Ezra Pound miscellany
Scope and Contents
Series I, Correspondence , is organized into two alphabetically arranged subseries: Ezra Pound Correspondence and Third-Party Correspondence. As Dorothy Pound frequently acted as amanuensis for Pound during his years in St. Elizabeth's, her letters to his correspondents have been interfiled with his in the first subseries and their presence noted in the folder descriptions. Her own personal correspondence with Drew Ponder-Greene, on the other hand, is found in Third-Party Correspondence.
Correspondents represented in Series I include several of Pound's literary friends from the 1920s and 1930s; political journalists and others with whom Pound corresponded on economic theory, Fascism, and the flaws in Western democracies; and scholars and well-wishers who first contacted Pound during his confinement in St. Elizabeth's Hospital after World War II.
Early literary correspondents represented in Series I include John Cournos, Joseph Vogel and Louis Zukofsky. Pound's letters to them largely concern his attempts to "organize" the young writers and to persuade them to found new little magazines and to publish new work, including but not limited to Pound's own. Pound offers advice on publication, generalized commentary on criticism and recent literary history, and suggestions for sources of financial support and patronage. Vogel broke off contact with Pound after 1929, but Cournos and Zukofsky continued to correspond with him throughout the 1930s, as his letters became increasingly preoccupied with Social Credit, economics, and criticisms of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Pound's correspondence with Gladys Hynes focuses on their shared musical interests. His letters contain news of concerts by Olga Rudge and George Antheil. In a 1923 letter, he commented that "I am glad you liked the Villon. That makes six or seven people." Letters to Ethel Duncan (folders 19-22) likewise discuss Rudge and her career as a violinist; Pound writes of "buying O. a fiddle" and sends Duncan a laudatory review of one of her 1933 concerts in Rapallo. During and after the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, Pound's letters to Duncan too become mostly political. He repeatedly requests information about Charles Maurras and Action Française; attacks Roosevelt, the British government and the "Rothschild" banking system; and offers qualified praise of Mussolini and the Fascist government.
The most overtly political letters in the Miscellany are those Pound wrote to the Hungarian economist and Fascist Odon Por, whose Italy's Policy of Social Economics 1939-1940 Pound translated into English in 1941, and to Ubaldo degli Uberti, a retired admiral who was to become undersecretary of the Navy in the Salò regime. Pound's letters to Por, in both English and Italian, are located in folders 53-60 and contain his thoughts on autarky; Social Credit; the foreign policies of Mussolini and Hitler; the decadence of England and America; and similar topics. They also contain frequent demands for "American news," information on members of Mussolini's government, and the publication of his own articles on political topics. For example, a letter dated 13-14 April 1940 inquires urgently about air mail to the United States and access to the Japan Times; asks humorously "When did you say France wd/ throw in her hand? I fergit whether you counted on our spending the Fourth of July in Paris" and suggests the burning of the British Embassy on Bastille Day; and concludes "Do you git ANY American news?" The final letter to Por in the Miscellany, dated 29 December 1941, states Pound's determination to continue his broadcasts on Radio Roma, calling the war a war between "due principii...due ordine" and resolving to broadcast "in nome mio, con mio proprio voce: non anonimamente."
Pound's letters to Ubaldo degli Uberti are briefer but similar in tone and subject. A 29 July 1940 letter comments on German film of the first week of the invasion of the Soviet Union and regrets that the Americans did not participate: "they lose out on it/ the danes will have something they haven't." Another frequent topic is Pound's work on a translation of Confucius and his hopes that it will be read carefully by members of the Salò government.
During his confinement in St. Elizabeth's Hospital following the war, Pound continued to write at length on political and economic topics to both old and new correspondents. Those represented in the Miscellany include Father Vianney Devlin, Robert Duncan, Aida Mastrangelo, the Chinese scholar Lewis Maverick, Donald J. Paquette, and Tiffany Thayer. The collection also contains letters written during this period to Margaret Anderson, Osmond Beckwith, Anne and Michael Lebeck, and John J. Slocum.
Pound's exchanges with these correspondents sometimes focused on topics of particular interest to each: Confucian scholarship with Lewis Maverick, Catholic theology and history with the Franciscan Vianney Devlin, the history of the Little Review and literary magazines with Margaret Anderson. In almost all cases, however, Pound continued to advocate his political and economic ideas, despite his realization that "nobody has to agree wiff me now. esp. at this address," as he commented to Duncan in a 1947 letter (Box 1, folder 23). He frequently sent them elaborate annotated reading lists, requested that they contact each other and others whom Pound identified as "useful" or "serious," read and critiqued works that his correspondents sent to him, and occasionally commented on his personal history and on the current state of literature.
Pound thanked his correspondents for presents, suggested appropriate future presents, and requested or refused requests for visits at St. Elizabeth's. The logistics of these were almost always conveyed in letters written by Dorothy Pound, who arranged permissions, meeting times, and occasionally transportation and lodging for the invitees.
Several of his correspondents, including Anderson, Maverick, and Paquette, annotated his letters extensively in attempts to clarify Pound's compressed allusions and their own reactions: Anderson commented on one undated letter, "I understood almost nothing in this letter," for example, while Paquette recorded his increasing distaste for Pound's vigorously expressed defenses of Mussolini and Fascism. Lewis Maverick and Homer Somers also created substantial notes on Pound and his works, and these are located in Series II.
The second subseries, Third-Party Correspondence, is alphabetically arranged by author. Dorothy Pound's letters to the book collector Drew Ponder-Greene are located in Box 3, folder 97. Dorothy sends news of Ezra's health, noting that he no longer talks but walks vigorously, describes her life alone in Rapallo, and occasionally comments on recently published articles and books on Pound. Folders 98 and 99 contain Homer Pound's letters to two of his son's publishers, requesting catalogs and copies of his books.
Series II, Writings , is housed in Box 4 and has been organized into two subseries: Writings by Pound and Writings of Others. Writings by Pound is located in folders 102-107 and includes holographs of the early poem "To Our Lady of Vicarious Atonement" and the 1909 prose piece "What I feel about Walt Whitman," as well as typescripts of political prose from the 1930s. In addition to the notes on Pound written by Maverick and Somers, Writings of Others contains a printed copy of D. D. Paige's "Petition" for the release of Pound from St. Elizabeth's Hospital and a reminiscence about Pound by Osmond Beckwith.
Restricted Fragile materials are housed in Box 5.
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Box 5: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.
Conditions Governing Use
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2.09 Linear Feet (5 boxes)
- American literature -- 20th Century
- American poetry -- 20th Century
- Anderson, Margaret C., 1886-1973
- Beckwith, Osmond
- Degli Uberti, Riccardo
- Degli Uberti, Ubaldo, 1881-1945
- Devlin, Vianney M.
- Duncan, Ethel de Courcy
- Duncan, Robert, 1919-1988
- European literature -- 20th Century
- Hynes, Gladys, 1888-1958
- Mastrangelo, Aida
- Maverick, Lewis A. (Lewis Adams), 1891-
- Modernism (Literature)
- Paquette, Donald J.
- Por, Odon
- Pound, Dorothy
- Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972 -- Knowledge -- China
- Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972 -- Political and social views
- Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972 -- Views on money
- Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972
- Thayer, Tiffany, 1902-1959
- Zukofsky, Louis, 1904-1978
- Guide to the Ezra Pound Miscellany
- Under Revision
- by Diane J. Ducharme
- March 2004
- Description rules
- Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
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