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Thu, 9 Sep 1999 16:36:54 -0400
Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Daniel Pearlman <[log in to unmask]>
Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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This is very interesting info about Ford Motor Co., Bill!
At 10:58 AM 9/9/99 +0000, you wrote:
>anti-Semitism was more widespread before the Second World War... or at
least was more open.  Henry
>Ford published his anti-Semitic ideas in periodicals that were distributed
at Ford dealerships.  What
>I've heard about his ideas sounds a lot like EP's, but I don't have
documentation to back up the
>recollection.  Hitler is supposed to have been an admirer of Henry Ford,
and quoted him to justify
>his own anti-Semitic policies.
>Ford Motor Company was also heavily invested in German factories, and
recently published information
>indicated contacts between Ford officials & German managers even after the
Nazi war machine rolled
>into action. If my recollection is correct the meetings were held in
neutral countries -- Portugal
>perhaps. Ford manufacturing expertise helped build the trucks that carried
Nazi troops across
>Europe.  Of course, when the story came out a year or so ago, Ford rolled
out the PR machine to
>diminish it and get it out of the news.  But Ford could not deny its
investments in Nazi Germany, and
>even collected money for damage to those factories from the US Government
after the war.
>To me this helps explain why EP was given radio time in Italy during the
war, and why his support of
>the Italian Fascist government was important.  In the war of ideas, the
endorsement of anyone with
>name recognition is a valuable asset.
>Bill Wagner
>Jonathan Morse wrote:
>> Richard Edwards asks Jonathan Gill:
>> >As to anti-semitism, it is a mystery to me where he got it from
>> >The prejudices of his Philadelphia suburb, as documented in the local
>> >at the time (Carpenter again), seem to have been directed mostly against
>> >Italians; obviously Pound didn't pick up much of that. I wonder
whether, in
>> >the course of your research, you formed an opinion as to whether or not
>> >meanness of Pound's hatreds was in any way associated with his mental
>> >illness, if any.
>> It certainly seems true that by the mid-1940s, at the latest, Pound was out
>> of touch with what ordinary people think of as reality. A sad instance, one
>> of many, is the letter written in English and Chinese to the commander of
>> the DTC and beginning, "In view of the situation in China and Japan, it
>> seems to me that the bottling of my knowledge now amounts to suppression of
>> military information" (Spoo and Pound letter 42, 3 Nov. 1945). It's true,
>> too, that the antisemitism of the letters to Olivia Agresti lacks anything
>> like a sense of proportion -- as when Pound attributes the catastrophe of
>> the war to Jewish influence over Hitler (Tryphonopoulos and Surette letter
>> 70, 5 Nov. 1953). But I should think the general historical situation is
>> that prejudice and mental illness are independently distributed. Some
>> bigots are crazy; others aren't. If you think Pound's antisemitic texts are
>> evidence of insanity, how will you think about the respectably dressed
>> civil servants who wrote the Third Reich's statute against Jewish-owned
>> The question probably can't be answered if it's posed that way. But if we
>> narrow it down and refer it specifically to language, as (for instance)
>> Robert Casillo does, we may at least be able to learn something about
>> Pound's language. For what it's worth, here's an example of my own, from a
>> chapter in progress. If it has a moral, I suppose it's only the modest
>> thought that we ought to read history as if it were poetry.
>> -------
>>         On July 11, 1954, 8 years into his incarceration in St. Elizabeths
>> Federal Hospital for the Insane, Ezra Pound received a visit from his
>> Jewish imitator Louis Zukofsky. It was a family affair; Zukofsky brought
>> along his wife Celia and his son Paul. Paul was three months short of his
>> eleventh birthday but already embarked on his career as a violinist, and at
>> St. Elizabeths he gave a recital for Pound and some of his fellow inmates.
>> The next day, Pound responded with a letter.
>>         That composition displays Pound as he saw himself in relation to
the arts:
>> a stern but affectionate preceptor-at-large. The Zukofskys' performances
>> are accordingly subjected, one at a time, to scrutiny and analysis. About
>> Celia's music Pound asks, "Question of whether C/ jams one LINERARR
>> statement against another, or merely puts in chords?" About Louis' poetry
>> he opines, "damn if I see what yu wd/ lose by a rewrite making EVERY line
>> comprehensible." And about Paul he speaks as one artist and father to
>>      AND my prophetik soul / foreseeing: every time that brat gits a
>> thousand $ bukks fer playing Weiniawski, Zuk will be beatin' his breast and
>> crying: why did I beget this cocatrice.
>>                                 Only practical suggestion is that yu
begin distinguishing between
>> infantilism and MUSIC FER ADULTS.  (Ahearn 209-10. "Weiniawski" is
>> presumably Henryk Wieniawski, composer of showy virtuoso pieces for the
>> violin.)
>>         Pound was one of the twentieth century's great critics, and in
this letter
>> we see him at his best: passionate, wide-ranging in his sympathies and
>> eagerly receptive to the new, yet possessed of a profound sense of value.
>> Imagine F. R. Leavis with a sense of proportion, a sense of humor, and a
>> prose style. But before Pound was a critic he was a poet, and he was never
>> satisfied with his own critical language until he had economized it. Within
>> two weeks of writing this letter, for instance, he had reduced its contents
>> to their essentials. "Mr. Zukofsky brot his ten year old son to play Mozart
>> on the lawn a fortnight ago," Pound wrote to his confidante Olivia Rossetti
>> Agresti. "ETC. INDIVIDUALS/ BUT......" (Tryphonopoulos and Surette 163).
>>         In the next sentence, Pound makes his point general and
explicit: "I shd/
>> like to arouse ORA's interest in history/ in biology/ in Luther Burbank, in
>> eugenics/" But that expository prose is only a redundant gloss on the
>> ellipsis following Pound's "INDIVIDUALS/ BUT." It is hard to make a
>> conjunction serve as an allusion, but that is what Pound has done here. A
>> more prosaic speaker of English  for instance, Faulkner's garrulous
>> character Jason Compson IV  would have filled in the ellipsis and finished
>> the sentence. "I have nothing against jews as an individual," Jason
>> explains when his turn comes to pick up the tale of _The Sound and the
>> Fury_. "It's just the race." But when Ezra Pound hit his period key six
>> times rather than write out such words, he was communicating a profound
>> intuition. That six-dot suspension of utterance tells us that some meanings
>> are so deeply embedded in the social structure of language that they can go
>> without saying. Pound's sense of Mozart on the lawn was something actually
>> experienced, as compared with his fantasy of the word "Jew." But the word
>> "Jew" was a preemptive significance. It silenced the echo of the violin.
>> Jonathan Morse
>> Department of English, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Dan Pearlman                            	
102 Blackstone Blvd. #5         	
Providence, RI 02906            	
Tel.: 401 453-3027              	
email: [log in to unmask]
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Department of English
University of Rhode Island	
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Tel.: 401 874-4659