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En Lin Wei <[log in to unmask]>
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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 26 Jul 2000 06:37:23 GMT
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<<is this another cultural error?>>

Perhaps it is; perhaps it is not.  But we all make errors, don't we?

And sometimes one error will lead to another.

But, getting back to one of the issues at hand.  Did Pound commit a
"cultural error" when he compared Hitler with Joan of Arc?

My own answer is "No."  And JB, I would be curious to know what your answer
to the question would be.

I say, "No", even at the risk of being reproached for saying something
positive about Pound.

Pound, I believe, had never made such a comparison before, and the remark---
"Hitler is Joan of Arc" --- indicates a sort of psychic reversal (if at
least for a moment), an earthquake in the subconsious, resulting from his
capture by the Italian partisans, and realizing that the jig was up for

I have explained before how Pound equates Hitler--- a figure who he had
regarded previously as one of the most admirable figures on earth ---- with
Joan of Arc because of an opposition existing in the subconscious mind.  I
alluded to the possibility that Pound's often avowed fascism, sexism, and
anti-semitism, which he publicly  professed on numerous occasions, had their
subconscious opposites stored deeply in the unconscious, in the forms of
pro-democratic, egalitarian, and pro-Jewish sentiments, buried quite far
down.  The Joan of Arc quote is a sort of leakage of the unconscious into
the conscious mind, which occurs occasionally in Pound's utterances and
writings.  This is to say that Pound is, in reality, a entirely whole human
being, who is divided from himself (not in the sense of suffering from
schizophrenia, or any serious psychic disorder) but in the sense of being
unable to integrate or synthesize his opposing tendencies.  This latter
observation is very important.  I agree that Milton's support for Satan in
Paradise Lost may be more obviously pronounced, and that his opposition to
his own depiction of God may be more obviously pronounced, than Pound's
overt and virtually unqualified support for fascism in his poetry and in his
public statements.  But it is precisely the point that Pound buries his
opposed tendencies more deeply than Milton, that there is in Pound a much
sharper division between his unconsciously held sentiments and his
consciously stated aspirations for fascism.  The psychology of Pound might
be most readily understood by reference to Shakerspeare's depiction of
Coriolanus.  More might be said about this later.

JB mentioned that he had studied Freudian theory quite thoroughly.  I have
studied Jung more closely than Freud, and I think it is the opposition
between the animus (male persona) and the anima (hidden female aspect of
personality) in the male---- an opposition explained in detail by Jung---
which may help us to understand this remark about Joan of Arc and Hitler.
Thus Hitler the oppressor is countered by Joan the liberator.  Hitler the
fascist hero is opposed by Joan the anti-imperialist heroine.  Hitler the
worldly leader who exemplifies political greatness is opposed by Joan the
humble woman who leads the French troops only at the behest of God.  Hitler
fights for himself and his interest, and commits suicide when his interests
are thwarted; while Joan fights for the Dauphin, France, and her people, and
dies as a martyr, refusing to renounce her belief in her divine mission to
save her people.

If JB--- or anyone else--- has another explanation for the remark, I would
like to hear it (keeping in view the fact that, according to pyschoanalysis,
an offhand remark, especially one made under stress, can be very revealing
about the nature of the individual's unconscious mind).



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