Ezra Pound, Jewish Activism, and the Struggle for Cultural Memory

Andrew Joyce, Ph.D.

The terror of Pound for Kazin and the rest of us, if we are honest, is Pound’s racism”
Theodore Weiss, The New York Review of Books, 1986. 

I often take great pleasure from looking into the past and finding, among persons and works of great genius, ideas that we very closely share. It’s not terribly difficult. Times have changed so dramatically, and the window of ‘acceptable’ ideas has so radically narrowed, that almost every great creative thinker of substance prior to the 1950s held socio-political views regarded as quasi-Fascistic by the current dispensation. Most of us will be aware, of course, that these broader cultural shifts have had extremely negative repercussions for the socio-historical legacy of such figures. In short, within a society all too keen to abolish the ‘old White men’ from the history books, such figures will be the first to go.

Against this ominous backdrop, a colleague and literary scholar recently felt the inclination to inform me that the great genius of literature Ezra Pound (1885–1972), who possessed a genuine and open sympathy for Fascism, is being slowly and insidiously exiled from college reading lists and school curricula. It should come as no great surprise to readers of the Occidental Observer that having been caged in a ‘death cell’ for his war-time affiliations, and driven first into a mental health hospital and then out of his country, Pound’s punishment would continue posthumously with his relegation to anonymity. Where my friend erred, however, was in attributing the slow vanishing of Pound to an amorphous ‘neoliberal’ zeitgeist. As an ‘armchair’ fan of Modernist poetry for almost a decade, and an ethno-nationalist even longer, I’ve been more acutely aware of the specificities behind the degradation of the much-maligned poet. Far from being a recent phenomenon, I was also aware that the most important steps in Pound’s marginalization had been put in place decades earlier. Having shared these specificities with my colleague, I now present them here for the consideration of our readership. Read more »

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