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"Booth, Christopher" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 22 May 1998 15:26:35 -0400
text/plain (73 lines)
Also, I recall Olga at the Pound conference in Orono in 1985 (I think it was
1985) being quite upset at the suggestion that Pound ever recanted, and at
least twice she emphatically denied it: once publicly to the conference, and
I overheard her saying so again afterward to some people with whom she was
speaking. Or so my memory tells me. I hope I remember aright.
Anyway, what would a recanto get us? A clean conscience for ourselves alone.
It wouldn't change what EP wrote for better, worse, or indifferent. The ant
would still be a dragon in his centaur world. Our wish to have a Hollywood
ending to his life is our problem and not _The Cantos'_. We want to make
excuses for him that would save _us_ from criticism: "Why Pound? He was a
traitor!" or  "How can you read him? He was an antisemite!" (Sound familiar,
anyone?) We can't deny reading him, because the books are right there, so it
would be nice to respond with a "Uh-uh, no he wasn't. He recanted, so
there!" and righteously stick out our tongues at the _true_ miscreant. At
the same conference as the one I mentioned above, I believe, several
prominent Poundians called for an end to the recanting business, and
suggested that the energy might be better spent in more serious studies. "'A
was a man, take him for all in all. I shall not see his like again", as
Hamlet said.
But, having said all this, perhaps a _posthumous_ recanting would be just
the ticket? Where is Uncle Willy's Ouija board these days?
Chris Booth
> ----------
> From:         Daniel Pearlman
> Reply To:     Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine
> Sent:         Friday, May 22, 1998 1:43 PM
> To:   [log in to unmask]
> Subject:      recanting, etc.
> When I visited EP, Olga, and Mary (in their separate
> residences, of course) in 1968, it was either Olga
> or Mary who confided that Pound had not written any
> new poetry since 1960.  If recent scholarship proves
> otherwise, I bow to it.
> However, one has to bear in mind what may not be
> sufficiently known: that Olga, in Pound's later years,
> became not only EP's spokesperson, but to some
> degree his ghost writer.  I forget which book it is
> right now, but there is an introductory page to a late
> collection of EP's that mentions Jung as a source of
> Pound's artistic inspiration.  This Intro appears to
> be by Pound.  More probably, however, it was written
> by Olga--with Pound's "consent," of course--but I
> don't think he cared much to argue at that point.
> In any case, by the late 60's, Olga had become EP's
> alter ego.  In fact, except for my initial one-hour
> meeting with Pound *alone*, Olga almost never let
> Pound answer a direct question from me.  Maybe she
> was trying to save his energy, or maybe she was
> embarrassed at the slowness of his own responses,
> but there were times when EP was on the verge of
> responding that Olga cut in--and that was the end
> of it.  In fact, it got to the embarrassing point
> of my asking *Olga* questions that I wanted to
> direct to Pound!  It was as if EP wasn't even there!
> (I don't think he gave a damn.  He was extremely
> grateful to Olga for keeping him going at that
> point.)
> ==Dan
> Dan Pearlman                    Office: Department of English
> 102 Blackstone Blvd. #5                 University of Rhode Island
> Providence, RI 02906                    Kingston, RI 02881
> Tel.: 401 453-3027                      Tel.: 401 874-4659
> email: [log in to unmask]            Fax:  401 874-2580