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"Jonathan P. Gill" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Jonathan P. Gill
Fri, 22 May 1998 09:20:54 -0400
TEXT/PLAIN (30 lines)
Re Pound's recantations: what are we to make of Pound's decision months
before his death to issue his Selected Prose, which contains some of the
most anti-semitic statements of his career? Was he re-authorizing them?
Probably not. Was he trying to put them in print so that his readers would
have a representative idea of his work, for good and bad?
Also, does the statement about usury being a symptom rather than a cause,
the cause being avarice, strike anyone as being equally simple-minded, if
not as overtly prejudiced?  Moreover, this statement supposedly recanting
anti-semitism revives the oldest anti-semitic figure of them all: disease,
diagnosis, and cure.  Are we ourselves on our way to treating Pound's
anti-semitism as symptom?  So what was the disease? Can this metaphor
really lead us any place where Pound didn't already go?  Is Pearlman
saying depression is a cure for anti-semitism?  (Since asking so many
questions without risking answers is perhaps unfair, I'll go out on a limb
and say that I think that Pound's ideas about Jews were intimately linked
with his ideas about language and representation in general.  If this is
so, it is or was impossible to separate, remove, or cure Pound of
anti-semitism--it was a form of anti-semantism.
Finally, whether or not there was a recanting at the end, there was
certainly some recanto-ing (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).  This by way
of challenging Daniel Pearlman's assertion that Pound added nothing to the
Cantos after 1960.  There was plenty of new material in the 1960s, and
even changing and re-arranging endings counts.  Stoichieff's book on this
is excellent.
Jonathan Gill
Columbia University