return to his native land only for longer or shorter visits, except for the thirteen years he was confined in St. Elizabeth’s in Washington.

Pound’s short stay at Wabash College was something of a disaster – he found Crawfordsville, Indiana, confining and dull, and Crawfordsville, in 1907, found it difficult to adjust itself to a Professor of Romance Languages who wore a black velvet jacket, a soft-collared shirt, flowing bow tie, patent leather pumps, carried a malacca cane, and drank rum in his tea. The crisis came when he allowed a stranded chorus girl he had found in a snow storm to sleep in his room. It was all quite innocent, he insisted, but Wabash didn’t care for his “bohemian ways,” as the President put it, and was glad for the excuse to be rid of him. He wrote some good poetry while at Wabash and made some friends, but was not sorry to leave, and was soon on his way to Europe, arriving in Venice, which he had visited before, with just eighty dollars.

While in Venice he arranged to have a group of his poems printed under the title A Lume Spento. This was in his preparation for his assault on London, since he believed, quite correctly, that a poet would make more of an impression with a printed book of his poetry under his arm than some pages of an unpublished manuscript. He stayed long enough in Venice to recover from the disaster of Wabash and to gather strength and inspiration for the next step, London, where he arrived with nothing more than confidence in himself, three pounds, and the copies of his book of poems. He soon arranged to give a series of lectures at the Polytechnic on the Literature of Southern Europe, which gave him a little money, and to have the Evening Standard review his book of poetry, the review ending with the sentence, “The unseizable magic of poetry is in this queer paper volume, and words are no good in describing it.” He managed to induce Elkin Mathews to publish another small collection, the first printing of which was one hundred copies and soon sold out, then a larger collection, Personae, the Polytechnic engaged him for a more ambitious series of lectures, and he began to meet people in literary circles, including T.E. Hulme, John Butler Yeats, and Ford Maddox Ford, who published his “Ballad of the Goodley Fere” in the English Review. His book on medieval Latin poetry, The Spirit of Romance, which is still in print, was published by Dent in 1910. The Introduction to this book contains the characteristic line, “The history of an art is the history of masterworks, not of failures or of mediocrity.” By the time the first meeting with Wyndham Lewis took place in the Vienna Cafe, then, which was only two years after Pound’s rather inauspicious arrival in London, he was, at the age of 26, known to some as a poet and had become a man of some standing.

It was Pound, the discoverer of talent, the literary impresario, as I have said, who brought Eliot and Lewis together. Eliot’s path to London was as circuitous as Pound’s, but, as one might expect, less dramatic. Instead of Crawfordsville, Indiana, Eliot had spent a year at the Sorbonne after a year of graduate work at Harvard, and was studying philosophy at the University of Marburg with the intention of obtaining a Harvard Ph.D. and becoming a professor, as one of his teachers at Harvard, Josiah Royce, had encouraged him to do, but the war intervened, and he went to Oxford. Conrad Aiken, one of his closest friends at Harvard, had tried earlier, unsuccessfully, to place several of Eliot’s poems with an English publisher, had met Pound, and had given Eliot a latter of introduction to him. The result of that first meeting with Pound are well known – Pound wrote instantly to Harriet Monroe in Chicago, for whose new magazine, Poetry, he had more or less been made European editor, as follows: “An American called Eliot called this P.M. I think he has some sense tho’ he has not yet sent me any verse.” A few weeks later Eliot, while still at Oxford, sent him the manuscript of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Pound was ecstatic, and immediately transmitted his enthusiasm to Miss Monroe. It was he said, “the best poem I have yet had or seen from an American. Pray God it be not a single and unique success.” Eliot, Pound went on to say, was “the only American I know of who has made an adequate preparation for writing. He has actually trained himself and modernized himself on his own.” Pound sent Prufrock to Miss Monroe in October, 1914, with the words, “The most interesting contribution I’ve had from an American. P.S. Hope you’ll get it in soon.” Miss Monroe had her own ideas – Prufrock was not the sort of poetry she thought young Americans should be writing; she much preferred Vachel Lindsey, whose The Firemen’s Ball she had published in the June issue. Pound, however, was not to be put off; letter followed importuning letter, until she finally surrendered and in the June, 1915, issue of Poetry, now a collector’s item of considerable value, the poem appeared which begins:

Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table …

It was not, needless to say, to be the “single and unique success” Pound had feared, but the beginning of one of the great literary careers of this century. The following month the two poems appeared in Blast. Eliot had written little or nothing for almost three years. The warm approval and stimulation of Pound plus, no doubt, the prospect of publication, encouraged him to go on. In October Poetry published three more new poems, and later in the year Pound arranged to have Elkin Matthews, who had published his two books of poetry to bring out a collection which he edited and called The Catholic Anthology which contained the poems that had appeared in Poetry and one of the two from Blast. The principal reason for the whole anthology, Pound remarked, “was to get sixteen pages of Eliot printed in England.”

If all had gone according to plan and his family’s wishes, Eliot would have returned to Harvard, obtained his Ph.D., and become a professor. He did finish his thesis – “To please his parents,” according to his second wife, Valerie Eliot, but dreaded the prospect of a return to Harvard. It didn’t require much encouragement from Pound, therefore, to induce him to stay in England – it was Pound, according to his biographer Noel Stock “who saved Eliot for poetry.” Eliot left Oxford at the end of the term in June, 1915, having in the meantime married Vivien Haigh-Wood. That Fall he took a job as a teacher in a boy’s school at a salary of £140 a year, with dinner. He supplemented his salary by book reviewing and occasional lectures, but it was an unproductive, difficult period for him, his financial problems increased by the illness of his wife. After two years of teaching he took a position in a branch of Lloyd’s bank in London, hoping that this would give him sufficient income to live on, some leisure for poetry, and a pension for his wife should she outlive him. Pound at this period fared better than Eliot – he wrote music criticism for a magazine, had some income from other writing and editorial projects, which was supplemented by the small income of his wife, Dorothy Shakespear and occasional checks from his father. He also enjoyed a more robust constitution that Eliot, who eventually broke down under the strain and was forced, in 1921, to take a rest cure in Switzerland. It was during this three-month stay in Switzerland that he finished the first draft of The Waste Land, which he immediately brought to Pound. Two years before, Pound had taken Eliot on a walking tour in France to restore his health, and besides getting Eliot published, was trying to raise a fund to give him a regular source of income, a project he called “Bel Esprit.” In a latter to John Quinn, the New York lawyer who used his money, perceptive critical judgment and influence to help writers and artists, Pound, referring to Eliot, wrote, “It is a crime against literature to let him waste eight hours vitality per diem in that bank.” Quinn agreed to subscribe to the fund, but it became a source of embarrassment to Eliot who put a stop to it.

The Waste Land marked the high point of Eliot’s literary collaboration with Pound. By the time Eliot had brought him the first draft of the poem, Pound was living in Paris, having left London, he said, because “the decay of the British Empire was too depressing a spectacle to witness at close range.” Pound made numerous suggestions for changes, consisting largely of cuts and rearrangements. In a latter to Eliot explaining one deletion he wrote, “That is 19 pages, and let us say the longest poem in the English langwidge. Don’t try to bust all records by prolonging it three pages further.” A recent critic described the processes as one of pulling “a masterpiece out of a grabbag of brilliant material”; Pound himself described his participation as a “Caesarian operation.” However described, Eliot was profoundly grateful, and made no secret of Pound’s help. In his characteristically generous way, Eliot gave the original manuscript to Quinn, both as a token for the encouragement Quinn had given to him, and for the further reason, as he put it in a letter to Quinn, “that this manuscript is worth preserving in its present form solely for the reason that it is the only evidence of the difference which his [Pound’s] criticism has made to the poem.” For years the manuscript was thought to have been lost, but it was recently found among Quinn’s papers which the New York Public Library acquired some years after his death, and now available in a facsimile edition.

The first publication of The Waste Land was in the first issue of Eliot’s magazine Criterion, October, 1922. The following month it appeared in New York in The Dial. Quinn arranged for its publication in book form by Boni and Liveright, who brought it out in November. The first printing of one thousand was soon sold out, and Eliot was given the Dial award of the two thousand dollars. Many were puzzled by The Waste Land, one reviewer even thought that Mr. Eliot might be putting over a hoax, but Pound was not alone in recognizing that in his ability to capture the essence of the human condition in the circumstances of the time, Eliot had shown himself, in The Waste Land, to be a poet. To say that the poem is merely a reflection of Eliot’s unhappy first marriage, his financial worries and nervous breakdown is far too superficial. The poem is a reflection, not of Eliot, but of the aimlessness, disjointedness, sordidness of contemporary life. In itself, it is in no way sick or decadent; it is a wonderfully evocative picture of the situation of man in the world as it is. Another poet, Kathleen Raine, writing many years after the first publication of The Waste Land on the meaning of Eliot’s early poetry to her generation, said it

…enabled us to know our generation imaginatively. All those who have lived in the Waste Land of London can, I suppose, remember the particular occasion on which, reading T.S. Eliot’s poems for the first time, an experience of the contemporary world that had been nameless and formless received its apotheosis.

Eliot sent one of the first copies he received of the Boni and Liveright edition to Ezra Pound with the inscription “for E.P. miglior fabbro from T.S.E. Jan. 1923.” His first volume of collected poetry was dedicated to Pound with the same inscription, which came from Dante and means, “the better marker.” Explaining this dedication Eliot wrote in 1938:

I wished at that moment to honour the technical mastery and critical ability manifest in [Pound’s] . . . work, which had also done so much to turn The Waste Land from a jumble of good and bad passages into a poem.

Pound and Eliot remained in touch with each other – Pound contributed frequently to the Criterion, and Eliot, through his position at Faber and Faber, saw many of Pounds’ books through publication and himself selected and edited a collection of Pound’s poetry, but there was never again that close collaboration which had characterized their association from their first meeting in London in 1914 to the publication of The Waste Land in the form given it by Pound in 1922.

As has already been mentioned, Pound left London in 1920 to go to Paris, where he stayed on until about 1924 – long enough for him to meet many people and for the force of his personality to make itself felt. He and his wife were frequent visitors to the famous bookshop, Shakespeare and Co. run by the young American Sylvia Beach, where Pound, among other things, made shelves, mended chairs, etc.; he also was active gathering subscriptions for James Joyces’ Ulysses when Miss Beach took over its publication. The following description by Wyndham Lewis of an encounter with Pound during the latter’s Paris days is worth repeating. Getting no answer after ringing the bell of Pound’s flat, Lewis walked in and discovered the following scene:

A splendidly built young man, stripped to the waist, and with a torso of dazzling white, was standing not far from me. He was tall, handsome and serene, and was repelling with his boxing gloves – I thought without undue exertion – a hectic assault of Ezra’s. After a final swing at the dazzling solar plexus (parried effortlessly by the trousered statue) Pound fell back upon the settee. The young man was Hemingway.

Pound, as is well known, took Hemingway in hand, went over his manuscripts, cut out superfluous words as was custom, and helped him find a publisher, a service he had performed while still in London for another young American, Robert Frost. In a letter to Pound, written in 1933, Hemingway acknowledged the help Pound had given him by saying that he had learned more about “how to write and how not to write” from him “than from any son of a bitch alive, and he always said so.”

When we last saw Lewis, except for his brief encounter with Pound and Hemingway wearing boxing gloves, he had just brought out the second issues of Blast and gone off to the war to end all war. He served for a time at the front in an artillery unit, and was then transferred to a group of artists who were supposed to devote their time to painting and drawing “the scene of war,” as Lewis put it, a scheme which had been devised by Lord Beaverbrook, through whose intervention Lewis received the assignment. He hurriedly finished a novel, Tarr, which was published during the war, largely as a result of Pound’s intervention, in Harriet Shaw Weaver’s magazine The Egoist, and in book form after the war had ended. It attracted wide attention; Rebecca West, for example, called it “A beautiful and serious work of art that reminds one of Dostoevsky.” By the early twenties, Lewis, as the editor of Blast, the author of Tarr and a recognized artist was an established personality, but he was not then, and never became a part of the literary and artistic establishment, nor did he wish to be.

For the first four years following his return from the war and recovery from a serious illness that followed it little was heard from Lewis. He did bring out two issues of a new magazine, The Tyro, which contained contributions from T.S. Eliot, Herbert Read and himself, and contributed occasionally to the Criterion, but it was a period, for him, of semi-retirement from the scene of battle, which he devoted to perfecting his style as a painter and to study. It was followed by a torrent of creative activity – two important books on politics, The Art of Being Ruled (1926) and The Lion and the Fox (1927), a major philosophical work, Time and Western Man (1927), followed by a collection of stories, The Wild Body (1927) and the first part of a long novel, Childermass (1928). In 1928, he brought out a completely revised edition of his wartime novel Tarr, and if all this were not enough, he contributed occasionally to the Criterion, engaged in numerous controversies, painted and drew. In 1927 he founded another magazine, The Enemy, of which only three issues appeared, the last in 1929. Lewis, of course, was “the Enemy.” He wrote in the first issue:

The names we remember in European literature are those of men who satirised and attacked, rather than petted and fawned upon, their contemporaries. Only this time exacts an uncritical hypnotic sleep of all within it.

One of Lewis’ best and most characteristic books is Time and Western Man; it is in this book that he declared war, so to speak, on what he considered the dominant intellectual position of the twentieth century – the philosophy of time, the school of philosophy, as he described it, for which “time and change are the ultimate realities.” It is the position which regards everything as relative, all reality a function of time. “The Darwinian theory and all the background of nineteenth century thought was already behind it,” Lewis wrote, and further “scientific” confirmation was provided by Einstein’s theory of relativity. It is a position, in Lewis’ opinion, which is essentially romantic, “with all that word conveys in its most florid, unreal, inflated, self-deceiving connotation.”

The ultimate consequence of the time philosophy, Lewis argued, is the degradation of man. With its emphasis on change, man, the man of the present, living man for the philosophy of time ends up as little more than a minute link in the endless process of progressive evolution –lies not in what he is, but in what he as a species, not an individual, may become. As Lewis put it:

You, in imagination, are already cancelled by those who will perfect you in the mechanical time-scale that stretches out, always ascending, before us. What do you do and how you live has no worth in itself. You are an inferior, fatally, to all the future.

Against this rather depressing point of view, which deprives man of all individual worth, Lewis offers the sense of personality, “the most vivid and fundamental sense we possess,” as he describes it. It is this sense that makes man unique; it alone makes creative achievement possible. But the sense of personality, Lewis points out, is essentially one of separation, and to maintain such separation from others requires, he believes, a personal God. As he expressed it: “In our approaches to God, in consequence, we do not need to “magnify” a human body, but only to intensify that consciousness of a separated and transcendent life. So God becomes the supreme symbol of our separation and our limited transcendence….It is, then, because the sense of personality is posited as our greatest “real”, that we require a “God”, a something that is nothing but a person, secure in its absolute egoism, to be the rationale of this sense.”

It is exactly “our separation and our limited transcendence” that the time philosophy denies us; its God is not, in Lewis’ words “a perfection already existing, eternally there, of which we are humble shadows,” but a constantly emerging God, the perfection toward which man is thought to be constantly striving. Appealing as such a conception may on its surface appear to be, this God we supposedly attain by our strenuous efforts turns out to be a mocking God; “brought out into the daylight,” Lewis said, “it would no longer be anything more than a somewhat less idiotic you.”

In Time and Western Man Lewis publicly disassociated himself from Pound, Lewis having gained the erroneous impression, apparently, that Pound had become involved in a literary project of some kind with Gertrude Stein, whom Lewis hated with all the considerable passion of which he was capable. To Lewis, Gertrude Stein, with her “stuttering style” as he called it, was the epitomy of “time philosophy” in action. The following is quoted by Lewis is in another of his books, The Diabolical Principle, and comes from a magazine published in Paris in 1925 by the group around Gertrude Stein; it is quoted here to give the reader some idea of the reasons for Lewis’ strong feelings on the subject of Miss Stein:

If we have a warm feeling for both (the Superrealists) and the Communists, it is because the movements which they represent are aimed at the destruction of a thoroughly rotten structure … We are entertained intellectually, if not physically, with the idea of (the) destruction (of contemporary society). But … our interests are confined to literature and life … It is our purpose purely and simply to amuse ourselves.

The thought that Pound would have associated himself with a group expounding ideas on this level of irresponsibility would be enough to cause Lewis to write him off forever, but it wasn’t true; Pound had met Gertrude Stein once or twice during his stay in Paris, but didn’t get on with her, which isn’t at all surprising. Pound also didn’t particularly like Paris, and in 1924 moved to Rapallo, a small town on the Mediterranean a few miles south of Genoa, where he lived until his arrest by the American authorities at the end of World War II.

In an essay written for Eliot’s sixtieth birthday, Lewis had the following to say about the relationship between Pound and Eliot:

It is not secret that Ezra Pound exercised a very powerful influence upon Mr. Eliot. I do not have to define the nature of this influence, of course. Mr. Eliot was lifted out of his lunar alley-ways and fin de siecle nocturnes, into a massive region of verbal creation in contact with that astonishing didactic intelligence, that is all.

Lewis’ own relationship with Pound was of quite a different sort, but during the period from about 1910 to 1920, when Pound left London, was close, friendly, and doubtless stimulating to both. During Lewis’ service in the army, Pound looked after Lewis’ interests, arranged for the publication of his articles, tried to sell his drawings, they even collaborated in a series of essays, written in the form of letters, but Lewis, who in any case was inordinately suspicious, was quick to resent Pound’s propensity to literary management. After Pound settled in Rapallo they corresponded only occasionally, but in 1938, when Pound was in London, Lewis made a fine portrait of him, which hangs in the Tate Gallery. In spite of their occasional differences and the rather sharp attack on Pound in Time and Western Man, they remained friends, and Lewis’ essay for Eliot’s sixtieth birthday, which was written while Pound was still confined in St. Elizabeth’s, is devoted largely to Pound, to whom Lewis pays the following tribute:

So, for all his queerness at times–ham publicity of self, misreading of part of poet in society–in spite of anything that may be said Ezra is not only himself a great poet, but has been of the most amazing use to other people. Let it not be forgotten for instance that it was he who was responsible for the all-important  contact  for James  Joyce–namely  Miss Weaver. It was his critical understanding, his generosity, involved in the detection and appreciation of the literary genius of James  Joyce. It was through him that a very considerable sum of  money was put at Joyce’s disposal at the critical moment.

Lewis concludes his comments on Pound with the following:

He was a man of letters, in the marrow of his bones and down to the red rooted follicles of his hair. He breathed Letters, ate Letters, dreamt Letters. A very rare kind of man.

Two other encounters during his London period had a lasting influence on Pound’s thought and career–the Oriental scholar Ernest Fenollosa and Major Douglas, the founder of Social Credit. Pound met Douglas in 1918 in the office of The New Age, a magazine edited by Alfred H. Orage, and became an almost instant convert. From that  point on usury became an obsession with him, and the word “usurocracy,” which he used to denote a social system based on money and credit, an indispensable part of his vocabulary. Social Credit was doubtless not the panacea Pound considered it to be, but  that Major Douglas was entirely a fool seems doubtful too, if the following quotation from him is indicative of the quality of his thought:

I would .. make the suggestion … that the first requisite of a  satisfactory governmental system is  that it shall divest itself  of the idea that it has a mission to improve the morals or direct  the  philosophy of  any of  its constituent citizens.

Ernest Fenollosa was a distinguished Oriental scholar of American  origin who had spent  many years in Japan, studying both Japanese and Chinese literature, and had died in  1908. Pound met his widow in London in 1913, with the result that she entrusted her  husband’s papers to him, with her authorization to edit and publish them as he thought  best. Pound threw himself into the study of the Fenollosa material with his usual  energy, becoming, as a result, an authority on the Japanese Noh drama and a lifelong student of Chinese. He came to feel that the Chinese ideogram, because it was never entirely removed from its origin in the concrete, had certain advantages over the  Western alphabet. Two years after receiving the Fenollosa manuscripts, Pound published  a translation of Chinese poetry under the title Cathay. The Times Literary Supplement  spoke of the language of Pound’s translation as “simple, sharp, precise.” Ford Maddox  Ford, in a moment of enthusiasm, called Cathay “the most beautiful book in the  language.”

Pound  made other translations, from Provencal, Italian, Greek, and besides the book of  Chinese poetry, translated Confucius, from which the following is a striking example, and  represents a conception of the relationship between the individual and society to which Pound attached great importance, and frequently referred to in his other writing:

The men of old wanting to clarify and diffuse throughout the empire that light which comes from looking straight into the heart and then acting, first set up good government in their own states; wanting good government in their states, they first established order in their own families; wanting order in the  home, they  first disciplined themselves; desiring self-discipline, they rectified their own hearts; and wanting to rectify their hearts; they sought precise verbal definitions of their inarticulate thoughts; wishing to attain precise verbal definitions, they sought to extend  their knowledge to the utmost. This completion of knowledge is rooted in sorting things into organic categories.

When things had been classified in organic categories, knowledge moved toward fulfillment; given the extreme knowable points, the inarticulate thoughts were defined with  precision. Having attained this precise verbal definition, they then stabilized their hearts, they disciplined themselves;  having attained self-discipline, they set their own houses in order; having order in their own homes, they brought good  government to their own states; and when their states were  well  governed, the empire was brought into equilibrium.

Pound’s major poetic work is, of course, The Cantos, which he worked on over a period of more than thirty years. One section, The Pisan Cantos, comprising 120 pages and eleven cantos, was written while Pound was confined in a U.S. Army detention camp near Pisa, for part of the time in a cage. Pound’s biographer, Noel Stock, himself a poet and a  competent critic, speaks of the Pisan Cantos as follows:

They are confused and often fragmentary; and they bear no relation structurally to the seventy earlier cantos; but shot through by a rare sad light they tell of things gone which somehow seem to live on, and are probably his best poetry. In  those few desperate months he was forced to return to that point within himself where the human person meets the outside world of real things, and to speak of what he found there. If at times the verse is silly, it is because in himself Pound was often  silly; if at times it is firm, dignified and intelligent, it is because  in himself Pound was often firm, dignified and intelligent; if it  is fragmentary and confused, it is because Pound was never  able to think out his position and did not know how the matters with which he dealt were related; and if often lines and  passages have a beauty seldom equaled in the poetry of the twentieth century it is because Pound had a true lyric gift.

As for the Cantos as a whole, I am not competent to make even a comment, much less to  pass judgment. Instead I will quote the distinguished English critic Sir Herbert Read on  the subject:

I am not going to deny that for the most part the Cantos present insuperable difficulties  for the impatient reader, but, as Pound says somewhere, “You can’t get through hell in a hurry.” They are of varying length, but they already amount to more than five hundred pages of verse and constitute the longest, and without hesitation I would say the greatest, poetic achievement of our time.

When The Waste Land was published in 1922 Eliot was still working as a clerk in a  London bank and had just launched his magazine, The Criterion. He left the bank in 1925 to join the newly organized publishing firm of Faber and Gwyer, later to become Faber  and Faber, which gave him the income he needed, leisure for his literary pursuits and  work that was congenial and appropriate. One of his tasks at Fabers, it used to be said,  was writing jacket blurbs. His patience and helpfulness to young authors was well known–from personal experience I can bear witness to his kindness to inexperienced publishers; his friends, in fact, thought that the time he devoted to young authors he felt had promise  might have been better spent on his own work. In spite of the demands on his time and  energy, he continued to edit the Criterion, the publication of which was eventually taken  over by Faber. He attached the greatest importance to the Criterion, as is evidenced by the following from a letter to Lewis dated January 31, 1925 which is devoted entirely to  the Criterion and his wish for Lewis to continue to write regularly for it, “Furthermore I  am not an individual but an instrument, and anything I do is in the interest of art and literature and civilization, and is not a matter for personal compensation.” As it worked  out, Lewis wrote only occasionally for the Criterion, not at all for every issue as Eliot had proposed in the letter referred to above. The closeness of their association, however, in spite of occasional differences, may be judged not only from Eliot’s wish to have something from Lewis in every issue, but from the following from a letter to Eliot from  Lewis:

As I understand with your paper that you are almost in the position I was in with Tyro and Blast I will give you anything I have for nothing, as you did me, and am anxious to be of use to you: for I know that every  failure of an exceptional attempt  like yours with the Criterion means that the chance of  establishing some sort of critical standard here is diminished.

Pound also contributed frequently to the Criterion, but at least pretended not to think much of  it–“… a magnificent piece of editing, i.e. for the purpose of getting in to the  Athenaeum Club, and becoming permanent,” he remarked on one occasion. He, by the  way, accepted some of the blame for what he considered to be Eliot’s unduly cautious approach to criticism. In a letter to the Secretary of the Guggenheim Foundation, written  in 1925 to urge them to extend financial assistance to Eliot and Lewis, he made the  following comment:

I may in some measure be to blame for the extreme caution of his [Eliot’s] criticism. I pointed out to him in the beginning that there was no use of two of us butting a stone wall; that he’d  never be as hefty a battering ram as I was, nor as explosive as Lewis, and that he’d  better try a more oceanic and fluid method of sapping the foundations. He is now respected by the Times  Lit. Sup. But his criticism no longer arouses my interest.

What Pound, of course, wished to “sap” was not the “foundations”of an ordered society,  but of established stupidity and mediocrity. The primary aim of all three, Pound, Eliot  and Lewis, each in his own way, was to defend civilized values. For Eliot, the means to  restore the health of Western civilization was Christianity. In his essay The Idea of A Christian Society he pointed out the dangers of the dominant liberalism of the time, which he thought “must either proceed into a gradual decline of which we can see no end, or reform itself into a positive shape which is likely to be effectively secular.” To attain,  or recover, the Christian society which he thought was the only alternative to a purely secular society, he recommended, among other things, a Christian education. The purpose of  such an education would not be merely to make people pious Christians, but primarily, as he put it, “to train people to be able to think in Christian categories.” The great mass of any population, Eliot thought, necessarily occupied in the everyday cares and demands of life, could not be expected to devote much time or effort to “thinking about the objects of faith,” their Christianity must be almost wholly realized in behavior.  For Christian values, and the faith which supports them to survive there must be, he  thought, a “Community of  Christians,” of people who would lead a “Christian life on its highest social level.”

Eliot thought of “the Community of Christians” not as “an organization, but a body of  indefinite outline, composed of both clergy and laity, of the more conscious, more spiritually and intellectually developed of both.” It will be their “identity of belief and  aspiration, their background of a common culture, which will enable them to influence and be influenced by each other, and collectively to form the conscious mind and the conscience of the nation.” Like William Penn, Eliot didn’t think that the actual form of  government was as important as the moral level of the people, for it is the general ethos of the people they have to govern, not their own piety, that determines the behaviour of  politicians.” For this reason, he thought, “A  nation’s system of education is much more  important than its system of government.”

When we consider the very different personalities of these three men, all enormously  gifted, but quite different in their individual characteristics–Pound, flamboyant, extravagant; Eliot, restrained, cautious; Lewis, suspicious, belligerent–we can’t help but wonder how it was possible for three such men to remain close friends from the time they met as young men until the ends of their lives. Their common American background no doubt played some part in bringing Pound and Eliot together, and they both shared certain characteristics we like to think of as American: generosity, openness to others, a fresher, more unencumbered attitude toward the past than is usual for a European, who,  as Goethe remarked, carries the burden of the quarrels of a long history. But their close association, mutual respect and friendship were based on more than their common origin on this side of the Atlantic. In their basic attitude toward the spirit of their time, all three were outsiders; it was a time dominated by a facile, shallow liberalism, which, as Eliot  once remarked, had “re- placed belief  in Divine Grace” with “the myth of human  goodness.” Above all they were serious men,  they were far more interested in finding and expressing the truth than in success as the world understands it. The English critic  E. W.  F.  Tomlin remarked that a characteristic of  these three “was that they had mastered their subjects, and were  aware of  what lay beyond them. The reading that went into Time and Western Man alone exceeded the life-time capacity of many so-called ‘scholars.’” The royalties Lewis earned from this book, one of the most important of our time, which represented an immense amount of work and thought of the highest order, didn’t amount to a pittance, but Lewis’ concern, as he put it toward the end of his life, was for “the threat of extinction to the cultural tradition of the West.” It was this mutual  concern, on a very  high level, and an utterly serious attitude toward creative work that  brought them and held them together.

Why did Pound and Eliot stay in Europe, and what might have happened to them if they had come back to this country, as both were many times urged to do, or to Lewis if he had  gone to Cornell and stayed over here? In Pound’s case, the answer is rather simple, and was given in essence by his  experience in Crawfordsville, Indiana, as a young man, and the treatment he received following the war. There is no doubt that in making broadcasts on the Italian radio during wartime he was technically guilty of treason; against this, it seems to me, must be weighed the effect of  the broadcasts, which was zero, and his achievement as a poet and critic, which is immense. One can’t expect magnanimity from any government, and especially not in the intoxication of victory in a great war and overwhelming world power, but one might have expected the academic and literary  community to have protested the brutal treatment meted out to Pound. It didn’t, nor was there any protest of his long confinement in a mental institution except on the part of a few individuals; his release was brought about largely as a result of protests from Europe, in which Eliot played a substantial part. When, however, during his confinement in St.  Elizabeth’s, the Bollingen prize for poetry was given him for the Pisan Cantos, the liberal establishment reacted with the sort of  roar one might have expected had the Nobel Peace Prize been awarded to Adolf Hitler.

Lewis spent some five years in Toronto during World War II, which, incidentally, provided him with the background for one of his greatest novels, Self Condemned. He was desperately hard up, and tried to get lecture engagements from a number of  universities, including the University of Chicago. A small Canadian Catholic college was the only representative of the academic institutions of North America to offer this really great, creative intelligence something more substantial than an occasional lecture. Since his death, Cornell and the University of Buffalo have spent large sums accumulating Lewis material-manuscripts, letters, first editions, drawings, etc. When they could have done something for Lewis himself,  to their own glory and profit, they ignored him.

The American intellectual establishment, on the other hand, did not ignore the Communist-apologist Harold Laski, who was afforded all the honors and respect at its  command, the  Harold Laski who, in 1934, at the height of Stalinism–mass arrests, millions in slave labor camps and all the rest–had lectured at the Soviet Institute of Law.

Following his return to England the Labour government gave Lewis, “the Enemy” of socialism, as he called himself, a civil pension, and the BBC invited him to lecture regularly on modern art and to write for its publication, The Listener. He was even  awarded an honorary degree by the University of Leeds. Can anyone imagine CBS, for  example, offering a position of any kind to a man with Lewis’ unorthodox views, uncompromising intelligence, and ability to see the world for what it is, the Ford  Foundation offering him a grant, or Harvard or Yale granting him an honorary degree? Harold Laski indeed yes, but Wyndham Lewis? It is inconceivable.

The following taken from letters from Ezra Pound, the first written in 1926 to Harriet Monroe, and the second in 1934 to his old professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Felix Schelling, puts the problem of the poet in America as he saw it very graphically:

Poverty here is decent and honourable. In America it lays one open to continuous insult on all sides.  . . Re your question is it any better abroad for authors: England gives small pensions; France provides jobs.  . . Italy is full of ancient libraries; the  jobs are quite comfortable, not very highly paid, but are  respectable, and can’t much interfere with the librarians’ time.

As for “expatriated”? You know damn well the country wouldn’t  feed me. The simple economic fact that if I had returned to  America I shd. have starved, and that to maintain anything like the standard of living, or indeed to live, in America from 1918  onwards I shd. have had to quadruple my earnings, i.e. it wd. have been impossible for me to devote any time to my REAL work.

Eliot, of course, fared much better than Pound at the hands of the academy. As early as  1932 he was invited to give the Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard, many universities honored themselves by awarding him honorary degrees, he was given the  Nobel Prize, etc. One can’t help but wonder, however, if his achievement would have been  possible if he had completed his Ph.D. and become a Harvard professor. He wrote some  of his greatest poetry and founded the Criterion while still a bank clerk in London. One can say with considerable justification that as a clerk in Lloyd’s Bank in London Eliot had more opportunity for creative work and got more done than would have been possible had he been a Harvard  professor. It was done, of course, at the cost of intensely hard  work–in a letter to Quinn in the early twenties he remarks that he was working such long  hours that he didn’t have time either for the barber or the dentist. But he had something  to show for it.

It is impossible, of course, to sum up the achievement of these three men. They were very much a part of the time in which they lived, however much they rejected its basic assumptions and point of view. Both Lewis and Eliot described themselves as classicists, among other reasons, no doubt, because of the importance they attached to order; Lewis  at one time called Pound a “revolutionary simpleton,” which in certain ways was probably justified, but in his emphasis on “precise verbal definitions,” on the proper use  of language, Pound was a classicist too. All three, each in his own way, were concerned  with the health of society; Eliot founded the Criterion to restore values; in such books as  Time and Western Man, Paleface, The Art of Being Ruled, Lewis was fighting for an intelligent understanding of the nature of our civilization and of the forces he thought were undermining it. The political books Lewis wrote in the thirties, for which he was violently and unfairly condemned, were written not to promote fascism, as some simple-minded critics have contended, but to point out that a repetition of World War I would  be even more catastrophic for civilization than the first. In many of his political judgments Pound was undoubtedly completely mistaken and irresponsible, but he would  deserve an honored place in literature only for his unerring critical judgment, for his ability to discern quality, and for his encouragement at a critical point in the career of each of such men as Joyce, Hemingway, Eliot, Frost, and then there are his letters–letters of  encouragement and criticism to aspiring poets, to students, letters opening doors or asking for help for a promising writer, the dozens of letters to Harriet Monroe. “Keep on remindin’ ’em that we ain’t bolsheviks, but only the terrifyin’ voice of civilization, kultchuh, refinement, aesthetic perception,” he wrote in one to Miss Monroe, and when she wanted to retire, he wrote to her, “The intelligence of the nation [is] more important than the comfort of any one individual or the bodily life of a whole generation.” In a letter to H. L. Mencken thanking him for a copy of the latter’s In Defense of Women, Pound remarked, almost as an afterthought, “What is wrong with it,  and with your work in general is that you have drifted into writing for your inferiors.” Could anyone have put it more precisely? Whoever wants to know what went on in the period from about 1910 to 1940, whatever he may think of his politics or economics, or  even his poetry, will have to consult the letters of  Ezra Pound–the proper function of  the artist in society, he thought, was to be “not only its intelligence, but its ‘nostrils and  antennae.’” And this, as his letters clearly show, Pound made a strenuous and, more often than not, successful effort to be.

How much of  Lewis’ qualities were a result of his American heritage it would be hard to say, but there can be no doubt that much in both Pound and Eliot came from their  American background. We may not have been able to give them what they needed to realize their talents and special qualities, they may even have been more resented than  appreciated by many Americans, but that they did have qualities and characteristics which were distinctly American there can be no doubt. To this extent, at least, we can  consider them an American gift to the Old World. In one of Eliot’s most beautiful works,  The Rock, a “Pageant Play written on behalf of the forty-five churches Fund of the Diocese of London,” as it says on the title page, there are the lines, “I have said, take no thought of the harvest, but only of perfect sowing.” In taking upon themselves the difficult, thankless task of being the “terrifying voices of civilization” Eliot and his two friends, I am sure, didn’t give much thought of the possible consequences to themselves,  of what there “might be in it for them,” but what better can one say of anyone’s life than “He sowed better than he reaped?’’

Originally published in Modern Age, June 1972. Reprinted with the permission of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Henry Regnery (1912-1996) was an American publisher.


samedi, 17 novembre 2012

The Trial Of Ezra Pound

The Trial Of Ezra Pound

mercredi, 07 novembre 2012

Ezra Pound: Protector of the West

Ezra Pound: Protector of the West

By Ursus Major

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com/

Ezra Pound was arguably the finest American-born poet and a first rate Classical scholar. He happened to be born in Idaho, a state not noted for either its poets or Classicists. It was, however, a center of the American Populist Movement, which pitted the (usually family) farmer against the banks and railroads. The Populists called themselves “National-Socialists,” long before that term was heard in Europe.

Pound was born in 1885, making him less than two-years younger than his later hero, Benito Mussolini. This was at the apex of the Populist movement. The Populist Party’s platform for the 1886 election was almost entirely written by Edward Bellamy. Bellamy was a novelist-journalist, whose utopian work, Looking Backward had sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. alone.

Looking Backward is set in the year 2000, and recounts the victory of National-Socialism: the nationalization of the banks and railroads, along with a host of reforms to alleviate the lot of the working-man without invoking Marxism. The syndicalism of Georges Sorel was a major influence upon the Populists, as it was upon the one-time Socialist, Benito Mussolini.

(Mussolini had been named “Benito,” which is not an Italian name, by his anarchist father, in honor of Benito Juárez, the Mexican revolutionary responsible for the execution of Maximilian. Actually, Juárez didn’t last that long: he was disposed of by his lieutenant Díaz, who proceeded to set up a dictatorship, which was 100-times more repressive than anything envisioned by the liberal Austrian Arch-Duke, who had been tricked by Napoleon III into accepting a “crown,” which was created by the French, the Catholic Church, and the Mexican latifundiastas: huge landowners. One should remember that the Spanish Habsburgs had ruled Mexico for centuries. The Habsburg arms — the Roman Double Eagle — are to be found on the Governor’s House in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was founded during the Habsburg era. So Maximilian, being offered the crown as Emperor of Mexico wasn’t off-the-wall.)

What happened with the Populists? Basically, William Jennings Bryan stole their rhetoric; and Theodore Roosevelt along with Taft gave support to the trade-union movement. Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech, in support of the free-silver movement, caused the Populists to support Bryan, and they shared in Bryan’s defeat. Imperialism was the impetus of the hour, as the U.S. attacked and defeated Spain, taking what remained of the Spanish Empire (and sending the Marines to the Philippines, to show them that it was merely a “change of title,” by shooting half-a-million of the “liberated”).

Oscar Wilde once commented, “When a good American dies, he goes to Paris.” Pound didn’t wait until he was dead before leaving the Land of the Free and Hopelessly Vulgar. By 1908, he was living in London. In 1920, he moved to Paris (which was less expensive); and in 1924, he moved to Italy, where he was to remain until the U.S. Army brought him back to the Land of the Victorious and Hopelessly Vulgar — in a cage! Pound was an ardent Fascist and remained one until the day of his death, well over 30 years after the Duce and his mistress, Clara Petacchi, were hung like sides of beef from the rafters of a bombed-out gas station in Milan.

Pound found in Fascist Italy both the “National-Socialism” of the Populists plus a reawakening of the “civilizing” mission of Ancient Rome, of which Pound (the Classicist) was so fond. Pound referred to his poems as “Cantos” — lyrics! — which drew upon the greatest Euro-poets, from Homer on, as their inspiration; and, in his Pisan Cantos (written while confined to a cage in Pisa after WWII, and for which he was awarded the 1949 Bollingen Prize in Poetry) incorporating inspiration from that other great High Culture: the Culture of Confusian China. What was Pound doing in a U.S. Army cage? Awaiting some decision by the U.S. government as to what to do with its most famous poet — who had regularly broadcast pro-Axis speeches from 1941 on!

In the Plutocratic-Marxist alliance of WWII, he found all he had despised since his youth: the joint determination of Bankers and Barbarians to destroy Western Civilization (which, in Pound’s view was personified in Fascist Italy, with Germany a distant second). His slim prose work Jefferson and/or Mussolini drew attention to Jefferson loathing of banks and compared the tyranny of International Finance with British Mercantilism, finding the former worse than the latter. His anti-Semitic speeches were directed solely against Jewish financial control. (Unlike most anti-Semites, he was rabid in his loathing of Jewish financial interests, but totally indifferent toward the Jews qua Jews and was quite disturbed when Mussolini sanctioned the deportation of Italian Jews, who were obviously not financiers.) He described Italian Fascism as “paternally authoritarian” and subscribed to the view that freedom was for those who’d earned it. He described the American concept of free speech as merely “license”: “Free speech, without radio free speech is zero!” was a comment he made in one of his own broadcasts.

Although manifestly guilty of treason under U.S. law, the government felt embarrassed at the prospect of trying him, so they had some medical hacks from the military certify he was insane, and committed him to St. Elizabeths, the federal asylum in Washington from 1946 until 1958, when he was allowed to leave, providing he immediately left the country. That he did, returning to Italy; his last act in the U.S. being to accord the Statue of Liberty the Roman/Fascist salute!

The first of the “Cantos” had appeared in 1917. The last (96-109: Thronos) in 1959. The Whole he considered one vast epic poem, on a Homeric scale; however, it is more an epic reflecting the maturity of an artist and Classicist, in an age which marked the decline of both. One can see in influence of Yeats (who was also markedly pro-Fascist, but died before that could produce a crisis [1939]), Ford Maddox Ford and James Joyce were “cross pollinators” with Pound. T. S. Eliot and Ernest Hemingway [. . .] died before him; therefore, Ezra Pound became the last of the expatriate artists, a tradition that began with Henry James. Certainly some brief excerpt of his work is called for. The following is taken from one of the Pisan Cantos, written in the cage:

this breath wholly covers the mountains
it shines and divides
it nourishes by its rectitude
does no injury
overstanding the earth it fills the nine fields
to heaven

Boon companion to equity
it joins with the process
lacking it, there is inanition
When the equities are gathered together
as birds alighting
it springeth up vital

If deeds be not ensheaved and garnered in the heart
there is inanition.

I selected this example, because it draws upon the High Culture of China for inspiration, and incorporates within this a Classical maxim, which even those who know no Latin should be aware of. The final phrase (“if deeds be not ensheaved and garnered in the heart / there is inanition”) is a restatement of ACTA NON VERBA! (For those denied access to a dictionary of sufficient scope, “inanition” means “emptiness, a need – like a need for food or drink.”)

So Pound combines the essence of Mandarian art with the essence of the West, affirming the Spenglerian premise that all High Cultures are “transportable.” How many full-time Western symphony orchestras does Tokyo support? EIGHT! (Pound,by the way, was a excellent bassoonist.)

Leaving aside all other considerations, Ezra Pound — Poet and Traitor — PROVES the essential unity of all Euros. From Hailey, Idaho to London, Paris, Rapallo, Rome, an asylum in Washington,  D.C. back to die in his beloved Rapallo (where the aging Gore Vidal now spends most of his time), Pound showed that no part of Magna Europa is alien to any Euro. Art, like an orchid, requires a special soil, a special climate to blossom in. A poet was born in the prairies of Idaho, but his genius could not thrive in the same soil as potatoes. Even as thousands of years before, the genius of Ovid atrophied in Tomis, where Augustus had banished him (Ovid had a great influence on Pound), so the genius of Ezra (what a horrid name!) Pound, Classicist, Poet-Supreme, would have atrophied in that backwater of Magna Europa. And so the Euro had to return to the primal soil, that his genius might bloom — yes, and be driven into treason, lest greed and barbarism destroy Magna Europa. “If this be treason, let us make the most of it!” Patrick Henry admonished his colleagues. Pound made as much of it as he could.

That what he saw as a deadly threat to his Race-Culture, he put ahead of the color of his passport may be heinous or not. That is not the issue. The issue is that Hailey, Idaho could give Magna Europa one of Her greatest poets, whose greatness ensued in the main from his ability to absorb all that had gone before and say it anew — even deploying adoptive forms!


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/10/ezra-pound-protector-of-the-west/

mercredi, 26 septembre 2012

Ezra Pound: L’ABC del leggere…


Ezra Pound: L’ABC del leggere…

Ex: http://www.mirorenzaglia.org/2012/09/ezra-pound-labc-del-...

Leggere non è mai operazione indolore, costa fatica e dedizione. Leggere poesia poi è la cosa più ardua che un lettore possa immaginare di fare. Mi viene quasi da dire che leggere poesia è più duro che scriverla, ma mi astengo perché non sono poeta e posso giudicare solo per sentito dire.

Chi si accosta alla poesia non può mai farlo a cuor leggero, non può pensare di non dover pagare uno scotto e non può utilizzare nessuna scorciatoia. Per decifrarne il significato, per abbandonarsi al verso, per assaporare il ritmo non è sufficiente la buona predisposizione d’animo o una volontà ferrea. Ciò che è necessario è imparare a leggerla, piegandosi al duro percorso dell’apprendistato.

Niente nella poesia è pura casualità, niente può zampillare liberamente. Ogni impressione di levità e musicalità è frutto incessante e sfibrante basato su conoscenza, tecnica, esercizio. Il poeta è come il pugile che salta leggero sul ring schivando, roteando, danzando, incassando e colpendo con una naturalezza che naturale non è mai. È il frutto di una macerazione nelle spossanti sedute d’allenamento in cui, in compagnia soltanto di se stesso e del suo maestro apprende a scarnificare il suo corpo, piroettando con la sua ombra, fino ad apparire senza peso quando si esibisce di fronte alla folla dei tifosi.

Accostarsi alla lettura della poesia richiede la medesima consapevolezza. E sbigottiti di fronte al cammino da intraprendere, quando un sottile sentimento di paura ci assedia, la prima domanda che ci si rivolge è: “chi mi può insegnare?”. È per questo motivo che ho accolto con giubilo la ristampa che Garzanti ha deciso de L’ABC del leggere di Ezra Pound, lo zio Ezra che ancora una volta ci stupisce.

È un onore non da poco accostarsi alle pagine di questo manualetto, perché il (più?) grande poeta del Novecento decide di vestire i panni dell’educatore nel tentativo di concedere a noi lettori una chiave che ci permetta di aprire, magari solo per uno spiraglio, quella porta che ci divide dalla poesia.

1235647.jpgImpresa ardua insegnare a qualcuno come leggerla, ma Pound è grande non solo per le sue opere maggiori, ma per l’incessante, ingenua volontà di regalare aiuto a tutti coloro che ne facciano richiesta. Il suo intento è quello di «offrire un manuale leggibile, tanto per diletto come per profitto, a chi non frequenta più le scuole, a chi non è mai stato a scuola, o infine a quanti ai tempi della loro istruzione hanno dovuto soffrire quello che hanno sofferto molti della mia generazione».

Un approccio iniziale che potrebbe sembrare populista. La poesia spiegata a tutti, facile accesso a chi non ha struttura per leggerla. Niente di più sbagliato. Pound, che non ha mai concesso sconti, in primo luogo a se stesso, costruisce il suo percorso in un modo che potrebbe scoraggiare chiunque ed afferma che la poesia è, sì di tutti, ma di tutti coloro che intendo accostarla nell’unica maniera possibile, studiando, faticando, sudando, crescendo poco a poco in consapevolezza.

Pound non ha nessuna intenzione di dire che, per renderlo accessibile, un testo va svilito e portato al livello del lettore. Piuttosto pensa che sia il lettore a dover arrampicarsi con dolore al livello del testo e per questo si prende la briga di insegnarcelo. Sembrerebbe un cammino di spine e stenti, di noia e di professorale distacco. Niente di più falso anche questo.

Pound delinea una strada totalmente antiaccademica, sui generis, inorganica se non caotica ma ricca di un sentimento quasi struggente che si traduce nella parola amore. A partire da una semplice definizione «La letteratura è linguaggio carico di significato», il suo insegnamento si dipana attraverso una serie di raccomandazioni operative che tendono a dilatare il senso della lettura, così come della scrittura che diventano il rovescio della stessa medaglia.

È così che, tra gli esercizi indicati per il lettore, trova spazio un compito in apparenza facile «Descrivere un oggetto comune come un gatto o una mela». Cosa non facile se si presta attenzione all’aneddoto del pesce che Pound riporta nel suo libro e che gli fa dire «il metodo conveniente allo studio della poesia e delle buone letture è lo stesso del biologo contemporaneo: attenta e diretta osservazione dell’oggetto, e continuo raffronto tra vetrini o campioni».

È solo così che si può preservare la buona poesia, visto che «è indispensabile strappare le erbacce se il Giardino delle Muse deve restare un giardino». È solo attraverso questo metodo analitico che si possono selezionare le parole, limarle nel loro senso, parsimoniosamente dispensarle, per incastrarle nel verso e farle vibrare nel ritmo. E per poter imparare a leggere è indispensabile che gli allievi, una volta composto il loro testo, se lo scambino tra loro per trovare nel testo altrui quante parole inutili vi sono state inserite, quante di queste ne occultano il significato. Per imparare a capire se una frase è ambigua e se una parola collocata in posizione anomala rende la frase stessa più interessante o più dinamica.

Pagine indispensabili che fanno da parte operativa a quelle in cui vengono sondati i segreti del linguaggio, fondati sull’intreccio tra suono e vista e dove sono fissate alcune considerazioni vivificanti: «è convinzione dell’autore che la musica isterilisce se si allontana troppo dalla danza; che la poesia isterilisce se si separa troppo dalla musica; ma questo non implica che ogni buona musica è musica da balletto o che tutta la poesia è lirica. Bach e Mozart non sono mai molto distanti dal movimento fisico».

Si ha l’impressione di un ritorno alle origini assolute dell’arte, in cui una poesia non è mai un testo scritto o letto su un foglio di carta ma una vivida rappresentazione della vita, se non la vita stessa. La poesia, mi sembra di capire da Pound, non si legge (come non si scrive). La poesia, si guarda, si annusa, si gusta, si ascolta, in una parola si vive, con tutta quella fisicità che il termine implica.

In un manualetto breve, la seconda parte è un’antologia di poeti selezionati dal Poeta, si condensano tante di quelle considerazioni che lascio scoprire al lettore, memore anche di un’ulteriore considerazione di Pound che sembra proprio rivolta a me «l’incompetenza è denotata dall’uso di troppe parole».

Pound nella sua enorme lungimiranza aveva capito che non basta essere poeti sommi, è necessario al contorno far crescere una consapevolezza diffusa che permette un arricchimento necessario perché «se la letteratura di una nazione declina, la nazione si atrofizza e decade».

 Mario Grossi

vendredi, 14 octobre 2011

Il Dio di Ezra Pound


Il Dio di Ezra Pound

di Luca Leonello Rimbotti

Fonte: mirorenzaglia [scheda fonte]



Il contraltare di Evola, dal punto di vista di una lettura “pagana” del Fascismo, fu certamente Ezra Pound. Se il primo del regime mussoliniano intese fare un risultato moderno delle virtù guerriere ario-romane, un’epifania della potenza, il secondo ne scorse i connotati di religione agreste, la cui continuità sarebbe stata garantita – più che non ostacolata – da forme di cristianesimo non dogmatiche, legate alle credenze arcaiche relative alla sacralità della terra. Se Evola vide nel movimento dei fasci una rinascenza del fato di gloria, qualcosa dunque di “uranico”, Pound rimase colpito invece dalla natura tellurica, diremmo quasi Blut-und-Boden, del comunitarismo fascista del suolo e del seme. Il significato è comunque, nei due casi, quello di una continuità ininterrotta, ben rappresentata dal particolare tipo di imperialismo veicolato dal Fascismo, tutto incentrato sull’idea di redenzione del suolo, di lavoro dei campi, di civilizzazione attraverso la coltivazione e la valorizzazione della terra.

Ezra Pound è stato probabilmente il maggiore e più profondo cesellatore del ruralismo fascista, che giudicò elemento direttamente proveniente dagli arcaici riti latini legati alla fertilità e ai cicli di natura. La “battaglia del grano”, l’impresa delle bonifiche, la celebrazione del pane quale simbolo di vita santificato dalla fatica quotidiana, non sarebbero stati, per il poeta americano, che altrettanti momenti in cui gli antichi misteri pagani tornavano a parlare al popolo, e sotto la sollecitazione ideologica di un regime che fu allo stesso tempo quanto mai attento alla modernità. E che registrò il passaggio dell’Italia a nazione più industriale che agricola, con un numero di operai che per la prima volta nel 1937 superò quello dei contadini.

Questo doppio registro, tipico del Fascismo, di portare avanti insieme i due comparti, senza deprimerne uno a vantaggio dell’altro, questa simmetrica capacità di operare lo sviluppo industriale e quello agricolo, iniettando la modernizzazione nelle tecniche di coltura ma rinforzando l’attaccamento atavico al suolo, fu la formula adottata da Mussolini per promuovere il progresso senza intaccare – ma anzi rinsaldandolo – il patrimonio immaginale legato alla terra, e per di più abbinandolo ad un reale incremento della capacità produttiva, affidata alla scelta autarchica. Della terra, con costante perseveranza, si celebrò la sacralità, facendo del suolo patrio, quello da cui il popolo ricava la fonte di vita, una vera e propria religione di massa. Questa religione popolare fascista, riscoperta intatta dall’antichità e dotata di moderne applicazioni anti-utilitariste ed anti-speculative, ebbe in Pound un cantore geniale.

La recente uscita del libro di Andrea Colombo Il Dio di Ezra Pound. Cattolicesimo e religioni del mistero (Edizioni Ares) ce ne fornisce un nuovo attestato. In questo agile ma importante lavoro noi riscopriamo tutta la profondità di una concezione del mondo incentrata su ciò che Pound definitiva “economia sacra”. Come già fatto da Caterina Ricciardi nel 1991, nella sua antologia di scritti giornalistici di Pound, anche Colombo sottolinea questa impostazione del poeta che, forte della sua recisa ostilità al mondo liberista del profitto finanziario e nemico giurato dell’usura, vide nella sana e naturale economia fascista un preciso riverbero di ancestrali tendenze sacrali. In una serie di articoli pubblicati sul settimanale “Il Meridiano di Roma” fra il 1939 e il 1943, Pound andò indagando le origini italiche, perlustrandone la vena religiosa relativa ai misteri e ai riti di fertilità. In tal modo, «Roma è Venere, l’antica dea dell’amore che ritorna a restituire il sogno pagano agli uomini», realizzando il contatto vivente fra l’antichità e il presente moderno: «E Mussolini, il Duce della bonifica e della battaglia del grano, diventa per il poeta il riesumatore dell’antica cultura agraria, la religione fondata sul mistero sacro del grano, mistero di fertilità».

Entro questi grandi spazi ideologici di rinascita moderna delle logiche arcaiche, Pound ingaggiò la sua personale lotta contro quel mondo di speculatori, affaristi privi di scrupoli e autentici criminali da lui individuato nei governanti angloamericani, che in nome dell’usura finanziaria e dell’idolatria dell’oro non avevano esitato a scatenare contro i popoli a economia organica la più distruttiva delle guerre. Proveniente per nascita egli stesso dal pericoloso milieu presbiteriano, come Colombo ricorda, Pound ben presto se ne distaccò, avvicinandosi ad una interpretazione del cristianesimo come continuità pagana sotto specie devozionale ai santi locali, alle varie Madonne, alle processioni popolari d’impronta rurale. Convinto – e a ragione – di una netta presenza neoplatonica nella stessa teologia cattolica, Pound finì col considerare la religione di Cristo come una forma neopagana di accettazione del mistero della vita. Egli contestava alla radice la filiazione del cristianesimo dall’ebraismo, affermando che invece ciò che si doveva stabilirne era la continuità con l’ellenismo e con il politeismo in auge nell’Impero romano, al cui interno il cristianesimo poté inserirsi senza traumi particolari, in virtù della sua sostanza di religione dapprima solare, erede del mitraismo, poi anche tellurica, erede delle venerande liturgie agresti.

Pound conobbe gli scritti di Frazer e di Zielinski, allora famosi, ma noi possiamo aggiungere che questa lettura poundiana, tutt’altro che peregrina, ha trovato conferma in molti studiosi di religione anche molto importanti, da Cumont a Wind, da Seznec fino a Wartburg: il cristianesimo, ed ivi compreso talora anche il papato, veicolavano sostanziose dosi di neoplatonismo pagano. L’interesse di Pound per figure come Gemisto Pletone o Sigismondo Malatesta – esemplari del neopaganesimo rinascimentale – furono il lato filosofico di un mondo ammirato profondamente da Pound, quello dell’etica economica medievale e proto-moderna, coi suoi fustigatori dell’interesse e della speculazione: un San Bernardino, ad esempio, che combatté tutta la vita l’usura, in forme anche violente e non meno anticipatrici di certi argomenti moderni.

Pound nel paganesimo, e di nuovo nel cristianesimo francescano (notoriamente di ispirazione neoplatonica), vide l’antefatto di quella guerra aperta alla schiavitù dell’interesse che solo con il Fascismo, e con la sua ideologia corporativa del “giusto prezzo”, divenne movimento mondiale di lotta al disumano profitto liberista. Il prezzo della merce, quando stabilito dalla mano pubblica, dà garanzie di giustizia, è regolato dal potere politico, ha veste legale, è insomma pretium justum; quando invece è affidato al gioco incontrollato degli interessi privati, come accade nelle economie liberiste, fornisce l’evidenza di una guerra belluina fra speculatori, a tutto danno del popolo e del suo lavoro.

Questi concetti Pound li martellò in scritti e discorsi alla radio italiana durante la guerra, e sono massicciamente presenti anche nei Cantos. E questo gli costò, come noto, l’infamia della gabbia e del manicomio, cui lo destinarono i “democratici” vincitori. Questa di Pound fu una battaglia a difesa del lavoro onesto contro la bolgia degli speculatori. A difesa della sacralità dell’economia – che è lavoro del popolo – e contro quanti al denaro attribuiscono un demoniaco potere assoluto.

Pound era in prima fila, non faceva l’intellettuale ben ripagato e ben protetto, magari pronto a cambiare bandiera al primo vento contrario. Propagandava idee, lanciava fulmini e saette contro l’ingiustizia sociale e la speculazione, come un moderno Bernardino da Feltre ci metteva la faccia del predicatore intransigente e la parola infiammata del profeta che vede prossimo l’abisso. La sua condanna dell’usura e dell’usuraio ebbe aspetti di radicalismo medievale in piena guerra mondiale.

Quest’uomo vero fu pronto a pagare di persona, senza mai rinnegare una sola parola. Si esponeva senza remore. E parlava chiaro e forte. Come ad esempio in quella lettera – riportata da Colombo – indirizzata a don Calcagno (il sacerdote eresiarca fondatore di “Crociata Italica” durante la RSI e vicino a Farinacci) nell’ottobre 1944, in cui si scagliò contro la doppiezza vaticana di Pio XII: «Credete che un figlio d’usuraio, venduto e stipendiato, o indebitato agli ebrei sia la persona più adatta a “portare le anime a Cristo”? La Chiesa una volta condannava l’usura».

Ezra Pound non era un sognatore fuori dal mondo, e nemmeno un visionario ingenuo, come hanno cercato di farlo passare certi suoi non richiesti ammiratori antifascisti. Era un perfetto lettore della realtà e un geniale interprete dell’epoca in cui visse. Ebbe chiarissima davanti a sé l’entità della prova che si stava svolgendo con la Seconda guerra mondiale. Comprese come pochi che quella era la lotta decisiva fra l’usuraio e il contadino, e che difficilmente per il vinto ci sarebbe stata una rivincita. Quando la guerra piegò verso il trionfo degli usurai – allorché, come scrisse, «i fasci del littore sono spezzati» – partecipò fino in fondo all’esperienza tragica della Repubblica Sociale, consapevole di vivere, come dice Colombo, «l’età apocalittica della fine».

L’uomo europeo deve molto a Pound. Gli deve una grande passione ideale e una formidabile attrezzatura ideologica, che è grande poesia e a volte anche grande prosa. Proprio mentre l’usura universale sta facendo a pezzi un popolo dietro l’altro, proprio mentre infuria la volontà di scannare i popoli per arricchire piccole oligarchie di speculatori apolidi, quella di Pound appare come una gigantesca opera di profezia e di riscatto.

Tante altre notizie su www.ariannaeditrice.it

mercredi, 12 octobre 2011

This Difficult Individual Eustace Mullins—& the Remarkable Ezra Pound

This Difficult Individual Eustace Mullins—& the Remarkable Ezra Pound

By Beatrice Mott

Ex: http://www.toqonline.com/

Eustace Mullins

Eustace Mullins

Earlier this year my friend Eustace Mullins passed away. He had been ailing for some time — at least since I first met him in 2006. Hopefully he is in a better place now.

Mr. Mullins made a huge mark on the nationalist community here in the United States, but also has a following in Europe and Japan. For those who have not read his books, Mr. Mullins attempted to expose the criminal syndicates that manipulate governments and the international financial system.

But Mr. Mullins’ most sparkling claim to fame was his partnership with Ezra Pound in order to write Secrets of the Federal Reserve — probably the most well-known exposé of how our government really works.

But nobody’s life is all sunshine and light. While Mr. Mullins’ work is among the most famous in the nationalist community, it is also some of the worst researched. He often fails to reference where he uncovered the material in his books. While Mr. Mullins was very perceptive of historical trends, his insights were sometimes overshadowed by unbalanced statements.

Authors wishing to quote Eustace’s books in their own writing make themselves an easy target for reasonable critics or hate organizations like the ADL. In this way, Mr. Mullins has done more harm to the movement than good.

I learned this the long way. Having read Secrets, I drove down to Staunton, VA in the summer of 2006 and spent an afternoon talking with Mr. Mullins. My goal was to find the origin of several stories and statements which I could not reference from the text. Mr. Mullins was an elderly gentleman and he couldn’t remember where he had found any of the material I was interested in. He simply replied: “It’s all in the Library of Congress. Back then they would let me wander the stacks.”

So I moved to D.C., a few blocks from the library and spent the better part of two years trying to retrace Mr. Mullins’ footsteps. Prior to this I had had several years’ experience as a researcher and was used to trying to find the proverbial “needle in a haystack.” They wouldn’t let me wander around the book storage facility (the stacks), but I scoured the catalog for anything that might contain the source for Mr. Mullins’ statements. I couldn’t verify any of the information in question.

Sadly, I realized that it would never be good practice to quote Mr. Mullins. But I hadn’t wasted the time. I know more about the Federal Reserve now than most people who work there and I learned about the fantastic Mr. Pound.

Ezra Pound is among the most remarkable men of the last 120 years. He made his name as a poet and guided W. B. Yeats, T.S. Elliot and E. Hemingway on their way to the Noble Prize (back when it meant something). He is the most brilliant founder of Modernism — a movement which sought to create art in a more precise and succinct form. Modernism can be seen as a natural reaction to the florid, heavy Victorian sensibility — it is not the meaningless abstractions we are assaulted with today.

Born in Idaho, Pound left the United States for Europe in 1908. In London he found an audience of educated people who appreciated his poetry. He married Dorothy Shakespear, a descendant of the playwright. Pound also befriended some of the most brilliant artists of the time and watched them butchered in the First World War.

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska [1], a sculptor and one of Ezra’s best friends, was one of these sacrifices. The Great War changed Pound’s outlook on life — no longer content with his artistic endeavors alone, he wanted to find out why that war happened.

Ezra_Pound_1945_May_26_mug_shotThe answer he got bought him 12 years as a political prisoner in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Anacostia, just across the river from the Capitol in Washington D.C. Pound was never put on trial but was branded a traitor by the post-war American media.

What answer did Pound find? Our wars begin and end at the instigation of the international financial houses. The bankers make money on fighting and rebuilding by controlling credit. They colonize nations and have no loyalty to their host countries’ youth or culture. No sacrifice is too great for their profit.

Much of Pound’s work chronicles the effect of this parasitic financial class on societies: from ancient China to modern-day Europe. Pound was a polyglot and scoured numerous (well-documented) sources for historical background. The education that Mullins’ work promises is delivered by the truckload in Pound’s writing. Pound often lists his sources at the end of his work — and they always check out.

Eustace Mullins got to know Pound during the poet’s time as a political prisoner. He was introduced to Pound by an art professor from Washington’s Institute of Contemporary Arts which, in Mullins’ words, “housed the sad remnants of the ‘avant-garde‘ in America.”

According to Mr. Mullins, Pound took to him and commissioned Eustace to carry on his work investigating the international financial system. Pound gave Eustace an American dollar bill and asked him to find out what “Federal Reserve” printed across its top meant. Secrets, many derivative books, and thousands of conspiracy websites have sprung from that federal reserve note.

And here is where the story goes sour. Pound was a feared political prisoner incarcerated because of what he said in Italy about America’s involvement with the international bankers and warmongering. Pound was watched twenty four hours a day and was under the supervision of Dr. Winfred Overholser, the superintendent of the hospital.

Overholser was employed by the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA’s forerunner) to test drugs for the personality-profiling program, what would be called MK-ULTRA. (See John Marks’ The Search for “the Manchurian Candidate”: The CIA and Mind-Control [2].) Personality profiling was St. Elizabeth’s bread and butter: The asylum was a natural ally to the agency.

Overholser was also a distinguished professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department of George Washington University. This department provided students as test patients for the Frankfurt Schools’ personality profiling work, which the CIA was very interested in. Prophets of Deceit, first written by Leo Löwenthal [3] and Norbert Guterman in 1948, reads like a clumsy smear against Pound.

It does seem odd that a nationalist student would be allowed to continue the work of the dangerously brilliant Pound right under Winny’s nose. The story gets even stranger, as Mr. Mullins describes his stay in Washington during this time. He was housed at the Library of Congress — apparently he lived in one of the disused rooms in the Jefferson building and became good friends with Elizabeth Bishop [4].

Bishop was the Library of Congress’ “Consultant in Poetry” — quite a plum position. She was also identified by Frances Stonor Saunders as working with Nicolas Nabokov in Rio de Janeiro. Nabokov was paid by the CIA to handle South American-focused anti-Stalinist writers. (See The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters [5].) If what Saunders says is true, then it puts Eustace in strange company at that time of his life.

According to the CIA’s in-house historians, the Library was also a central focus for intelligence gathering [6] after the war, so it is doubly unlikely that just anybody would be allowed to poke around there after hours.

Whatever the motivation for letting Mullins in to see Pound was, the result has been that confusion, misinformation and unverifiable literature have clouded Pound’s message about the financial industry’s role in war. Fortunately Pound did plenty of his own writing.

According to Eustace, his relations with Pound’s relatives were strained after Pound’s release from prison. Pound moved back to Italy where he died in 1972. He was never the same after his stay with Overholser in St. E’s. The St. Elizabeth’s building is slated to become the new headquarters of the Department for Homeland Security [7].

Eustace went on to write many, many books about the abuses of government, big business and organized religion. They are very entertaining and are often insightful, but are arsenic from a researcher’s point of view. A book that contains interesting information without saying where the information came from is worse than no book at all.

While lackadaisical about references in his own writing, Mr. Mullins could be extremely perceptive and critical of the writing of others. I once told him how much respect I had for George Orwell’s daring to write 1984 — to which he sharply replied: “It’s a great piece of pro-government propaganda — they win in the end.” Mr. Mullins is of course right: Orwell’s Big Brother is always one step ahead, almost omniscient — and therefore invincible.

Eustace Mullins was much more than a writer. He became a political activist and befriended many prominent people in the American nationalist movement. But Mr. Mullins didn’t have much faith in American nationalism: It is a movement, he told me, that the government would never let go anywhere.

The Occidental Observer [8], March 20, 2010

vendredi, 30 septembre 2011

Eustace Mullins e i segreti del poeta

Eustace Mullins e i segreti del poeta

Washington DC – primavera del 1949, St. Elizabeths Hospital in una camera del Mental Health Department un illustre “ospite”: Ezra Pound

di Gian Paolo Pucciarelli

Ex: http://www.rinascita.eu/

Eustace Mullins ha un rispettabile impiego alla Library of Congress, una laurea alla Washington University e un vivo interesse per le avanguardie europee del primo Novecento.
Lo attraggono i dipinti di Picasso e di Kandinski e in genere il Modernismo.
La Biblioteca del Congresso è la più grande del mondo (ventotto milioni di volumi).
Monumentale compendio dell’intero scibile umano e (con qualche disagio) campionario assortito di crisi e fulgori della cultura occidentale. Di quest’ultima un semplice bibliotecario può comprendere ambiguità e contraddizioni, a stento nascoste sotto il peso dell’architettura neoclassica, della tradizione liberale e della memoria di un presidente.
L’imponente Jefferson Building, appunto. E tutto quello che c’è dentro.
Ubicazione: 101 Independence Avenue – Washington – DC, qualche minuto a piedi dalla Casa Bianca, mezz’ora d’autobus e due secoli d’inutile fuga dall’oscurantismo per raggiungere il 1100 dell’Alabama Avenue e il… “Nido del Cuculo”.
La storia dei manicomi, vero o falsa che sia, lascia concrete tracce d’archetipi. Uno di questi si trova su una lieve altura, in direzione sud-est, quasi alla confluenza del Potomac con l’Anacostia.
Il punto in cui sostano gli uccelli migratori in cerca della giusta rotta e sbagliano… nido.
Ottanta piedi d’altezza, linee tardogotiche in segno d’austerità e non trascorsi orrori, sovrapposti ai tanti frantumi del sogno americano, in modo che ne risulti un sinistro edificio. (L’ispirazione è di Milos Foreman che venticinque anni più tardi, tenterà di spiegare le terapie psichiatriche in uso negli States, con buoni appoggi di Upjohns, Roche e le Multinazionali delle benzodiazepine).
Nome ufficiale: St. Elizabeths Hospital.
A causa di ben note imprecisioni nel distinguere la follia individuale da quella collettiva, i cartelli indicatori all’ingresso del nosocomio non recano la scritta “Mental Health”. Anche perché non è bene si sappia che fra gli 8.000 “ospiti” dell’Ospedale sono selezionati i “forensic patients” da sottoporre al test della lobotomia.
I Civils “beneficiano” invece di quotidiane terapie… elettroconvulsive.
Le visite ai ricoverati non sono concesse facilmente. Per via del lezzo di urina secolare misto ai vapori dell’acido ipocloroso, causa di svenimenti e complicazioni polmonari.
Poi perché non sono ancora tanto lontani i tempi in cui Mr. Donovan, già Chief dell’ O.S.S., inaugurò al St. Elizabeth l’uso della scopolamina per farne il siero della verità.
Nel complesso di edifici dell’Alabama Avenue si conservano in formaldeide 1.400 cervelli umani e corre voce che vi sia finito anche quello di Mussolini (ritenuto d’interesse sociale e utile un domani a chi intendesse esaminare le cellule del Capo del Fascismo a scopi didattici, misurando gli effetti dell’irrazionalità delle masse sui lobi cerebrali del Duce).
Eustace Mullins ha appena varcato i cancelli del St. Elizabeth, dopo aver ottenuto il “passi” e non prima di aver svuotato la propria vescica urinaria. Fra tante amenità, recentemente apprese, mentre s’incammina lungo il viale che attraversa un ampio prato fino all’entrata principale, sente l’irrefrenabile impulso di affondare una mano nella tasca dei pantaloni per tastarsi ripetutamente i testicoli. Gesto salvifico, anche se irrispettoso, per la vicinanza di Mrs. Dorothy che, pur mesta e pensosa, con lui procede, affiancandolo.
Poco dopo, preda dell’emozione e degli scongiuri, Mullins si guarda intorno circospetto, avvertendo invisibili presenze di spettri in divisa.
Sono i fantasmi dei 500 Soldati Blu (e Grigi) sepolti nell’area circostante, vittime della guerra civile e dell’oblio. I loro poveri resti giacciono dispersi per sempre nel sottosuolo, mentre ignari tagliaerba, ordinando il prato che li sovrasta senza alcun segno tombale, continuano a cancellarne la memoria. Mullins sembra udire grida di vendetta, soffocate da metri di terra e fastidiosi ronzii di tagliatrici. Ma è solo un’impressione. Non gli resta che accennare un sorriso, sul quale si protende un filo di persistente amarezza.
Appare il cartello Mental Health Department. Prima di varcarne l’ingresso, il “visitatore” guarda il lontano e quasi immobile Potomac, da cui sembra levarsi il frastuono delle battaglie combattute novant’anni prima. L’illusione sonora s’interrompe, per via delle voci, quasi irreali, che provengono dall’interno. Mullins, controllando a stento la propria emozione, si affida a Mrs. Dorothy che lo accompagna alla camera di un illustre “ospite” del dipartimento: Ezra Pound.
Fuori, lo struttural-funzionalismo alla Talcott Parsons propone tregua ai conflitti sociali, solidale col noto impostore che raccomanda “Società Aperte” senza far uso di volantini.
Bastano l’abbaglio del benessere e l’abitudine a invisibili moltiplicatori del debito pubblico.
La cella del St. Elizabeth in cui “alloggia” Pound è occupata da un maleodorante giaciglio e un tavolo di metallo, su cui si ammucchiano quaderni di appunti. Lo spazio esiguo della cella consente di ospitarvi il solo recluso, esempio del trattamento riservato alle vittime della moderna inquisizione. Sebbene Mrs. Dorothy cerchi di tranquillizzare Mullins, si fa presto strada in lui la tentazione di concludere la visita con un rapido, liberatorio congedo, ancor prima che si proceda con le presentazioni. L’ambiente è impressionante. Il Poeta del resto, poco incline ai convenevoli, esclusi quelli strettamente di rito, dopo un breve scambio di parole, non sembra propenso al dialogo. Lunghi silenzi, interrotti da brevi domande sullo stato di salute del recluso, restano senza risposta, con evidente imbarazzo di Mullins, che più volte rivolge lo sguardo a Mrs. Dorothy, mentre gli occhi di Pound, seminascosti da cispose sopracciglia, lo fissano con insistenza.
“Lei ha fatto la guerra?” Chiede il Poeta. E la domanda riduce l’impaccio del bibliotecario, ma ne aumenta comunque la sudorazione corporea.
“Sì. Ho prestato servizio nell’US Army, e nel 1945 facevo parte delle Forze di occupazione in Baviera.”
“ Si è mai chiesto perché?”
“Perché ho servito la mia Patria.”
“No. No. Si è mai chiesto perché è scoppiata la guerra?”
Mullins impallidisce.
“Si è mai chiesto che cosa rappresentano gli enormi e profondi crateri di Hiroshima, scavati e modellati nella calda estate del 1945?”
“Lei sa che cos’è la Federal Reserve Bank?”
“La Banca Centrale degli Stati Uniti.”
“Non esattamente. E’ la responsabile della Prima e della Seconda Guerra Mondiale!”
Mullins ascolta attonito.
Nel linguaggio di Pound ricorre la parola Usura, che vuol dire International Loan System, rete dei prestiti pubblici organizzata dall’Investment Banking, cui spetta il diritto di intermediazione su ogni scambio internazionale. La memoria di un passato non più recente, ma incancellabile, emerge, imperiosa e sgradita, componendo immagini che velocemente si sovrappongono per ricordare ferite inguaribili, inflitte nel profondo dell’animo.
Tempi e luoghi diversi evocano il lungo soggiorno europeo e il passo dell’esule, cadenzato sui ritmi poetici del Cavalcanti e l’Alighieri, per tradurlo nel linguaggio, illuminante e faticoso dei Cantos. Parigi e la Bella Signora Italia, più volte violentata e offesa. Venezia, la Riviera. Il 1945 è anno cruciale. Oltre all’arresto del cittadino americano “traditore” che osò denunciare i responsabili di due guerre mondiali, si segnalava nei pressi del lago di Como, la presenza di un britannico obeso, con l’orecchio all’ascolto di sempre più fievoli eco, disperse nel vuoto, fino alla decisa pressione d’uno scarpone militare straniero; un brindisi di compiacimento per festeggiare la morte di Radio Roma e i trionfi del Dio della Guerra.
Un’analisi retrospettiva è essenziale, dice il Poeta, non certo per convincere chi baratta la libertà con la miopia, ma per… vederci chiaro. La sorpresa non manca, quando Pound afferma che in quella occasione l’agenda di Winston Churchill non valeva meno dei diari di Mussolini e di una cartella marrone, contenente carte compromettenti.
Il premier inglese era solito annotarvi date importanti, usando la matita rossa, come per esempio “Yalta – 4 febbraio 1945”.
Per Dresda preferiva il colore blu, che ricorda le bombe al fosforo, stilando di suo pugno le note su quanto sarebbe avvenuto nella città tedesca undici giorni dopo.
Perché mai la Conferenza economica di Bretton Woods ebbe luogo un mese dopo lo sbarco in Normandia? Una direttiva del “War Production Board”, o un ordine preciso del “Pool” di Banche Internazionali che finanziavano le industrie di armamenti? Chi aveva voluto la guerra, manovrando astutamente “dietro le quinte”? Chi pretendeva il controllo della finanza mondiale?
Mullins è impressionato.
Pound continua…
Provincia di Como, Giulino di Mezzegra e dintorni – 28 aprile 1945
Lo stesso signore sovrappeso, calvo e vestito di scuro, la matita rossa e blu nel taschino, pronta a scrivere luoghi e date, e a tracciare una bella “X” trasversale sopra un nome importante e troppo scomodo. Che cosa fa costui, quando gli Alleati sono alle porte e il Cln combatte la “sua” guerra di ritorsione? Dipinge mediocri acquarelli sulle rive del lago.
Alle creazioni artistiche assistono a breve distanza i suoi attenti custodi, agenti del Secret Operations Executive (SOE).
Fra i cadaveri, che entro poche ore penderanno a testa in giù in Piazzale Loreto, ci sarà anche quello dell’uomo che voleva difendersi e sapeva troppe cose.
Il signore obeso, vestito di scuro, che non conosce le sventure di Mani, l’eretico, né l’orrenda fine di Dioniso, o del Paracleto consolatore, due volte crocifisso, traccia due “X” in rosso su quel nome e riprende a pasticciare acquarelli.
Nelle orecchie risuonano i primi sette versi del Canto Pisano 74, (scritti su carta igienica, all’interno di una gabbia per animali, esposta alle intemperie in aperta campagna).
Lì si apprende che rischia la condanna a morte chiunque raccomandi la “moneta a scadenza” di Silvio Gesell, le teorie monetarie del Maggiore Douglas e osi maledire il “putrido” gold standard e i Banchieri usurai. Ma dal ventoso viale di Washington, dove si aprono i portali della Suprema Corte giunge l’eco della sentenza, nella severa voce di un giudice che si appresta a decretare insanità mentali.
Il “folle” avrebbe fatto anche l’uomo in gabbia per manifestare i tormenti del secolo breve e il grande inganno, di cui il mondo sarebbe stato vittima, senza il bisogno di cercare conferme fra gli appunti di Winston Churchill.
In America intanto i sondaggi già tendono a far crescere l’ottimismo, mentre di fatto la vita continua fra incertezze e paure.
Per altro, nessuno crede più alla casualità di quel che accade in politica. Né alle stime che confermano il prevalere degli “accidentalisti” sui “cospirazionisti”. Ma chi se la sentiva allora di smentire il compianto Presidente, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, autorevole pedina di Wall Street, e quanto egli avrebbe confidato al proprio ambasciatore a Londra, Joseph (Joe) Kennedy: “ In politics nothing happens by chance, if it happens you may bet it was planned that way”?
Nel grande Paese della Libertà si vive intanto l’età dell’ansia, da secoli sofferta e pianificata per i decenni a venire.
“The Age of Anxiety” è, fra l’altro, poema fresco di stampa, che guadagna il Pulitzer, la buona fama di W.H. Auden e crea non pochi equivoci nella società americana del dopoguerra, più incline a ingoiare ansiolitici che a leggere versi (ignorando che le strade della follia spesso non portano al manicomio).
Pound si congeda, pregando Mrs. Dorothy di accompagnare il visitatore all’uscita.
Al commiato, un biglietto di 10 dollari si protende verso Mullins ed è accettato volentieri. Rimborso spese settimanali per svolgere una piccola inchiesta.
Dove? Alla Library of Congress, naturalmente. Lì c’è tutto quello che occorre sapere sul Vreeland-Aldrich Act, e molto altro ancora. Per esempio quanto accadde in una stazione ferroviaria del New Jersey durante una sera d’autunno del 1910.
Il bibliotecario intanto accetta l’incarico che gli costerà, subito dopo, il posto di lavoro.

23 Settembre 2011 12:00:00 - http://rinascita.eu/index.php?action=news&id=10489

jeudi, 29 septembre 2011

Masa y Poder: Ezra Pound pedagogo

Presentación del libro de Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011

“I was twenty years behind the Times”
(Ezra Pound, ‘Contemporania’, 1913)

Masa y Poder: Ezra Pound pedagogo

Por Nicolás González Varela



“GUÍA DE LA CULTURA. Título ridículo, truco publicitario. ¿Desafío? Guía debería significar ayuda a otra persona a llegar a un sitio. ¿Debemos de despreciarlo? Tiros de prueba.”[1] El único libro del economista-poeta Ezra Loomis Pound que salió en el annus memorabilis de 1938[2] fue una anomalía desde todo punto de vista. Su título: Guide to Kulchur (GK). En sus páginas puede disfrutarse del mejor Pound vanguardista, que como Minerva nace armado con su método ideogramático, un Pound sin temor ni temblor a fundir en una nueva síntesis, en una Summa de su pensamiento, nada menos que a Jefferson, Mussolini, Malatesta, Cavalcanti y Confucio. Pound vive en la Italia fascista desde fines de 1924, ha vivido la consolidación, estabilización y maduración del regimen fascista, desde cuyas fórmulas políticas e instituciones económicas, cree con fervor, puede plantearse una terza via entre el capitalismo liberal en bancarrota y el socialismo burocrático de Stalin. También son los años en que Pound, demostrando su estatura intelectual, pasa de las preocupaciones estéticas a las éticas. El libro tiene su propia historia interna, una poco conocida tortured history: en febrero de 1937 Pound inicia una correspondencia con el playful in-house editor Frank Morley (a quién Pound llamaba cariñosamente por su tamaño Whale, ballena), de la editorial inglesa Faber&Faber. Pound le informa acerca de un nuevo libro revolucionario de prosa. Estaría muy bien, le contestaba Morley, que en lugar de escribir algo similar a su ABC of Reading, de 1934, publicara sus ideas sobre lo que entiende por la Cultura con mayor extensión y profundidad. Inmediatamente Pound le contesta que pensaba en primer lugar en una obra que se llamaría The New Learning (El nuevo Aprendizaje), luego sugirió el nombre de Paideuma, pero desde el principio el editor Morley lo consideraría, más que como un Hauptwerk exhaustivo sobre el tema, como una introducción o guía, por lo que surgió el nombre de Guide to Cultur, que llevaría un subtítulo curioso luego desechado “The Book of Ezro”: “un libro que pueda funcionar como una educación literaria para el aspirante a todas las excavaciones y que desea hacer volar el mundo académico antes que hacer su trabajo.”[3] Morley además le aseguraba que para un popular textbook como del que hablaba, existía un amplio mercado potencial de lectores. En una carta dirigida al editor Pound en febrero de 1937 describía el proyecto como “lo que Ez (Ezra) sabe, todo lo que sabe, por siete y seis peniques” (y en tamaño más portable que el British Museum)[4], y le explicaba que introduciría algunos contrastes entre la decadencia de Occidente y Oriente y que también mencionaría los aspectos “raciales” de la Cultura. Además describía el esqueleto de su futura obra en tres grandes bloques: I) Método (basado en las Analectas de Confucio); II) Filosofía (en tanto una exposición y a la vez crítica de la Historia del Pensamiento) y III) Historia (genealogía de la acción o los puntos cruciales del Clean Cut).[5] Finalmente se firmó el contrato formal entre ambas partes y el libro se denominaba en él como Ez’ Guide to Kulchur.

GK fue publicada entonces por la editorial Faber&Faber[6] en el Reino Unido en julio de 1938 y por la editorial New Directions, pero bajo el título más anodino de Culture, en noviembre de 1938 en la versión para los pacatos Estados Unidos. Pound la escribió de corrido en un mes durante la primavera de 1937 (marzo-abril), bajo un estado anímico al que algunos biógrafos como Tytell denominaron “a sense of harried desperation”.[7] Como saben los que conocen su vida y obra, cada movimiento que propugnaba lo tomaba como un asunto de emergencia extrema y límite. Según el irónico comentario del propio Pound “el contrato de la editorial habla de una guía DE la cultura no A TRAVÉS de la cultura humana. Todo hombre debe conocer sus interioridades o lo interno de ella por sí mismo.” y efectivamente no defraudó a sus editores en absoluto. El libro (si podemos denominarlo así) era un escándalo antes de ver la luz. Aparentemente nadie de la editorial leyó en profundidad el manuscrito en su contenido polémico y cercano al libélo. Ya había ejemplares encuadernados, listos para entregar al distribuidor, cuando la editorial inglesa Faber&Faber decidió que, posiblemente, algunos pasajes eran radicalmente difamatorios. Al menos, según cuentan especialistas y biógrafos confiables, se arrancaron quince páginas ofensivas, se imprimieron de nuevo y se pegaron con prisa; también se imprimieron nuevos cuadernillos de páginas para los ejemplares que no habían sido encuadernados todavía.[8] No nos extraña: sabemos que Pound como crítico “jamás experimentó el temor de sus propias convicciones”, en palabras de Eliot. Quod scripsi scripsi. Lo extraño y maravilloso es que el libro como tal haya sobrevivido a semejante desastre editorial. GK fue finalmente publicado el 21 de julio de 1938, estaba dedicada “A Louis Zukofsky y Basil Bunting luchadores en el desierto”. Zukofsky era un mediocre poeta objetivista neyorquino, autodefinido como communist, al que Pound adoptó como discípulo y seguidor de sus ideas[9]; a su vez Bunting era un poeta británico, conservador e imperialista, que Pound ayudó con sus influencias intelectuales y el mecenazgo práctico.[10] Pound mismo consideraba GK, circa 1940, como la obra en la que había logrado desarrollar su “best prose”[11], además la ubicaba, junto a The Cantos, Personae, Ta Hio, y Make It New, en el canon de sus opera maiorum. También lo consideraba uno de sus libros más “intensamente personales”, una suerte de ultimate do-it-yourself de Ezra Pound. Su amigo, el gran poeta T. S. Eliot afirmó que tanto GK como The Spirit of Romance (1910) debían ser leídos obligatoriamente con detenimiento e íntegramente. Aunque puede considerarse el más importante libro en prosa escrito por Pound a lo largo de su vida[12], sin embargo Guide to… no cuenta con el favoritismo de especialistas y scholars de la academia (a excepción de Bacigalupo, Coyle, Davie, Harmon, Lamberti, Lindberg y Nicholls).[13] El mejor y más perceptivo review sobre el libro lo realizó su viejo amigo el poeta Williams Carlos Williams, en un artículo no exento de críticas por sus elogios desmesurados a Mussolini titulado “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish”. En él, Williams señalaba que a pesar de todas su limitaciones o errores involuntarios, GK debía ser leído por el aporte de Pound en cuanto a revolucionar el estilo, por su modo de entender la nueva educación de las masas y por iluminar de manera quirúrgica muchas de las causas de la enfermedad de nuestro presente.[14] En cambio nosotros no consideraremos a GK ni como un libro menor, ni como un divertido Companion a su obra poética, ni como un torso incompleto, ni siquiera como un proyecto fallido. En realidad GK es una propedeútica al sistema poundiano, su mejor via regia, un acceso privilegiado a lo que podríamos denominar los standard landmarks[15] de su compleja topografía intelectual: la doctrina de Ch’ing Ming, el famoso método ideogramático, su libro de poemas The Cantos entendido como un tale of the tribe, la figura de la rosa in steel dust,[16] la forma combinada de escritura paratáctica[17], el uso anti y contrailustrado de la cita erudita, su deriva hacia el modelo fascista (la economía volicionista y su correspondiente superestructura cultura)[18], la superioridad en el conocimiento auténtico de la Anschauung[19] como ars magna y el concepto-llave de Paideuma. GK puede ser además considerado un extraordinario postscript a su opera maiorum, hablamos de la monumental obra The Cantos, en especial a los poemas que van del XXXI al LI, publicados entre 1934 y 1937. Pound se propone incluso romper con su propia prosa pasada: “Estoy, confío de manera clara, haciendo con este libro algo diferente de lo que intenté en Como leer, o en el ABC de la Lectura. Allí estaba tratando abiertamente de establecer una serie o un conjunto de medidas, normas, voltímetros; aquí me ocupo de un conjunto heteróclito de impresiones, confío que humanas, sin que sean demasiado descaradamente humanas.”[20]

propaganda americana contra la cultura alemana

US propaganda contra la cultura alemana, I Guerra


En primer término, y por encima de todo, debemos señalar al lector ingenuo que Ezra Loomis Pound ha sido un pedagogo y un propagandista antes que nada y se propone nada más ni nada menos que GK sea un Novum Organum, al mejor estilo baconiano[21], de la época incierta que se abre ante sus pies. Llamarlo Kulchur tiene su explicación filosófica y política: Pound quería referirse al concepto alemán de Cultura (Kultur) pero para diferenciarlo del tradicional que utiliza la élite (irremediablemente lastrado de connotaciones clasistas, nacionalistas y raciales), lo escribe según la pronunciación; y al mismo tiempo anula la indicación tradicional que tiene el concepto Cultur en inglés. Este sesgo nuevo y revolucionario a lo que entendemos en la Modernidad por Cultura es el primer paso para la tarea de un New Learning de masas y la posibilidad histórica de un nuevo Renacimiento en Europa, ya que “las democracias han fallado lamentablemente durante un siglo en educar a la gente y en hacerle consciente de las necesidades totalmente rudimentarias de la democracia. La primera es la alfabetización monetaria.” Su significado temático revolucionario, intentar comprender de otro modo al Hombre, la Naturaleza y la Historia, debemos señalarlo, excede el mero ejercicio de escribir poesía. Es una vigorosa reacción contra la Aufklärung, que para Pound es una período de lenta decadencia, la verdadera Dark Age de Occidente, signado por la subsunción de toda la Cultura a la usura y el mercantilismo más brutal (institucionalizados en una forma perversa: la banca): “Hemos ganado y perdido cierto terreno desde la época de Rabelais o desde que Montaigne esbozó todo el conocimiento humano.”[22] Como Nietzsche, Pound rescata de las Lumiéres tan solo a Bayle y Voltaire y si Nietzsche intentó este nuevo desaprendizaje-aprendizaje contra la Modernidad desde la forma literario-política del aforismo, Pound lo intentará desde el ideograma y el fragmento citacional, buscando el mismo efecto pedagógico en las masas, en el hombre sin atributos, que había experimentado en persona en la Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista[23] inaugurada en el Palazzo delle Esposizioni de Roma en 1932.

¿El libro es en realidad un enorme ideograma de acceso a la verdadera Kulchur? Recordemos que para Pound Cultura con mayúsculas es cuando el individuo ha “olvidado” qué es un libro, o también aquellos que queda en el hombre medio cuando ha olvidado todo aquello que le han enseñado.[24] Y que entonces de alguna manera la auténtica Cultura se correlaciona con una forma privilegiado de relación entre el sujeto y el objeto, la Anschauung, opuesta sin posibilidad de cancelación con el Knowledge de la Modernidad, un producto amnésico y totalitario (en sentido gestáltico, no político) prefabricado a través de un enfoque deficiente de el Arte, la Economía, la Historia y la Política. La Anschauung es superior, tanto epistémica como políticamente: “La autoridad en un mundo material o salvaje puede venir de un prestigio acumulado, basado en la intuición. Confiamos en un hombre porque hemos llegado a considerarle (en su totalidad) como hombre sabio y bien equilibrado. Optamos por su presentimiento. Realizamos un acto de fe.”[25] Siempre hay que subrayar que Pound no tiene como propósito exclusivamente el regodeo narcisista de transmitir “descubrimientos”, ni progresar en algún tipo de carrerismo académico, sino que su pathos radical presionaba a que sus tesis deben ser llevadas a la práctica, y por ello él mismo nos muestra el camino y custodia con celo la senda adecuada para tal traducción material: “Y al llegar aquí, debemos hacer una clara diferencia entre dos clases de «ideas». Ideas que existen y/o son discutidas en una especie de vacío, que son como si fueran juguetes del intelecto, e ideas que se intentan poner en «acción» o guiar la acción y que nos sirven como reglas (y/o medidas) de conducta.”[26] La distinción de Pound fijada en el concepto técnico de “Clean Cut” entre ideas in a vacuum y las ideas in action (básicas como reglas de conducta) es crucial en este sentido.[27] Pound decía que al final GK no era más que “su mapa de carreteras, con la idea de ayudar al que venga detrás a alcanzar algunas pocas de las cimas, con menos trabajo que el que uno ha tenido…” Para lograr una educación profunda y postliberal, decía Pound que el alumno debía dominar las siguientes bases mínimas: todo Confucio (en chino directamente o en la versión francesa de M. G. Pauthier), todo Homero (en las traducciones latinas o en la francesa de Hughes Salel), Ovidio, Catulo y Propercio (utilizando como referencia la Metamorfosis de Golding y los Amores de Marlowe), un libro de canciones provenzales (que al menos incluya a los Minnesingers y a Bion), por supuesto Dante (además treinta poemas de sus contemporáneos, en especial de Cavalcanti), “algunos otros temas medievales… y algún esbozo general de la Historia del Pensamiento a través del Renacimiento, Villon, los escritos críticos de Voltaire (incluyendo una pequeña incursión en la prosa contemporánea), Stendhal, Flaubert (y por supuesto los hermanos Goncourt), Gautier, Corbière y Rimbaud.”[28] GK es la Guía Baedeker, que puede superar en un solo mandoble las limitaciones tanto de la Modernidad liberal como el Comunismo de sello staliniano[29], a través de una nueva genealogía basada en lo que denomina the Best Tradition, o en palabras de Pound “En lo esencial, voy a escribir este nuevo Vademécum sin abrir ningún otro volumen, voy a anotar en la medida de lo posible solamente lo que ha resistido a la erosión del tiempo y al olvido. Y en esto hay un poderoso argumento. Cualquier otro camino significaría que me vería obligado a tener que citar un sinnúmero de historias y obras de referencia.”[30]

El primer efecto del método poundiano en el lector ingenuo y tradicional es la desorientación en el maremagnum de las yustaposiciones y la interrupciones en la ilación lógica. Además es evidente que Pound “juega” con el diseño gráfico de la página, trasciende la linearidad del texto, subvierte las normas establecidas de signos y morfología, trascendiendo el contenido a través de imágenes: reproducción de ideogramas, partituras musicales, fragmentos citacionales de temas diversos, citaciones ad verbatim, déjà-vus semánticos, formas coloquiales anónimas et altri. Esto efectos no son meramente buscados en busca de algún efecto visual “vanguardista”, “lúdico” o “creativo”, en absoluto (aunque co-existan en GK como efectos de composición) sino de crear un nuevo soporte, mitad estilo mitad icónico, capaz de vehicular, de soportar como medio comunicativo eficaz, la nueva sensibilidad que reclama Occidente en decadencia: “El lector con prisas puede decir que escribo en clave y que mis afirmaciones se deslizan de un punto a otro sin conexión u orden. La afirmación es, sin embargo, completa. Todos los elementos están ahí, y el más perverso de los aficionados a los crucigramas debería ser capaz de resolverlo o de verlo.”[31] Pound reclama en GK su idea de One-Image Poems, paradigma poético-icónico,  o incluso podemos llamarlo una suerte de “lenguaje mosaico”, que como hemos señalado, se eleva sobre el sólido fundamento de la yuxtaposición paratáctica de texto e imágenes diversas, creando una suerte de espacio acústico.[32] El aspecto formal del método ideogramático es muy importante para Pound, y uno de sus componentes centrales es su propia definición de imagen como una presencia compleja que implica tanto lo intelectual como lo puramente emocional en una simultaneidad: “an Image is that which presents an intellectual and an emotional complex in an instant of time.”[33] Una definición totalmente bergsoniana: la inmediata, la interacción intuitiva inmediata con la imagen, el mismo instante del tiempo en que esta interacción se produce, el espontáneo crecimiento formativo por la presencia del élan vital, el retorno a los horned Gods y la libertad total con respecto de los límites “normales” que determinan el cuadro perceptivo burgués, tienen directa contraparte con el concepto de evolución creadora de la filosofía de Henri Bergson.

GK es concebido por Pound para las grandes masas, el gran público amorfo de la infernal sociedad industrial-mercantilista[34], el despreciado uomo qualunque, al cual el poeta intenta re-educar en un modo revolucionario, polémico y de mortal enfrentamiento con el sistema institucional y académico burgués y para sobrevivir a la sobre información generada por la opinión pública moderna: “Estoy, en el mejor de los casos, tratando de suministrar al lector medio unas pocas herramientas para hacer frente a la heteróclita masa de información no digerida con que se le abruma diaria y mensualmente, y lista a enmarañarle los pies por medio de libros de referencia.”[35] La hipótesis no explícita de Pound es el reconocimiento de la irrupción irreversible en la Historia de una nueva “masa”, heterogénea y segmentada (aunque tanto el tardoliberalismo como el burocratismo soviético intentarán homogeneizarla y uniformarla), que empuja a revisar axiomas y arcani imperii consolidados: estado, economía, política, cultura, organismo social, poder. Es a esta masa, que soporta el efecto reaccionario de los new media, es el objeto privilegiado de intervención al que se dirige GK con la ideología a la que adhiere Pound, tanto en lo personal (las nuevas teorías económicas de Gesell, el confuso antisemitismo)[36] como en lo corporativo (el Stato totale de la Italia fascista como anticipación)[37]. El método ideogramático se coloca así como una refinadísima actividad de agitprop, con la capacidad de retomar fuentes de la tradición culta (consciente y críticamente seleccionadas)[38], elementos literarios como la voz y la autoridad autoral (que le otorga credibilidad e identidad al texto), para refundirlos con los nuevas necesidades de consenso y reproducción que han generado en el sustrato popular los nuevos medios de comunicación (¡de masas!) de la esfera pública burguesa, así como las modalidades de consumo y ocio. Y es por ello la importancia hoy de volver a leer GK como un laboratorio que lleva a sus límites la propia Weltanschauung tardomodernista, en esa experimentación entre desarrollo formal y la voluntad de generar nuevos “efectos” que van más allá de lo meramente poético en el uso de herramientas retóricas.

Pound persigue regenerar un Total Man, pero revulsivo y de signo inverso al de la ideología demo-liberal, que puede realizar una conversión y metamorfosis de tal magnitud que le permita “conversar” con los grandes filósofos y generar buenos líderes. Esta “regeneración”, por supuesto, es incompleta y unilateral si no se logra que los vórtices del Poder y los vórtices de la Cultura coincidan[39], por lo que la efectividad de GK sólo podrá verse reflejada cuando la forma estado en Occidente tienda hacia el Stato totale[40] de la Italia fascista. Y del elemento corporativo deberían aprender con humildad las deficientes y corruptas democracias liberales, en especial Reino Unido y los Estados Unidos de América, ya que “NINGUNA democracia existente puede permitirse el pasar por alto la lección de la práctica corporativa. El ‘economista’ individual que trate de hacerlo, o bien es un tonto o un sinvergüenza o un ignoramus.” En otro polémico libro, Jefferson and/or Mussolini, Pound lo describe de esta manera: “Un buen gobierno es aquel que opera de acuerdo con lo mejor de lo que se conoce y del pensamiento. Y el mejor gobierno es el que traduce el mejor pensamiento más rápidamente en acción.”[41] De igual manera lo expresa mucho más pristínamente en GK: “El mejor gobierno es (¿naturalmente?) el que pone a funcionar lo mejor de la inteligencia de una nación.”[42] Es esa simultaneidad expresada en un Best Government es la que abrirá la puerta en Europa a un nuevo Renacimiento, a una Era of Brillance libre de la Ley del valor capitalista (explotación) y de su efecto más funesto: la usura: “Si el amable lector (o el delegado a una conferencia internacional económica de U.S.A.) no puede distinguir entre su sillón y la orden de un alguacil, que permita a este último secuestrar dicho sillón, entonces la vida le ofrecerá dos alternativas: ser explotado o ser más o menos alcahuete, mimado por los explotadores, hasta que le llegue el turno de ser explotado.”[43] La nueva Kulchur debería ser una arma masiva y práctica contra la explotación, una arma que trasciende tanto la burocrática proletarskaya kultura de la URSS como la falsa meritocracia del sistema demo-liberal anglosajón, cuya alma oculta es el mecanismo de la usura. La usura, un tema omnipresente en la obra de Pound, es definida en su libro The Cantos, en una nota bene al canto XLV como: “Usura: gravamen por el uso del Poder adquisitivo, impuesto sin relación a la producción, a veces sin relación a las posibilidades de la producción (de ahí la quiebra del banco de los Medici)”.[44] Para Pound, como para muchos intelectuales no-conformistas de los 1930’s, el mundo se dividía, no en proletariado y capitalistas, sino en una peculiar lucha de clases entre productores y usurers. La única posibilidad epocal de superación de este estado contra naturam del hombre, dominado por el finance Capitalism, era la coincidencia de la Paideuma con un regimen autoritario-corporativo. Y para ello era necesario un salto en la conciencia de las masas por medio de una acción pedagógica militante. Pound siempre sostuvo un compromiso con los temas educativos y una pasión vocacional por la pedagogía, hasta tal punto de planificar literary kindergartens. Se podría decir que GK es un esfuerzo más en el ideal de una sociedad basada en un nuevo aprendizaje y en medios educativos revolucionarios.

Merece un párrafo su especial relación intelectual ambivalente con Karl Marx, del cual pueden verse rescoldos en GK. La formación económica de Pound se realizó íntegramente a través de de economistas heterodoxos, algunos importantes aún hoy en día, como el economista anarquista Silvio Gesell (discípulo de Proudhon) y otros que han pasado al justo olvido, como C. H. Douglas u Odon. Ya en pleno fascismo italiano Pound dio conferencias sobre economía planificada y la base histórica de la economía en la Universidad de Milán a partir de 1933. Al inicio del ‘900 en sucesivos artículos Pound defiende las reformas socialistas llamadas Social Credit, en clave proudhonnistes y sus economistas de cabecera es siempre Douglas y Gesell, de quienes decía habían lograda acabar con the Marxist era. Como muchos pre fascistas, Pound cree que modificando la esfera de la circulación y la distribución podría nacer una nueva sociedad sin tocar las estructuras sociales y políticas, sin tocar el derecho de propiedad básico. El Fascismo es el único, entre el Comunismo y el detestable capitalismo liberal, de llevar a buen término, la justicia económica. Pound se percibe con muchas afinidades con Marx, valora su figura de social Crusader, alaba la noble indignación tal como surge en la retórica de Das Kapital, sabemos que Pound pudo leerlo en traducción italiana, pero una indignación que sin embargo es como una nube que confunden al lector. Además Marx esta en una siniestra genealogía filonietzscheana que desde la Ilustración radical desemboca en una nueva forma de décadence. Para Pound la verdad de lo que denomina Marxism materialist está en sus resultados prácticos en Lenin y Stalin, en la burocracia soviética y el Gulag: “El fango no justifica la mente. Kant, Hegel, Marx terminan en OGPU. Algo faltaba.”[45] Pound también comparte con Marx que las relaciones económicas materiales son fundamentales para la comprensión exacta de la dinámica social, y adhiere completamente a la crítica de la avaricia y la crueldad del British industrialism. Siguiendo en esto a Gesell, Pound cree que el Marxismo qua ideología fijada en un estado en realidad no significa ningún desafío al capitalismo liberal, al bourgeois demo-liberal: “Los enemigos de la Humanidad son aquellos que fosilizan el pensamiento, esto es lo MATAN, como han tratado de hacerlo los marxistas en nuestra época, lo mismo que un sin número de tontos y de fanáticos han tratado de hacerlo en todos los tiempos, desde la cadencia musulmana, e incluso antes. HACEDLO NUEVO”[46] La doctrina de Marx murió en 1883, el mismo día de su muerte: solo quedan sus acólitos construyendo un nuevo y esclerótico dogma. Del mismo Gesell, Pound tomará acríticamente su endeble crítica a la teoría de la moneda y de la ley del valor marxiana. Por ello Marx jamás podrá dañar definitivamente al Capital: “El error de la izquierda en las tres décadas siguientes fue que querían usar a Marx como el Corán. Supongo que la verdadera apreciación, esto es, el verdadero intento de apreciar el mérito verdadero de Marx empezó con Gesell y con la afirmación de Gesell de que Marx nunca ponía en duda el dinero. Lo aceptó buenamente tal como lo encontró.”[47] Sabemos que sus conocimientos de Marx son pocos y fragmentados, centrados literariamente en el capítulo VIII de Das Kapital, que se ocupa de la lucha por la jornada laboral.[48]

¿Podía calificarse a Pound de nietzscheano? Aunque se discute si existe algún elemento de nietzscheanismo difuso en Pound, es evidente que conceptos-llave de su Weltanschauung, están derivados o de Nietzsche o de seguidores, inclusive el mismo término Paideuma acuñado por Frobenius está inspirado en última instancia de un nietzscheano radical auténtico como Oswald Spengler. Se puede hablar de afinidades electivas y de influencias indirectas del Nietzschéisme en la conformación del paradójico Aristocratism side del individualismo metodológico de Pound sin lugar a dudas.[49] Pound ya utilizaba terminus technicus nietzscheanos, como Over Man (Superhombre) a inicios del ‘900, aunque producto de una lectura fragmentada y a tirones, o como él mismo confesaba en un poema I believe in some parts of Nietzsche/I prefer to read him in sections.[50] Incluso llega a aceptar como válida las consecuencias biológicas de la filosofía de Nietzsche y su oposición intransigente a toda conclusión cooperativa o colectivista: “I, personally, may prefer the theory of the dominant cell, a slightly Nietzschean biology, to any collectivist theories whatsoever.”[51] En un poema-funerario dedicado a su admirado amigo Gaudier-Brzeska titulado “Reflection”, Pound hace otro acto de fe hacia Nietzsche: “I know what Nietzsche said is true…”[52] La afinidad electiva es más que obvia, los une pasión pedagógica y una hybris reactiva: Nietzsche también estuvo obsesionado por la Paideia como base del estado, por la cuestión formativa y las reformas educativas que pudieran detener la decadencia burguesa de Occidente.[53] También como en Nietzsche, como en Mann o como en Heidegger, Pound sostiene la creencia que el stress de los costos extras de la dominación burguesa, que implica la constante revolución de las fuerzas productivas y el avance tecnológico, es insostenible, decadente y alienante. Coexisten en Pound el interés por la alta o nueva tecnología con el pesimismo sobre la interrupción vital de la fluidez de la imaginación, la negra posibilidad de la hegemonía del hombre sin atributos y sus consecuencias en la Cultura. Es la típica ambivalencia ideológica del Modernismo a la que no escapa Pound: mientras la techné es celebrada como una extensión proteica de la voluntad de poder del hombre en la máquina, el efecto total debido a la forma de dominio bourgeois es ácidamente atacada como una totalidad falsa, despersonalizada, inauténtica y vacía. Contra este gigantesco movimiento milenario de decadencia y empobrecimiento es que Pound levanta su New Learning, su revolucionaria Guía a la Cultura, y por ello afirma sin hesitar que sus ojos are geared for the horizon.[54]

La obra de Pound tanto poética como en prosa es difícil o de imposible lectura, decía sabiamente Borges, aunque reconocía la obligatoriedad de su lectura, ya que con él la literatura norteamericana y la ensayística universal había tocado las alturas más temerarias. Invitamos al lector al desafío de sumergirse en uno de las mejores ensayos del siglo XX, ahora disponible en una exquisita edición crítica y completa.

[1]Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 195.

[2] En su Guide to… Pound coloca la fecha exacta de su urgente escritura: “16 de marzo anno XV Era Fascista”. Desde 1931 Pound utilizaba el nuevo calendario fascista. Los biógrafos creen que la ansiedad de Pound se debía a las consecuencias inmediatas de la crisis de Münich, el Tratado de Rapallo y la posibilidad de una guerra europea catastrófica. No estaba equivocado en absoluto.

[3] Morley le afirmaba que “seeryus & good sized home university library for the seeryus aspiring & highminded youth… a book that would function as… litry education for the aspirant with all the excavations you wish blowing up what it is the academics do instead of their job.”, en: Pound Papers, February, 1937, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New Haven, Connecticut; parcialmente on-line: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/pound.html

[4] Pound decía: “Wot Ez knows, or a substitute (portable) fer the Bruitish museum”, en: ibidem, February, 1937. Lo de “Bruitish” una ironía bien poundiana.

[5] Un esquema básico que mantendrá en GK: “Ningún ser viviente sabe lo suficiente para escribir: Parte I. Método; Parte II. Filosofía, la historia del pensamiento; Parte III. Historia, o sea, la acción; Parte IV. Las Arles y la Civilización.”, en: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 57.

[6] La editorial Faber fue la editorial en inglés más importante en la difusión de la entera obra de Pound, llegando a editar más de veinte títulos entre 1930 y 1960; en ella trabajaba como primary literary editor su amigo, el poeta T. S. Eliot.

[7] Tytell, John; Ezra Pound: The Solitary Volcano,  Anchor P, New York, 1987, p. 247.

[8] Stock, Noel; Ezra Pound; Edicions Alfons El Magnànim, Valencia, 1989, p. 441 y ss. Pound conservó como un tesoro cinco ejemplares de GK no expurgados. Lo señala también Gallup en su definitiva obra bibliográfica: Gallup, Donald; A Bibliography of Ezra Pound. 1963, edición revisada y ampliada: Ezra Pound: A Bibliography, University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1983, quién enumera en detalle las modificaciones finales. Como dato curioso: desapareció de la versión final el nombre del vilipendiado poeta español Salvador de Madariaga.

[9] Véase la voz “Zukofsky, Louis (1904-1978)”, en: Adams, Stephen J./ Tryphonopoulos, Demetres P. (Editors); The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, Westport, 2005, p. 309.

[10] Véase la voz “Bunting, Basil (1900–1985)”, en: ibidem, p. 22.

[11] La carta con la autointerpretación sobre GK en: Norman, Charles; Ezra Pound; Funk &Wagnalls, New York, 1968, p. 375.

[12] Los numerosos libros de prosa de Pound, algunos poco conocidos y agotados, son en orden cronológico: The Spirit of Romance (1910) Gaudier-Brzeska. A Memoir (1916), Pavannes and Divisions (1918), Instigations. . . Together with an Essay on the Chinese Written Character (1920), Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony (1924), How to Read (1931), ABC of Economics (1933), ABC of Reading (1934), Make It New (1934), Jefferson and/or Mussolini (1935), Social Credit: An Impact (1935), Polite Essays (1937), Guide to Kulchur (1938) y Literary Essays (ed. T. S. Eliot, 1954).

[13] Bacigalupo, Massimo. The Formed Trace: The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound, Columbia University Press, New York, 1980; Coyle, Michael; Ezra Pound, Popular Genres, and the Discourse of Culture, University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1995; Davie, Donald. Studies in Ezra Pound. Manchester,  Carcanet, 1991;  Lamberti, Elena; “’Guide to Kulchur’: la citazione tra sperimentazione modernista e costruzione del Nuovo Sapere”, en: Leitmotiv, 2, 2002, pp. 165-179; Lindberg, Kathryne V.; Reading Pound Reading: Modernism after Nietzsche, Oxford UP, New York:, 1987; Nicholls, Peter; Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics, and Writing: A Study of The Cantos, Humanities Press, Atlantic Highlands, 1984. El rechazo in toto de la academia sería para Pound justamente un elogio indirecto a su método heterodoxo de aprendizaje y educación radicalmente revolucionario.

[14] Williams, William Carlos; “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish”, en: The New Republic, 49, 28, june, 1939, pp. 229-230. Williams llamaba en la recensión a Pound “a brave Man” por su honestidad intelectual y valentía política. La única crítica de Pound a Mussolini en GK es que en su mente todavía quedan residuos de Aristóteles: “… an Aristotelic residuum…”, e: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 305.

[15] Pound los denomina nuclei, sus núcleos.

[16] Dice bellamente Pound: “La forma, el inmortal concetto, el concepto, la forma dinámica que es como el dibujo de la rosa hundido en las muertas limaduras de hierro por el imán, no por contacto material con el imán mismo, sino separado del imán. Separados por una capa de cristal, el polvo y las limaduras se levantan y se ponen en orden. Así la forma, el concepto resucita de la muerte.”, en: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 166.

[17] Parataxis: se entiende como una construcción de dos oraciones sintácticamente independientes que están en una relación de subordinación implícita en virtud de lo que se conoce como una “curva melódica” común, que hace innecesario el uso de la conjunción, uniéndolas en una relación íntima de dependencia. Véase: Mounin, Georges (Dirigido por); Diccionario de Lingüística, Labor, Barcelona, 1979, p. 139-140. Estilísticamente puede decirse que mientras la hipotaxis (relación explícita mediante un signo funcional) señala un discurso meditado y racional, incluso de cierta “distinción” social en el nivel cultural de quién la emplea, la parataxis, propia de la expresión de emociones, es de un lenguaje más popular y llano. Pound: “The Homeric World, very human”, en: GK, p. 38.

[18] Además en GK se muestra claramente, como en Cantos, el milieu intelectual fascista en el cual se mueve Pound alrededor de los círculos romanos de Edmondo Rossoni, ministro de Agricultura del Duce y editor de la influyente revista cultural La Stirpe: “Eran personalidades serias, como las que Confucio, San Ambrosio o su Excelencia Edmondo Rossoni podrían y desearían reconocer como personalidades serias.”; en esta edición, vide infra, p.  Sobre Pound y el Fascismo italiano, véase: Redman, Tim; Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism, Cambridge University Pres, Cambridge, 1991.

[19] Pound utiliza la palabra alemana Anschauung, un erkenntnistheoretischer Begriff introducido por Kant aunque ya utlizado por místicos como Notker o Meister Eckhart, para referirse a la superioridad epistemológica de la inducción y la intuición: “…la facultad que le permite a uno «ver» que dos líneas rectas no pueden encerrar una superficie, y que el triángulo es el más sencillo de todos los polígonos posibles.” Por ejemplo, el pedagogo iluminista Pestalozzi lo utilizó en un contexto operativo educativo, tal como pretende re-utilizarlo Pound. En esta revalorización de la Anschauung Pound aquí coincide no casualmente no sólo con Nietzsche sino con el neokantismo, Husserl y Heidegger, y en sus comentarios críticos a Aristóteles (Arry), Pound ubica a la intuición por encima de la sophia.

[20] Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 217.

[21] Pound dixit: “Bacon. No creo que la coincidencia con mis puntos de vista sea debida a memoria inconsciente, dos hombres en momentos diferentes pueden observar que los caniches tienen el pelo rizado sin necesidad de referirlo o derivarlo de una «autoridad» precedente.”

[22]Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 57.

[23] La Mostra… fue realizada con motivo del décimo aniversario de la Toma del Poder por Mussolini, tras la marcha fascista sobre Roma. Fue una idea de Dino Alfieri, futuro ministro de Cultura Popular. Pound visitó la Mostra… en diciembre de 1932, poco después de su inauguración oficial, quedando impresionado como la organización anti-museo Risorgimiento de iconografía, objetos cotidianos (el propio escritorio de Mussolini en el diario Il Popolo d’Italia) y collages de imágenes promovía la incitación del visitante a la acción. Sobre la Mostra… y su formato conservador-revolucionario, véase: Andreotti, Libero; “The Aesthetics of War: The Exhibition of the Fascist Revolution”, en: Journal of Architectural Education, 45.2, 1992, pp. 76-86; finalmente el trabajo de Jeffrey Schnapp: Anno X. La Mostra della Rivoluzione fascista del 1932: genesi-sviluppo-contesto culturale-storico-ricezione. With an afterword by Claudio Fogu, Piste – Piccola biblioteca di storia 4, Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali, Rome-Pisa, 2003 y su artículo: “Fascism’s Museum in Motion”; en: Journal of Architecture Education 45.2, 1992,  pp. 87-97.  Pound elogiará el aspecto radical y pedagógico de la Mostra… en su Cantos, el número XLVI, publicado en 1936. No es de extrañar: arquitectos liberales como Le Corbusier o un nietzscheano de izquierda como Georges Bataille también tuvieron una impresión profunda de la Mostra

[24] Pound dice: “when one HAS ‘forgotten-what-book’ ” (GK 134) y más adelante: “what is left after man has forgotten all he set out to learn” (GK 195); véase: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 151 y 197.

[25] Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 178.

[26] Ibidem, , p. 76.

[27] En GK, p. 34. Un ejemplo concreto de esta “limpieza directa” sería la obra de Gaudier-Brzeska.

[28] El famoso “Pound’s Pentagon”, su canon clásico y la superestructura cultural de un estado noble, lo constituye las Odas de Confucio, los Epos de Homero, la Metamorfosis de Ovidio, la Divina Comedia de Dante y las obras teatrales de Shakespeare.

[29] “El Comunismo como rebelión contra los ladrones de cosechas  fue una tendencia admirable.  Como revolucionario, me niego a aceptar una pretendida revolución que intenta inmovilizarse o moverse hacia atrás.”; en: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 202.

[30] Ibidem, p. 65.

[31]Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 78. No es casualidad que Pound indique formalmente al lector placentero del diario burgués típico.

[32] Pound había estudiado en detalle el método similar de sobreposición y parataxis que funciona en el Haiku japonés a través de los trabajos de Fenellosa.

[33] Pound, E.; “A Few Don’ts By an Imagiste”; en: Poetry, 1, 1916.

[34] “This book is not written for the over-fed. It is written for men who have not been able to afford a university education or for young men, whether or not threatened with universities, who want to know more at the age of fifty than I know today, and whom I might conceivably aid to that object.”, en: GK, p. 6.; en esta edición, vide infra, p.  Pound consideraba, en una particular estadística personal, que en la sociedad burguesa podía encontrarse un lector reflexivo y serio por cada 900 lectores ingenuos o masificados.

[35] Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 57.

[36] Sobre el controversial antisemitismo ad hoc de Pound en GK, véase: Chace, William M.; The Political Identities of Ezra Pound & T. S. Eliot, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1973, Chapter Five, “A Guide to Culture: Antisemitism”, p. 71 y ss.

[37] “El genio de Mussolini era ver y afirmar repetidamente que había crisis no EN, sino DE sistema. Quiero decir que lo vio claro y temprano. Muchos lo vemos ahora.”

[38] “¿Y qué hay sobre anteriores guías a la Kulchur o Cultura? Considero que Platón y Plutarco podrían servir, que Herodoto sentó un precedente, que Montaigne ciertamente suministró una guía tal en sus ensayos, lo mismo que lo hizo Rabelais y que incluso Brantôme podría tomarse como una guía del gusto.”; en: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 216.

[39] Dice Pound: “When the vortices of power and the vortices of culture coincide, you have an era of brilliance”.

[40] Pound en realidad llama a esta Océana ideal de su filosofía política Regime Corporativo.

[41] Pound, Ezra; Jefferson and/or Mussolini, Stanley Nott, New York, 1935, p. 96: “A good government is one that operates according to the best that is known and thought. And the best government is that which translates the best thought most speedily into action.”

[42] “The best Government is (naturally?) that which draws the best of the Nation’s intelligence into use.”, en: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 266.

[43] Ibidem, p. 247.

[44] Dice Pound: “Usury: A charge for the use of purchasing power, levied without regard to production; often without regard to the possibilities of production.” Es una conclusión extraída de las enseñanzas sobre el Social Credit del economista Douglas.

[45] En: Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 183.

[46] Ibidem, p. 278.

[47] Pound nunca llegó a conocer los escritos juveniles de Marx, donde se analiza a fondo el papel del Dinero, por ejemplo.

[48] Amplias citas de Das Kapital en su obra The Cantos, en particular en el canto XXXIII.

[49] Véase el trabajo de Kathryine V. Lindberg: Reading Pound Reading: Modernism After Nietzsche, Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford, 1987. Lindberg analiza la larga influencia del reaccionario pensamiento nietzscheano en la ideología y estética del Modernismo hasta el Postestructuralismo. De Gourmont recibió además Pound el impacto de la ideología derivada de Lamarck

[50] Pound, Ezra; “Redondillas, or Something of That Sort”, en: Ezra Pound: Poems and Translations, ed. by Richard Sieburth, Library of America, New York, 2003, pp. 175–182 (la stanza se encuentra en la p. 181). El poema “Redondillas…” es de mayo de 1911 y en él Pound también reconoce que lee a Nietzsche con la devoción con la que un cristiano se enfrenta a la sagrada Biblia.

[51] Pound, Ezra; “The Approach to Paris, III”, en: New Age, 13, Nº 21, 18 September 1913, pp. 607-609. Ahora en: Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Prose, 11 vols, Garland, London, 1991, I, C-95, pp. 156-159.

[52] Pound, Ezra; “Reflection”, en: Smart Set, 43, Nº 3, july, 1915, p. 395. Ahora en: Ezra Pound: Poems and Translations, ed. by Richard Sieburth, Library of America, New York, 2003, p. 1179.

[53] Sobre Nietzsche como pedagogo y reformador educativo, un aspecto infravalorado por los estudios y hagiografías, nos permitimos remitir al lector a nuestro libro: Nietzsche contra la Democracia, Montesinos, Mataró, 2010, capítulo V, “Pathein Mathein: la educación reaccionaria y ¿racista? del Futuro”, p. 173  y ss.

[54] Ezra Pound; Guía de la Kultura, Capitán Swing, Madrid, 2011, p. 84.

samedi, 11 décembre 2010

Ezra Pound, maître d'une poésie romanesque et brutale

Ezra Pound, maître d'une poésie romanesque et brutale

Ex: http://racinescharnelles.blogspot.com/

Qu'on ne s'y trompe pas. Malgré son prénom aux consonances bibliques et les airs de prophète qu'il prenait volontiers vers la fin de sa vie, Ezra Pound n'a été ni dans son œuvre ni dans son existence l’enfant de cœur tourmenté par la notion de péché ou d'humilité. Dis­sident de l'Amérique, du mauvais goût et des valeurs approximatives d'un pays où la Bible et le dollar tiennent lieu de référence, Pound l'est déjà dès son plus jeune âge. « J'écrirai, déclare-t-il à l'âge de 12 ans, les plus grands poèmes jamais écrits ». En cette fin de XIXe siècle, en plein Wild West américain, il se découvre une vocation poétique pour le moins incongrue si l'on en juge par les préoccupations de ses compatriotes de l'époque, plus soucieux de bâtir des empires financiers que de partir en guerre contre des moulins à vent. Pendant des années, en subissant les vexations des cuistres, il va se consacrer à l'étude du provençal et à l'art des ménestrels et troubadours précurseurs de la littérature moderne.

Des poèmes comme "L'arbre", témoins, comme le note Tytell, d'un paga­nisme croissant, et sa haine de l'Amérique sont le signe avant-coureur que sa vie entière allait devenir un défi lancé aux systèmes occidentaux et une dénonciation de la religion moderne qu'il tenait pour la servante de ces systèmes. Les conflits incessants avec le monde universitaire qui lui refuse quelque chaire, l'ordre moral et l'étroitesse d'esprit de ses contemporains vont avoir pour conséquence le départ de Pound pour l'Europe. Venise, tout d'abord, où il s'exerce au dur métier de gondolier, puis Londres, où son talent va enfin éclore. C'est pour lui le temps des amitiés littéraires avec George Bernard Shaw, puis James Joyce, T.S. Eliot.

Le Londres aux mœurs victo­riennes ne nuit en rien pour l'heure à l'effervescence d'un génie que l'on commence à voir poindre ici et là dans les revues auxquelles il collabore. La guerre de 14 éclate et nombre des amis de Pound n'en reviendront pas. « C'est une perte pour l'art qu'il faudra venger », écrit-il, plus convaincu que quiconque que cette guerre est une plaie dont l'Europe aura bien du mal à cicatriser. Peu après, il se met à travailler à un nouveau poème, « un poème criséléphan­tesque d'une longueur incommen­surable qui m'occupera pendant les quatre prochaines décennies jusqu'à ce que cela devienne la barbe ». Les Cantos, l'œuvre maîtresse et fondamentale de Pound, était née.

Puis, las de la rigueur anglaise et des Britanniques qu'il juge snobs et hermétiques à toute forme d'art, Pound décide de partir pour la France.

Il débarque dans le Paris léger et enivrant de l'après-guerre lorsque brillent encore les mille feux de l'intelligence et de l'esprit. Les phares de l'époque s'appellent Coc­teau, Aragon, Maurras et Gide. Pound s'installe rue Notre-Dame­-des-Champs et se consacre à la littérature et aux femmes. À Paris toujours, il rencontre Ernest Hemingway, alors jeune joumalis­te, qui écrira que « le grand poète Pound consacre un cinquième de son temps à la poésie, et le reste a aider ses amis du point de vue matériel et artistique. Il les défend lorsqu'ils sont attaqués, les fait publier dans les revues et les sort de prison. »

La France pourtant ne lui convient déjà plus. À la petite histoire des potins parisiens, il préfère l'Histoire et ses remous italiens. L'aura romanesque d'un D'Annun­zio et la brutalité de la pensée fas­ciste l'attirent comme un aimant.

Pound obtient une tribune à la radio de Rome. L'Amérique, « Jew York » et Confu­cius vont devenir ses chevaux de bataille. Pendant des années, le délire verbal et l'insulte vont tenir lieu de discours à Pound, un genre peu apprécié de ses compatriotes...

En 1943 le régime fasciste s'écroule, mais la République de Salo, pure et dure, mêlera la tragédie au rêve. Les GI's triomphants encagent le poète à Pise avant de l'expédier aux États-Unis pour qu'il y soit jugé. « Haute trahison, intelligence avec l'ennemi », ne cessent de rabâcher ses détracteurs nombreux. Pound échappe à la corde mais pas à l'outrage d'être interné pendant douze ans dans un hôpital psychiatrique des environs de Washington. Lorsqu'on lui demanda de quoi il parlait avec les toubibs, il répondit : « D'honneur. C'est pas qu'ils y croient pas. C'est simplement qu'ils n'en ont jamais entendu parler. »
Le 9 juillet 1958, le vieux cowboy revient à Naples et dans une ultime provocation répond à l'attente des journalistes par le salut fasciste, dernier bras d'honneur du rebelle céleste.

• Ezra Pound, le volcan solitaire, John Tytell, Seghers.

samedi, 06 novembre 2010

Ezra Pound and the Occult

PoundNoelStock.jpgEzra Pound and the Occult

Brian Ballentine

In 1907, when Ezra Pound was still teaching Romance languages at Wabash
College in Indiana, he completed the poem "In Durance":

I am homesick after mine own kind
And ordinary people touch me not.
Yea, I am homesick
After mine own kind that know, and feel
And have some breath for beauty and the arts (King 86).

Pound left America and its "ordinary people" behind for Europe shortly after. When he arrived in London in 1908, Pound wasted no time becoming a part of the community of writers which he considered his "own kind." He was quickly running among the more prestigious of London’s literary society including members from the Rhymer’s Club and W. B. Yeats’s publisher Elkin Mathews. Of course, it was Yeats’s association that Pound truly desired and successfully sought out. In Poetry 1, Pound begins his "Status Rerum" by declaring that he found "Mr. Yeats the only poet worthy of serious study" (123). Pound would eventually be content to condense his esoteric community of cutting edge writers down to two men: himself and Yeats. In 1913 he wrote Harriet Monroe proclaiming that London’s writers are divided into two groups: "Yeats and I in one class, and everybody else in the other" ("Status Rerum" 123).When Pound first met Yeats, the older poet was heavily involved and experimenting with theurgy, or magic, that is performed with the aid of beneficent spirits. This form of occult study was not at all of interest to Pound. Shortly after their introduction, it was arranged for Pound to serve as Yeats’s "secretary" at the winter retreat Stone Cottage. Not trying to hide his skepticism , Pound wrote this letter to his mother just prior to his first winter with Yeats at Stone Cottage:

My stay at Stone Cottage will not be in the least profitable. I detest
the country. Yeats will amuse me part of the time and bore me to
death with psychical research the rest. I regard the visit as a duty to
posterity (Paige 25).

The purpose of this research is to expose the various types of occultism that were prevalent during Pound's life and determine what elements of the occult he subscribed to. Although there are signs of an occult influence all the way through his later writing, Pound’s own stance on the occult is difficult to pin down. Pound’s own belief in the occult was one that was constantly being rethought and revised. There are moments when Pound was on the brink of exploration into Yeats’s world of spirits as well as moments when he was ready to abandon the occult altogether. Pound’s exploration of "retro-cognition," his revitalization
of the Greek idea of the "phantastikon," his pursuit of gnosis or what he termed a "crystal" state, and his associations with some of
London’s premiere occultists provide evidence for the former. The latter is demonstrated in his revisions on the original 1917 Three Cantos and his apparent desire to be disassociated with the "pseudo-sciences" of the occult. Much of the occult element that dominated the original publication has been edited entirely out of the final and existing copy. In any case, much of Pound’s writing is indebted to an occult influence and it will be explored in this paper.

In his essay "Ezra Pound’s Occult Education," Demetres Tryphonopoulos warns other critics not to view Pound’s skeptical letter to his mother as a rejection towards all forms of the occult. He states that "it is only theurgy and spiritualism that Pound rejects" (76). These "pseudo-sciences" are what Tryphonopoulos believes to be "the areas of human interest which many true occultists would reject as involving the degradation of humanity" ("Occult Education" 74). Yeats’s other interests in astrology and numerology, both of which were popular in the early twentieth century, are also included among the "pseudo-sciences." Occult studies such as gnosticism and theosophy are understood as legitimate pursuits by scholars like Tryphonopoulos. Gnosis, an esoteric form of knowledge that made possible the direct awareness of the Divine, was one of Pound’s major interests with the occult. James Longenbach argues that Pound labored over creating a "priest-like status" for himself and his work (92). The quest for becoming as close to God as possible led Pound on a long exploration of occult texts. According to Walter Baumann, Pound’s quest drove him to "provide further ingredients for [his] own vision of Paradise" (311). These esoteric components or "ingredients" then become the source of much difficulty in understanding Pound’s work. To date only a few scholars have made the occult element in Pound’s work more accessible and in the past only people "deeply steeped in occult literature" could successfully navigate his writing (Baumann 318). Pound never came so far around as to accept Yeats’s interests in what he considered less useful facets of the occult, but he would humor Yeats. The older poet was also interested in astrology and asked Pound for his birth date so he could determine his horoscope. In a letter to Dorothy Shakespear Pound exclaimed:

The Eagle [Yeats] is welcomed to my dashed horoscope tho’ I
think Horace was on the better track when he wrote
"Tu ne quaesaris, scire nefas, quem
mihi quem tibi
Finem dii dederunt" (Litz 113).
[Ask not, we cannot know, what ends the gods have set for me, for thee]

Despite Pound’s show of pessimism, he provided Yeats with all of the necessary information, which included writing a letter to his mother for the exact time of his birth. He told his mother that "half a million people, some of them intelligent, who still believe in the possibility of planetary influences . . . When astrology is taken hold of systematically by modern science there will be some sort of discoveries. In the meantime there is no reason why one should not indulge in private experiment and investigation (Paige 152).A subject of particular interest to both men is something that psychologists today have termed "retro-cognition." Yeats, Pound and the rest of England received their introduction to this phenomenon when Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain published An Adventure in 1911. On August 10, 1901 the two women claimed to have been strolling through the Versailles gardens and found themselves transported back into the eighteenth century. Apparently, neither of them had realized what had occurred at the time but recounted the experience in a narrative:

We walked briskly forward, talking as before, but from the moment we left the lane an
extraordinary depression had come over me. . . In front of us was a wood, within which,
and overshadowed by trees, was a light garden kiosk, circular and like a small bandstand,
by which a man was sitting. There was no greensward, but the ground was covered by
rough grass and dead leaves as in a wood. The place was so shut that we could not see
beyond it. Everything suddenly looked unnatural, therefore unpleasant; even the trees
behind the building seemed to have become flat and lifeless, like a wood worked in a
tapestry (41).

Ten years of research in the French National Archives led them to believe that all the things they saw that day existed not in 1901 but in 1789. Also, they determined the person Moberly saw by the terrace, who is referred to as a "man" in the narrative, to be Marie Antoinette (Longenbach 222-23).Shortly after the publication of An Adventure, Yeats completed two essays for Lady Gregory’s Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland. In his essays, Yeats references An Adventure, making it highly probable that the two men had possession of the book during the Stone Cottage years if not sooner. An Adventure became an important beginning for the work of Pound and how the artist can relate to the spirit of his ancestors. The key to these relations with the past is the soul. Pound borrowed from a lot of different sources to derive his own theories on the human soul. He used Cicero’s idea of the "immortality of the soul" in De Senectute (Longenbach 222-23).He also borrowed from Plato and the Phaedrus in the Spirit of Romance: "And this is the recollection of those things which our souls saw when in company with God-when looking down from above on that which we now call being, and upward toward the true being" (140-41). Pound himself claimed to have had two experiences with retrocognition which were extremely important to him. As Longenbach writes, "Pound’s poetic goal was the cultivation of ‘adventures,’ the soul’s visionary memories of the paradise or the past it once knew" (229).Pound recounts his own experiences with retrocognition in an essay on Arnold Dolmetsch published in 1914. "So I had two sets of adventures. First, I perceived a sound which was undoubtedly derived from the Gods, and then I found myself in a reconstructed century- in a century of music, back before Mozart or Purcell, listening to clear music, to tones clear as brown amber" (Eliot 433). Pound was drawing on or participating in what he determined to be the soul’s eternal memory. His essay begins with a description of his first adventure:

I have seen the God Pan and it was in this manner: I heard a bewildering and pervasive music moving from precision to precision within itself. Then I heard a different music, hollow and laughing. Then I looked up and saw two eyes like the eyes of a wood- creature peering at me over a brown tube of wood. Then someone said: Yes, once I was playing a fiddle in the forest and I walked into a wasps’ nest. Comparing these things with what I can read of the Earliest and best authenticated appearances of Pan, I can but conclude that they relate to similar experiences. It is true that I found myself later in a room covered with pictures of what we now call ancient instruments, and that when I picked up the brown tube of wood I found that it had ivory rings upon it. And no proper reed has ivory rings on it, by nature. . . .Our only measure of truth is, however, our own perception of truth. The undeniable tradition of metamorphoses teaches us that things do not remain always the same. They become other things by swift and unanalysable process (Eliot 431).

Pound’s own understanding of truth and what he perceived to be his reality are bold advancements from what was presented in the original An Adventure. The visionary’s experience becomes the sole measure of reality and therefore Pound’s encounter with Dolmetsch as Pan becomes factual. In his essay, "Psychology and Troubadours," Pound draws a parallel between himself and early visionaries who had no way of differentiating imaginary visions from a "real" environment: "These things are for them real" (Spirit of Romance 93). Also, although Pound’s adventures and experiences cannot technically be affirmed in any way, they "stand in a long tradition of similar experiences recorded in the literature of folklore, mythology, and the occult" (Longenbach 230). In the essay on Dolmetsch, Pound works to place himself in this tradition when he writes: "When any man is able, by a pattern of notes or by an arrangement of planes or colours, to throw us back into the age of truth, everyone who has been cast back into that age of truth for one instant gives honour to the spell which has worked, to the witch-work or the art-work, or whatever you like to call it" (Eliot 432). Like Moberly and Jourdain, who had peered into the past and subsequently took ten years to write about it, Pound was wrestling with putting his visions into poetry. The "arrangement of planes or colours," the "art-work" which "throws us back into the age of truth" is what Pound wanted to create with the early Cantos. Pound began writing the first of the Cantos around 1910 but did not pursue them in earnest until 1915. It was during this time that Pound is documented in his letters as having read Robert Browning’s poem "Sordello" out loud to Yeats at Stone Cottage. Although Pound had read the poem before, it was not until he read it to Yeats that "Sordello" became a major influence. He praises the poem in a letter to his father on December 18, 1915: "It is probably the greatest poem in English. Certainly the best long poem since Chaucer. You’ll have to read it sometime as my big long endless poem that I am now struggling with starts out with a barrel full of allusions to ‘Sordello’" (Bornstein 119-20). However, the original support Pound relied on from Browning would soon be replaced with occult references. In the June, July and August 1917 edition of Poetry Magazine, Pound published his Three Cantos. These three were supposed to be the beginning of his existing long work The Cantos. Even after the highly positive review of Browning’s poem to his father, Pound would have nothing to do with Browning’s style. The original opening, which served more or less as a dialogue with Browning, is deceiving. Pound makes no effort to sustain Browning’s technique through his poem. It does not function in a lyric mode, rather it is an "apologia for the lyric mood" (Nassar 12). Pound began to question Browning’s elaborate metaphor for the stage and his character’s acting on it. Pound did not hide his "aesthetic and philosophic problems" (Nassar 13) that he had with Browning when he wrote:

. . . what were the use
Of setting figures up and breathing life upon them,
Were’t not our life, your life, my life extended?
I walk
Verona. (I am here in England.)
I see Can Grande. (Can see whom you will.)
You had one whole man?
And I have many fragments, less worth? Less worth?
Ah, had you quit my age, quit such a beastly age and
cantankerous age?
You had some basis, had some set belief (Poetry, June 1917, 115).

As if to answer his own question, and provide Browning with proper examples, Pound continued with passages in the mode of An Adventure. The only way to contain the "beastly and cantankerous age" in which one lived was to tap into the past as Moberly and Jordain had done.

Sweet lie!-Was I there truly? . . .
Let’s believe it . . .
No, take it all for lies
I have but smelt this life, a wiff of it-
. . . And shall I claim;
Confuse my own phantastikon,
Or say the filmy shell that circumscribes me
Contains the actual sun;
confuse the thing I see
With actual gods behind me?
Are they gods behind me?
How many worlds we have! If Botticelli
Brings her ashore on that great cockle-shell-
His Venus (Simonetta?),
And Spring and Aufidus fill the air
With their clear outlined blossoms?
World enough.
(Poetry, June 1917, 120-21)


Eugene Nassar claims that Pound demonstrated the "mind circumscribed by its diaphanous film-its limits-[which] imagines gods when in the presence of beauty . . . The mind as ‘phantastikon’ may be intuiting transcendent truths" (12). Pound wrestled with the "truth" about his occult link to the past in his revisions on Three Cantos all the way up until its republication in 1925. The once long opening addressed to Browning was reduced to the opening four lines of Canto II:

Hang it all, Robert Browning,
There can be but the one Sordello.
But Sordello and my Sordello?
Lo Sordels si fo di Mantovana" (6).

Following the address to Browning, Pound presents his vision of his characters or in this case "Ghosts" that "move about me / Patched with histories" (Poetry 116). There is no need for Pound to go "setting up figures and breathing life into them" because his characters were already part of a living past. Pound’s "fragments" are in fact not "less worth" because together they form a more complete whole than Browning’s characters. Pound sees these apparitions hovering over the water at Lake Garda. As with his Imagist poetry, these early portions of the Cantos reflect Pound’s attention to presenting the clearest possible picture of his experience:

And the place is full of spirits.
Not lemures, not dark and shadowy ghosts,
But the ancient living, wood white,
Smooth as the inner bark, and firm of aspect,
And all agleam with colors-no, not agleam,
But colored like the lake and like the olive leaves (Poetry June 1917, 116).


Pound used specific people and places, such as Lake Garda, to set up a desired historical backdrop. Often with Pound, the more oblique source was championed. The names are obscure and esoteric, leaving "ordinary people" in the dark just as Pound intended. Pound’s references to antiquated places, his use of foreign language, all in addition to his occult content, contribute to a higher level of difficulty in his poetry:

‘Tis the first light-not half light-Panisks
And oak-girls and the Maenads
Have all the wood. Our olive Sirmio
Lies in its burnished mirror, and the Mounts Balde and Riva
Are alive with song, and all the leaves are full of voices (Poetry June 1917,118).


The visionary experiences that Pound recreates in the Three Cantos are matched with these areas to "emphasize their origin in the meeting of a particular consciousness with a particular place" (Longenbach 232). This association was a technique that Pound had already begun experimenting with in some of his writing such as "Provincia Deserta." Yeats put it into his own words in a portion of his prose piece Per Amica Silentia Lunae: "Spiritism . . . will have it that we may see at certain roads and in certain houses old murders acted over again, and in certain fields dead huntsmen riding with horse and hound, or in ancient armies fighting above bones or ashes" (354). The spirits that haunt Pound’s Cantos are ones which he spent much time excavating from history during his reading at Stone Cottage. Also, Pound used specific names and places from his research to create a sense of locality. In the first Canto it was places such as Sirmio, and in the second there were others such as the Dordogne valley in France:

So the murk opens.
Dordogne! When I was there,
There came a centaur, spying the land,
And there were nymphs behind him.
Or going on the road by
Procession on procession-
For that road was full of peoples,
Ancient in various days, long years between them.
Ply over ply of life still wraps the earth here.
Catch at Dordoigne (Poetry July 1917, 182).

At the same time that Pound was struggling with the original Three Cantos, Yeats was preparing his own take on An Adventure. The older poet was busy formulating what he called the "doctrine of the mask" (Autobiography 102). According to Yeats, this doctrine "which has convinced [him] that every passionate man . . . is, as it were, linked with another age, historical or imaginary, where alone he finds images that rouse his energy" (Autobiography 102). Yeats’s link to the past came in a voice which he claimed to have heard for awhile but ignored. The voice even provided him with information leading to its identity. Yeats discovered that he was communicating with a Cordovan Moor named Leo Africanus. However, he did not take Leo seriously until a seance conducted on July 20, 1915. After the seance, Yeats began to consider the possibility of an anti-self existing from another period of time. Communication with this opposite personality would lead to a more complete existence as well as a better understanding of the self. Yeats began writing letters to Leo and in turn would write letters back to himself believing that Leo’s intentions could be conveyed through him. Now that Yeat’s theory had advanced to a stage where his opposite existed in another century, his idea advanced from one that was grounded in psychology to a theory that had just as much to do with history (Longenbach 190-91). There is no documented proof of Pound ever participating in one of Yeats’s seances. Despite Pound’s lack of involvement, it is impossible to overlook the parallels between the two poets work at the time. Pound was using his own ghosts and their historical associations in his early Cantos. In his final winter at Stone Cottage, Pound took interest in the seventeenth-century Neo-Platonic occult philosopher John Heydon. In 1662, Heydon published his Holy Guide. Although Pound enthusiastically read Heydon’s book, he presented a mixed image of him with Heydon’s debut in the original Three Cantos . In the final version of the original Three Cantos III, Pound introduces Heydon in a fashion that is somewhere between mockery and praise:

Another’s a half-cracked fellow-John Heydon,
Worker of miracles, dealer in levitation,
In thoughts upon pure form, in alchemy,
Seer of pretty visions (‘servant of God and secretary of nature’);
Full of a plaintive charm, like Botticelli’s,
With half-transparent forms, lacking the vigor of gods. . .
Take the old way, say I met John Heydon,
Sought out the place,
Lay on the bank, was ‘plunged deep in the swevyn;’
And saw the company-Layamon, Chaucer-
Pass each his appropriate robes; (Poetry Aug, 1917, 248)


Walter Bauman refers to Heydon as Pound’s "spiritual brother" (314). Despite the not-so flattering introduction of Heydon, Pound would appear to agree with Bauman. One possible explanation for Pound’s harsher opening remarks on Heydon could be that many people of Heydon’s own time did not think highly of his work. To many, Heydon was simply "a charlatan trifling with occult lore" (Bauman 306). In any case, Pound seems to make a point of acknowledging Heydon’s uncertain past before citing him as a credible source. Pound begins to spell out exactly what one could obtain by reading Heydon in a section of his prose piece Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir. In section 16, Pound writes positively about artists like Brzeska, Wyndham Lewis and Jacob Epstein who were on the forefront of the new movement Vorticism. Here he discusses the power a work of art can have:

A clavicord or a statue or a poem, wrought out of ages of knowledge, out of fine perception and skill, that some other man, that a hundred other men, in moments of weariness can wake beautiful sound with little effort, that they can be carried out of the realm of annoyance into the realm of truth, into the world unchanging, the world of fine animal life, the world of pure form. And John Heydon, long before our present day theorists, had written of the joys of pure form . . . inorganic, geometrical form, in his "Holy Guide" (157).


Pound also closes the section with a final reminder to read "John Heydon’s ‘Holy Guide’ for numerous remarks on pure form and the delights thereof" (Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir 167). There are several facets of the occult found in Pound’s memoir. He infers that the perfect work of art is layered with history. It is hundreds of years and hundreds of men in the making. The "realm of truth" is reached when the mind, as Nassar previously described it, has the ability to imagine "gods when in the presence of beauty." The "transcendent truths," that are a conglomeration of the past, can then be tapped as a source for the pure form Pound is describing (Nassar 12).Much of Pound’s desire for a pure truth goes hand in hand with his quest to be close to the Divine and obtain his "priest-like status." His use of Heydon becomes clearer as one reads that Heydon pondered questions such as "if God would give you leave and power to ascend to those high places, I meane to these heavenly thoughts and studies (Heydon 26). Pound borrows almost verbatim from Heydon and then cites him in "Canto 91":

to ascend those high places
wrote Heydon
stirring and changeable
‘light fighting for speed’ (76).

Heydon continues stating that people involved with studies such as his should realize that "their riches ought to be imployed in their own service, that is, to win Wisdome" (31). This "Wisdome" was something Pound wanted to make certain the masses or the "ordinary people" would not be privy to. It was exactly the divine wisdom, or gnosis, that Pound was in search of. Pound was asking the same questions and desiring the same answers that Heydon was asking hundreds of years earlier: "let us know first, that the minde of man being come from that high City of Heaven" (33). With these overt connections to Heydon, Pound’s opening remarks on him as a "half-cracked fellow" remain puzzling. Again, it is likely that Pound was initially shy about such overt references to a less-than-favorable occultist just as he was with some of Yeats’s mysticism. As it turns out, the title "Secretary of Nature" was actually Heydon’s and was printed on the title page of Holy Guide. Pound was respectful enough to include the title. Also in the Cantos, Heydon is in the company of men such as Ocellus, Erigena, Mencius and Apollonius. Pound appears to have thought much higher of Heydon than his opening remarks lead a reader to believe. In total, over half a dozen quotes are taken from Heydon’s work adding to the "crystal clear" quality of Pound’s Cantos (Davie 224).


From the green deep
he saw it,
in the green deep of an eye:
Crystal waves weaving together toward the gt/healing
Light compenetrans of the spirits
The Princess Ra-Set has climbed
to the great knees of stone,
She enters protection,
the great cloud is about her,
She has entered the protection of crystal . . .
Light & the flowing crystal
never gin in cut glass had such clarity
That Drake saw the splendour and wreckage
in that clarity
Gods moving in crystal
(Canto 91, 611)


In this selection, the "Pricess Ra-Set" has completed a journey that has allowed a metamorphosis to take place about her. The crystal which has encompassed her represents Heydon’s "pure form" that Pound was himself searching for. Inside this crystal protection "gods are manifest, whatever their ontological status outside" (Nassar 110). Pound’s metaphor shows up in several places. In "Canto 92," Pound describes "a great river" with the "ghosts dipping in crystal" (619). Also, in "Canto 91," Pound wrote:

"Ghosts dip in crystal,
. . . A lost kind of experience?
Queen Cytherea,
che ‘l terzo ciel movete
[who give motion to the third heaven]


Pound already knew the answer to his own question about experience when he asked it. Crystal was chosen not only for its clarity to represent the pureness of form but it is hard and durable as well. The experience was not lost in the protection of this divine state that is the "crystal."

There are several individuals who were contemporaries of Pound that had a large influences on Pound and exposed him to their own ideas about the occult. People such as Yeats, A. R. Orage, Allen Upward, Dorothy Shakespear, and Olivia Shakespear all had their own occult interests. However, the largest occult influence on Pound, even greater than that of Yeats, was G. R. S. Mead. Mead became a member of Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society in 1884. In 1889 he was Blavatsky’s private secretary and kept that position until her death in 1891. He served as the society’s editor for their monthly magazine but branched off and quit the society altogether in 1909. Blavatsky’s writings and practices aligned themselves more with the "pseudo-sciences" that Pound would not have approved of. Oddly enough, in Mead’s essay "‘The Quest’ - Old and New:

Retrospect and Prospect," he apparently does approve of Blavatsky’s ways either:I had never, even while a member, preached the Mahatma - gospel of H. P. B. [Blavatsky], or propagandized Neo-theosophy and its revelations. I had believed that "theosophy" proper meant the wisdom-element in the great religions and philosophies of the world (The Quest 296-97).

This passage represents thinking that was in line with Pound’s ideas on gnosis and his own pursuit of wisdom. Mead is considered by some to be "the best scholar the Theosophical Society ever produced" (Godwin 245).Pound’s assessment of what he experienced in his visionary episodes as well as his readings was heavily influenced by the writings and teachings of Mead. Pound met him at one of Yeats’s "Monday Evenings" at 18 Woburn Building in London which Mead regularly attended. On October 21, 1911, Pound wrote to his parents: "I’ve met and enjoyed Mead, who’s done so much research on primitive mysticism - that I’ve written you at least four times." [1] In another letter to his parents dated February 12, 1912, Pound praises Mead writing: "G. R. S. Mead is about as interesting - along his own line - as anyone I meet"(Beinecke 238). In a letter to his mother dated September 17, 1911, Pound relays that Mead had asked him to write a publishable lecture. Pound discusses the task with his more skeptical side of the occult: "I have spent the evening with G. R. S. Mead, edtr. of The Quest, who wants me to throw a lecture for his society which he can afterwards print. ‘Troubadour Psychology,’ whatever the dooce that is" (Beinecke 223). Pound did go on to give the lecture which gave birth to his essay "Psychology and the Troubadours." In this essay Pound wrote that "Greek myth arose when someone having passed through delightful psychic experience tried to communicate it to others" (92). Again Pound was referring to an occult "adventure" similar to that of Moberly and Jourdain. Once an individual has undergone this event "the resulting symbol is perfectly clear and intelligible" (Longenbach 91). Pound also endeavors to explain further his idea of the Greek "phantastikon." According to Pound, "the consciousness of some seems to rest, or to have its center more properly, in what the Greek psychologists called the phantastikon. Their minds are, that is, circumvolved about them like soap-bubbles reflecting sundry patches of the macrocosmos" (92). In April of 1913, Pound wrote a letter to Harriet Monroe attempting to clarify this element of his essay: "It is what Imagination really meant before the term was debased presumably by the Miltonists, tho’ probably before them. It has to do with the seeing of visions."

Pound’s phantastikon became his link to tapping into the purest form of "real symbolism." Dorothy Shakespear requested that Pound explain to her the difference between this symbolism and aesthetic or literary symbolism. He wrote her stating:


There’s a dictionary of symbols, but I think it immoral. I mean that I think a superficial acquaintance with the sort of shallow, conventional, or attributed meaning of a lot of symbols weakens - damnably, the power of receiving an energized symbol. I mean a symbol appearing in a vision has a certain richness and power of energizing joy - whereas if the supposed meaning of the symbol is familiar it has no more force, or interest of power of suggestion than any other word, or than a synonym in some other language (Pound/Shakespear 302).


Of course, the ability to perceive these symbols was not within the reach of everyone. It was only for those who have set sail in the pursuit of higher wisdom. Those in pursuit of gnosis "possess the key to the mysteries of its symbolism and establish themselves as priests - divinely inspired interpreters to whom the uninitiated public must turn for knowledge" (Longenbach 91). From here, the possibilities are endless according to Pound:

"All is within us", purgatory and hell,
Seeds full of will, the white of the inner bark
the rich and the smooth colours,
the foreknowledge of trees,
sense of the blade in seed, to each its pattern.
Germinal, active, latent, full of will,
Later to leap and soar,
willess, serene,
Oh one could change it easy enough in talk.
And no one vision will suit all of us.

Say I have sat then, the low point of the cone,
hollow and reaching out beyond the stars,
reaches and depth, the massive parapets,
Walls whereon chariots went by four abreast (Longenbach 237).

Pound made it a habit to not only read Mead’s article’s and books but he also religiously attended his lectures outside the "Monday Evenings." In another letter to his parents he wrote: "I’m going out to Mead’s lecture. And so on as usual. This being Tuesday" (Beinecke 271). From these readings and lectures, Pound most likely got his inspiration for the beginning of his revised Cantos:

the passing into the realms of the dead, while living, refers to the initiation of the soul of the candidate into the states of after- death consciousness, while his body was left in a trance. The successful passing through these states of consciousness removed the fear of death, by giving the candidate an all sufficing proof of the immortality of the soul and of its consanguinity with the gods (Taylor 319).

The "initiation" process of the soul was one that Pound decided must begin his entire Cantos. "Canto 1" starts with: "And then went down . . ." which initiates a descent that is the beginning of this journey (3). Pound made it clear in "Canto 1" that the Odysseus figure was alive during his descent just as Mead required the figure to be "living." Also, in a blatant attempt to achieve the "consanguinity with the gods," Pound’s character drank the blood of the sheep that was sacrificed to them.

The process that Pound is discussing is palingenesis, or the birth and the growth of the soul. The ultimate goal of the entire process, as Pound saw it, was "the expansion of the initiand’s consciousness into a state where he awakes to his relationship with the gods, and participates in their world" (Celestial Tradition 107). At this initial stage the initiate knows nothing except that he is on a quest for gnosis. As Pound wrote in Canto 47: "Knowledge the shade of a shade, / Yet must thou sail after knowledge / Knowing less than drugged beasts" (30).

The completion of the journey is the passage into what was previously described as "the crystal." This stage is the graduation from the ephemeral world of man to the realm of the gods. The soul has passed "from fire" of the "Kimmerian lands" of "Canto 1" "to crystal / via the body of light" (Canto 91,61). Pound put it much more bluntly when he stated that one must "bust thru" to this realm of understanding but he made his point (Celestial Tradition 107). Although he makes references to the exceptions, Tryphonopoulos contends that "Scholarly comment on Pound’s relation to the occult is virtually nonexistent" ("Occult Education" 75). The difficulty in analyzing Pound’s occult studies is that his reading and influences are so vast. From his amassed material Pound would piece together a detailed mosaic. This method provided a coherence for his presentation. In this fashion, structure begins to surface in even his most dense work The Cantos. Tryphonopoulos understands The Cantos to be a "collection of fragments gathered according to a predetermined plan for the purpose of validating the author’s original value system" (1). Pound seems to be speaking of this in the very late "Canto 110" when he writes: "From times wreckage shored / these fragments shored against ruin" (781). These elements pulled from the rubble of history and which Pound tiles together are what make the picture complete.

vendredi, 05 novembre 2010

What did Ezra Pound really say?


by Michael Collins Piper 

ezra_pound_01.jpgFrom 1945 through 1958 America's iconoclastic poet--the flamboyant Ezra Pound, one of the most influential individuals of his   generation--was held in a Washington, D.C. mental institution, accused of  treason. Pound had merely done what he had always done--spoken his mind. Unfortunately for Pound, however, he had made the error of criticizing the American government in a series of broadcasts from Italy during World War II. For that he was made to pay the price.  Was Pound a traitor--or a prophet? Read his words and judge for yourself.

American students have been taught by scandalized educators that famed American poet and philosopher Ezra Pound delivered "treasonous" English-language radio broadcasts from Italy (directed to both Americans and to the British) during World War II. However, as noted by  Robert H. Walker, an editor for the Greenwood Press: "Thousands of people have heard about them, scores have been affected by them, yet but a handful has ever heard or read them."   This ignorance of Pound's most controversial political rhetoric is ironic, inasmuch as: "No other American--and   only a few individuals throughout the world--has left such a strong mark on so many aspects of the 20th century: from poetry to economics, from theater to philosophy, from politics to pedagogy, from Provencal to Chinese. If Pound was not always totally accepted, at least he was unavoidably there." One critic called Pound's broadcasts a "confused mixture of fascist apologetics, economic theory, anti-Semitism, literary judgment and memory" Another described them as "an unholy mixture of ambiguity, obscurity, inappropriate subject matters [and] vituperation," adding (grudgingly) there were "a few pearls of unexpected wisdom." 

Despite all the furor over Pound's broadcasts--which were heard between January of 1941 through July of 1943--it   was not until 1978 that a full-length 465-page compendium of transcriptions of   the broadcasts was assembled by Prof. Leonard Doob of Yale University in association with aforementioned Greenwood Press. Published under the title "Ezra   Pound Speaking"--Radio Speeches of World War II, the volume provides the reader a comprehensive look at Pound's philosophy as it was presented by the poet him self in what Robert Walker, who wrote the foreword to the compendium, describes as "that flair for dramatic hyperbole." 

What follows is an attempt to synthesize Pound's extensive verbal parries. Most of what is appears here has never been printed anywhere except in the compendium of Pound's wartime broadcasts. Thus, for the first time ever--for a popular audience--here is what Pound really had to say, not what his critics claim he said. When he was broadcasting from Italy during wartime, Pound evidently pondered the possibility of one day compiling   transcriptions of his broadcasts (or at least expected--quite correctly--that one day the transcripts would be compiled by someone else). He hoped the broadcasts would show a consistent thread once they were committed to print. Pound recognized relaying such a massive amount of information about so many seemingly unrelated subjects might be confusing listeners less widely read than he. However, the poet also had very firm ideas about the need of his listeners to be able to synthesize the broad range of material that appeared in his colorful lectures.   

Pound was sure his remarks on radio were   not seditious, but were strictly informational and dedicated to traditional principles of Americanism--including the Constitution, in particular. In response to media claims that he was a fascist propagandist, Pound had this to say: "If anyone takes the trouble to record and examine the series of talks I have made over this radio it will be found I have used three sorts of material: historical facts; convictions of experienced men, based on fact; and the fruits of my own experience. The facts . . . mostly antedate the fascist era and cannot be considered as improvisations trumped up to meet present requirements. Neither can the beliefs of Washington, John Adams, Jefferson, Jackson, Van Buren, and Lincoln be laughed off as mere fascist propaganda. And even my own observations date largely before the opening of the present hostilities.   "I defend the particularly American, North American, United States heritage. If anybody can find anything hostile to the Constitution of the U.S.A. in these speeches, it would greatly interest me to know what. It may be bizarre, eccentric, quaint, old-fashioned of me to refer to that document, but I wish more Americans would at least read it. It is not light and easy reading but it contains several points of interest, whereby some of our present officials could, if they but would, profit greatly."   Pound's immediate concern was the war in Europe--"this war on youth--on a generation" --which he described as the natural   result of the "age of the chief war pimps." He hated the very idea that Americans were being primed for war, and on the very day of Pearl Harbor he denounced the idea that American boys should soon be marching off to war: "I do not want my compatriots from the ages of 20 to 40 to go get slaughtered to keep up the Sassoon and other British Jew rackets in Singapore and in Shanghai. That is not my idea of American patriotism," he added. In Pound's view, the American government alliance with British finance capitalism and Soviet Bolshevism was contrary to America's tradition and heritage: "Why did you take up with those gangs?" he rhetorically asked his listeners. "Two gangs. [The] Jews' gang in London, and [the] Jew murderous gang over in Moscow? Do you like Mr. Litvinov? [Soviet ambassador to Britain Meyer Wallach, alias Litvinov, born 1876.--Ed.]   "Do the people from Delaware and Virginia   and Connecticut and Massachusetts . . . who live in painted, neat, white   houses . . . do these folks really approve [of] Mr. Litvinov and his gang, and all he stands for?" There was no reason for U.S. intervention abroad, he said: "The place to defend the American heritage is on the American   continent. And no man who had any part in helping [Franklin] Delano Roosevelt get the United States into [the war] has enough sense to win anything . . . The men who wintered at Valley Forge   did not suffer those months of intense cold and hunger in the hope that . . . the union of the colonies would one day be able to stir up wars between other countries in order to sell them munitions."   

What was the American tradition? According to Pound: "The determination of our forbears to set up and maintain in the North American continent a government better than any other. The determination to govern ourselves internally, better than any other nation on earth. The idea of Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, to keep out of foreign shindies." Of  FDR's interventionism, he declared:   "To send boys from Omaha to Singapore to die for British monopoly and brutality is not the act of an American patriot." However, Pound said: "Don't shoot the President. I dare say he deserves worse, but . . . [a]ssassination only makes more mess." Pound saw the American national tradition being buried by the aggressive new internationalism. 

According to Pound's harsh   judgment: "The American gangster did not spend his time shooting women and children. He may have been misguided, but in general he spent his time fighting superior forces at considerable risk to himself . . . not in dropping booby traps for unwary infants. I therefore object to the modus in which the American troops obey their high commander. This modus is not in the spirit of Washington or of Stephen Decatur." Pound hated war and detected a particular undercurrent in the previous wars of history. Wars, he said, were destructive to nation-states, but profitable for the special interests. Pound said international bankers--Jewish bankers, in particular--were those who were the primary beneficiaries of the profits of from war. He pulled no punches when he declared:   Sometime the Anglo-Saxon may awaken to the fact that . . . nations are shoved into wars in order to destroy themselves, to break up their structure, to destroy their social order, to destroy their   populations. And no more flaming and flagrant case appears in history than our own American Civil War, said to be an occidental record for size of armies employed and only surpassed by the more recent triumphs of [the Warburg banking   family:] the wars of 1914 and the present one. 

Although World War II itself was much on Pound's mind, the poet's primary concern, referenced repeatedly throughout his broadcasts, was the issue of usury and the control of money and economy by private special interests. "There is no freedom without economic freedom," he said. "Freedom that does not include freedom from debt is plain bunkum. It is fetid and foul logomachy to call such servitude freedom . . .Yes, freedom from all sorts of debt, including debt at usurious interest." Usury, he said, was a cause of war   throughout history. In Pound's view understanding the issue of usury was central   to understanding history: "Until you know who has lent what to whom, you know nothing whatever of politics, you know nothing whatever of history, you know nothing of international wrangles. "The usury system does no nation . . .   any good whatsoever. It is an internal peril to him who hath, and it can make no use of nations in the play of international diplomacy save to breed strife  between them and use the worst as flails against the best. It is the usurer's game to hurl the savage against the civilized opponent. The game is not pretty, it is not a very safe game. It does no one any credit." 

Pound thus traced the history of the current war: "This war did not begin in 1939. It is not a unique result of the infamous Versailles Treaty. It is impossible to understand it without knowing at least a few precedent historic events, which mark the cycle of combat. No man can understand it without knowing at least a few facts and their chronological sequence. This war is part of the age-old struggle   between the usurer and the rest of mankind: between the usurer and peasant, the usurer and producer, and finally between the usurer and the merchant, between usurocracy and the mercantilist system . . . "The present war dates at least from the founding of the Bank of England at the end of the 17th century, 1694-8. Half a century later, the London usurocracy shut down on the issue of paper money by the Pennsylvania colony, A.D. 1750. This is not usually given prominence in the   U.S. school histories. The 13 colonies rebelled, quite successfully, 26 years later, A.D. 1776. According to Pound, it was the money issue (above all) that united the Allies during the second 20th-century war against Germany: "Gold. Nothing else uniting the three governments, England,   Russia, United States of America. That is the interest--gold, usury, debt,   monopoly, class interest, and possibly gross indifference and contempt for   humanity." 

Although "gold" was central to the world's struggle, Pound still felt gold "is a coward. Gold is not the backbone of nations. It is their ruin. A coward, at the first breath of danger gold flows away, gold flows out of the country." Pound perceived Germany under Hitler as a nation that stood against the international money lenders and communist Russia under Stalin as a system that stood against humanity itself. 

He told his listeners: "Now if you know anything whatsoever of  modern Europe and Asia, you know Hitler stands for putting men over machines. If  you don't know that, you know nothing. And beyond that you either know or do not know that Stalin's regime considers humanity as nothing save raw material. Deliver so many carloads of human material at the consumption point. That is the logical result of materialism. If you assert that men are dirty, that humanity is merely material, that is where you come out. And the old Georgian train robber [Josef Stalin--ed.] is perfectly logical. If all things are merely material, man is material--and the system of anti-man treats man as matter." The real enemy, said Pound, was international capitalism. All people everywhere were victims: "They're working   day and night, picking your pockets," he said. "Every day and all day and all night picking your pockets and picking the Russian working man's pockets." Capital, however, he said, was "not international, it is not hyper-national. It is sub-national. A quicksand under the nations, destroying all nations, destroying all law and government, destroying the nations, one at a time, Russian empire and Austria, 20 years past, France yesterday, England today." 

According to Pound, Americans had no idea why they were being expected to fight in Britain's war with Germany: "Even Mr. Churchill hasn't had the grass to tell the American people why he wants them to die, to save what. He is fighting for the gold standard and monopoly. Namely the power to starve the whole of mankind, and make it pay through the nose before it can eat the fruit of its own labor." As far as the English were concerned, in Pound's broadcasts aimed at the British Isles he warned his listeners that although Russian-style communist totalitarianism was a threat to British freedom, it was not the biggest threat Britain faced: You are threatened. You are threatened by the Russian methods of administration. Those methods [are not] your sole danger. It is, in fact, so far from being your sole danger that I have, in over two years of talk over this radio, possibly never referred to it before. 

Usury has gnawed into England since the days of Elizabeth. First it was mortgages, mortgages on earls' estates; usury against the feudal nobility. Then there were attacks on the common land, filchings of village common pasture. Then there developed a usury system, an international usury system, from Cromwell's time, ever increasing." In the end, Pound suggested, it would be the big money interests who would really win the war--not any particular   nation-state--and the foundation for future wars would be set in place: "The nomadic parasites will shift out of London and into Manhattan. And this will be presented under a camouflage of national slogans. It will be represented as an American victory. It will not be an American victory. The moment is serious. The moment is also confusing. It is confusing because there are two sets of concurrent phenomena, namely, those connected with fighting this war, and those   which sow seeds for the next one." Pound believed one of the major problems of the day--which itself had contributed to war fever--was the manipulation of the press, particularly in the United States: "I naturally mistrust newspaper news from America," he declared. "I grope in the mass of lies, knowing most of the sources are wholly untrustworthy." According to Pound: "The United States has been misinformed. The United States has been led down the garden path, and may be down under the daisies. All through shutting out news.

lundi, 01 novembre 2010

Pound, Jefferson, Adams e Mussolini

Pound, Jefferson, Adams e Mussolini

Autore: Giano Accame

Ex: http://www.centrostudilaruna.it/


È vero: siamo in tempo di crisi e accadono cose davvero sorprendenti. Anche nel movimento delle idee. Occupa appena una trentina di pagine il saggio di Ezra Pound su Il carteggio Jefferson-Adams come tempio e monumento ed è quindi motivo di un lieve stupore l’ampiezza dell’interesse che ha suscitato. Il 18 febbraio scorso si parte con un’intera pagina del Corriere della Sera per una recensione di Giulio Giorello, filosofo della scienza, ma anche raffinato lettore dei Cantos da un versante laico-progressista, che ha acceso la discussione a cominciare dal titolo: Elogio libertario di Ezra Pound. Scambiò Mussolini per Jefferson. Ma il suo era un Canto contro i tiranni. Di quel titolo il giorno dopo profittava Luciano Lanna per ribadire sul nostro Secolo: “Pound (come Jünger) era libertario”. Due giorni dopo (venerdì 20 febbraio) nelle pagine culturali del Corriere della Sera Dino Messina riapriva il dibattito : “Fa scandalo il “Pound libertario”, mentre il 21 febbraio il tema veniva approfondito da Raffaele Iannuzzi nel paginone centrale ancora del Secolo.

Ricordo ancora le critiche rivolte a Pound e a Giorello il 27 febbraio da Noemi Ghetti su LEFT. Avvenimenti settimanali dell’Altraitalia: era abbastanza facile indicare qualche contraddizione tra la censura fascista e lo spirito libertario, pur essendo altrettanto innegabile il durissimo prezzo pagato da Ezra Pound pacifista alla sua appassionata predicazione contro l’usura, la speculazione finanziaria internazionale e le guerre, con le settimane vissute in gabbia nella prigionia americana di Pisa e i dodici anni di manicomio criminale a Washington. Tuttavia nell’ampio dibattito di cui ho segnalato le tappe è comparso solo marginalmente il nome di Luca Gallesi (Antonio Pannullo lo ha però intervistato il 5 marzo in queste pagine sull’etica delle banche islamiche), geniale studioso di Pound cui si deve la pubblicazione del saggio su Jefferson, ma anche e soprattutto l’apertura di nuovi percorsi in una materia di crescente interesse quale è la storia delle idee.

Occorre rimediare alla disattenzione per l’importanza dei contributi che Gallesi ci sta suggerendo e per i risultati che nel campo degli studi poundiani sta raccogliendo con l’editrice Ares guidata da Cesare Cavalleri insieme alla rivista Studi cattolici, anch’essa molto attenta al pensiero economico di un poeta che sin dai primi anni ’30 aveva previsto lo spaventoso disordine della finanza globale e il dissesto con cui oggi il mondo è alle prese. Le Edizioni Ares avevano già pubblicato gli atti di due convegni internazionali curati da Luca Gallesi, prima Ezra Pound e il turismo colto a Milano, poi Ezra Pound e l’economia, e dello stesso Gallesi lo studio su le origini del fascismo di Pound ove dimostra che il più innovativo poeta di lingua inglese del secolo scorso era stato predisposto a larga parte dei programmi socio-economici mussoliniani degli anni di collaborazione a Londra con la rivista The New Age diretta da Alfred Richard Orage, espressione di una corrente gildista, cioè corporativa del laburismo. Dalla frequentazione della società inglese Pound si portò dietro anche alcuni trattati del tutto sgradevoli d’antisemitismo, che negli anni Venti salvo rare eccezioni erano ancora ignote al fascismo italiano. L’introduzione di Gallesi al breve saggio di Pound sul carteggio Jefferson-Adams punta a estendere agli Usa la ricerca già avviata in Inghilterra sulle origini anglosassoni del fascismo poundiano. Questa volta paragoni diretti tra i fondatori degli stati Uniti e il fascismo non emergono come nel più noto Jefferson e Mussolini ripubblicato nel ’95 a cura di Mary de Rachelwiltz e Luca Gallesi da Terziaria dopo che era andata dispersa la prima edizione per la Repubblica sociale del dicembre ’44. Di Jefferson e Adams da Gallesi viene ricordato l’impegno, da primi presidenti americani, nello sventare i tentativi di Hamilton di togliere al Congresso, cioè al potere politico elettivo, il controllo sull’emissione di moneta per delegarlo ai banchieri e alla speculazione attraverso la creazione di una banca centrale controllata, come nel modello inglese, da gruppi privati. Un’altra traccia innovativa per la storia delle idee è stata suggerita da Gallesi il 4 marzo sul quotidiano Avvenire segnalando il saggio dell’americano Jonah Goldberg, che stufo di sentirsi accusare di fascismo ha scalato i vertici delle classifiche librarie con Liberal Fascism, un saggio ove ha sostenuto la natura rivoluzionaria del fascismo, che durante la stagione roosveltiana del New Deal suscitò “negli Usa stima e ammirazione soprattutto negli ambienti progressisti, mentre all’estrema destra il Ku Klux Klan faceva professione di antifascismo”.

Una storia trasversale di idee al di là della destra e della sinistra che Gallesi si prepara a approfondire lungo l’Ottocento americano attraverso la secolare resistenza che da Jefferson in poi vide opporsi correnti legate allo spirito dei pionieri e delle fattorie alla creazione di una banca centrale, che avvenne solo nei primi del Novecento, alla speculazione monetaria e alla dilagante corruzione. Tutti contributi a una interpretazione di Pound, che senza indebolire le posizioni ideali a cui teniamo, risulterà più autentica, più ricca, più fuori dagli schemi, più prossima alla definizione di ”libertario” che della lettura poundiana di Jefferson ha ricavato Giorello.

E non so trattenermi dal riportare due frasi che avevo sottolineate un quindicina di anni fa leggendo la prima volta l’ancor più scandaloso confronto tra Jefferson e Mussolini. Una tesa a far somigliare i due leader nella lotta alla corruzione: “In quanto all’etica finanziaria, direi che dall’essere un pese dove tutto era in vendita Mussolini in dieci anni ha trasformato l’Italia in un paese dove sarebbe pericoloso tentare di comprare il governo”. E proprio alla fine del libro l’invenzione della settimana corta, per una gestione politica della decrescita economica che solo adesso assume aspetti marcati d’attualità: “Nel febbraio del 1933 il governo fascista precedette gi altri, sia di Europa che delle Americhe, nel sostenere che quanto minor lavoro umano è necessario nelle fabbriche, si deve ridurre la durata della giornata di lavoro piuttosto che ridurre il numero del personale impiegato. E si aumenta il personale invece di far lavorare più ore coloro che sono già impiegati”. Queste erano le soluzioni pratiche che piacevano a Pound, autore di solito complicato, ma reso a volte paradossalmente difficile per eccesso di semplicità.

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Tratto da Il Secolo d’Italia del 28 aprile 2009.