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Sender: Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
From: Robert Kibler <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 1998 17:29:05 -0500
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Reply-To: Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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Thanks so much for these takes on Torrey.  I suspected that somehow, he was considered a problem--and I was surprised to learn from the Newsweek article that he was a government psychologist and that he had a definite agenda in that field.  Since his work is the only one that treats the St Elisabeths years, however, it seems to me that Torrey holds down a corner of Pound scholarship--which begs two further questions, given these responses.
    I have read a bunch of Pound, but  never considered or discerned that he was mentally incompetent, or mentally ill--just eccentric and egomaniacal and perhaps too full of disparate facts.   So I naturally agreed with Torrey's premise that Pound ought not to have been in St Elisabeths.  But what is the general sense of members of this list?  Was Pound at sometime or another, mentally ill? 
    Further, is it true that a person who knew Pound--or a person who has first hand knowledge about any subject, really more expert than those who have not known someone, had first-hand knowledge?  I am not sure--I know that personal narratives of battles, for example, often are way off the mark concerning what happened on the battlefield.  The question is important, I think, given that there will surely be more Pound scholars through time who never met the founder of Ezuversity than there were those who had done so.  Will these second and third-comers be forever short of clear percpetion regarding the man, his works?  Has Poundian scholarship had its golden age, now that those apostles who actually touched the man are translating planes? 
"This world is but a single dewdrop, set 
trembling upon a stem ;  and yet . . . and yet . . ."
                                              from "The Autumn Cricket,"  
                                             17th cent. Japanese Noh play
Robert E. Kibler, Ph.D.
Department of Communication Arts
Valley City State University
Valley City, North Dakota
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