with one exception, I've pretty much had my say on the issue.  your focus on
Pound has, thus far, been exclusively negative, ignoring, as carlo parcelli
has pointed out, the significance of his poetical method; instead you have
focused exclusively on his shortcomings.  you don't seem to understand that
Pound's genius is to be found in his poetry, and in the method that he
advanced.  in so doing, you ignore the points that Pound makes in favor of
magnifying his errors -- which, I think, you exaggerate.  though you want to
identify Pound with Hitler and Mussolini, the truth is he was neither and, to
the best of my knowledge, never killed anyone.  you're not the first person
to cover up his or her lack of talent with an appeal to piety, just as you're
not the first person to speak of the influence of Chinese culture and
Confucius, however romanticized, on Pound.  the issues you raise regarding
Pound are not invalid, but your emphasis on them doesn't allow you to form an
objective understanding.  I don't know to what extent your view of Pound is
colored by your political beliefs, except to say that it seems as  if you
give them a prominent place.  as for your challenge:

<< So I conclude with the same question, which demands a detailed and serious
 answer:  What does it say about American culture that its greatest 20th
 century epic poet celebrates dictators, emperors, a Duce, and a Fuhrer--the
 rule of ONE MAN--and never gives a single nod to the ideals of democracy? >>

its importance doesn't resonate for me.  I think it's only fair to point out
that a great deal of the Cantos is concerned with the ideas and actions of
one Thomas Jefferson, who in the panoply of American ideals occupies a rather
exalted position as a democrat, in spite of the fact that he owned slaves and
occasionally slept with some of them.  so your remark that Pound "never gives
a single nod to the ideals of democracy" seems somewhat misplaced -- as do
most of your sweeping generalities -- and betrays your underlying agenda to
dismiss Pound as a political undesirable.


In a message dated 05/31/2000 6:46:21 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

 Joe Brennan wrote:

 >Pound's principal interest in China was historical;
 >there is, as I recall, very little in Pound's writing on >contemporary
 >China.  I'm not speaking to the odd >political remark, although in truth I
 >don't recall many of >them, either.

 I think this is a fair statement.  As far as the Cantos is concerned there
 was only one reference to modern China about the possibility of nuclear
 conflict with US involvment over the island of Quemoy

 “and they call it political”  he wrote in the Cantos

 But Pound was extremely interested in modern China, during the second world
 war.  If you read the Radio Rome Speeches (Doob edition) all the way
 through, you will find many references to contemporary Chinese political
 figures.   During World War Two, Pound made his political views on modern
 China quite clear.  He was consistent backer of Wang Ching-wei, a
 collaborater with the Japanese.    He has about the same historical status
 vis-a-vis the Chinese as Quisling has to the Norwegians, or Petain has to
 the French.

 >My point is that there is no
 >clear connection between Pound and current Chinese issues, and indeed,
 your cryptic "one would have to work them out", you >offer no examples,
 beyond this, such "working out" >would, at best, be merely speculative . . .

 Is there any analysis of the relationship between literature and politics
 which is not “speculative”?  In fact, is there any theorizing at all, which
 is worth doing, which is not speculative?

 >[Such analysis] would no doubt be intensely colored by >your obvious bias
 >against Pound, and
 by your acknowledged conflation of Pound with >Confucius, a serious flaw
 that (from my point of view) >invalidates the bulk of your arguments.

 On what basis do you assert that I am biased against Pound?  Simply because
 I criticize the fascist, imperialist, racist, and anti-democratic aspects of
 the Pound’s writings?   This does not necessarily indicate a bias; it could
 indicate the actual existence of these tendencies in a considerable portion
 of Pound’s written work and in his public utterances.

 I have yet to see you put forward evidence to indicate that Pound’s work is
 not flawed or marred by the fascistic elements.

 Now if we accept the premise that my approach is “biased”, then we would
 have to ask whether your approach is also, in some sense “biased”.  For
 instance, is it possible that your approach to Pound is [for some reason]
 biased in his favor, to such an extent that you are inclined to ignore or
 discount the imperialistic, fascistic, racist, and anti-democratic aspects?
 I don’t expect an answer to this question.  And I am NOT suggesting that
 such is the case.  Such a line of reasoning, on my part,  would not be
 fruitful.  We do not want to create a situation in which I say, “Everything
 you say is wrong, because your are biased” and you say, “everything I say is
 wrong because I am biased.”  That leads nowhere.

 >Rudd Fleming, a confidante and collaborator of Pound >while he was
 >incarcerated at St. Elizabeth's hospital [said]:

 >'one has an obligation to make others as good as one >can make them; only
 >then does one have the ability to >see them clearly, and the right to
 >discuss them at all."

 You offer this as advice to me.  And it is fair and good advice.  However,
 it implies a paradox.  On the one hand, you want me to “make Pound as good
 as I can make him.”  Only then will I have the right to discuss him.  But by
 the same token, anyone who wants to talk to me should “make me and my ideas
 as good as they can make them; only then will they have the right to discuss

 Would it make any difference to say that I made Pound as “good as I could
 make him” for quite some time?

 There is another difficulty: Is this admonition about “making someone good”
 the same or similar to Christ’s ‘judge not, lest you be judged’  ?  I do not
 presume to judge Pound as a person, as a human being, as a moral being----I
 am not trying to say anything about his personal life.  I am interested in
 evaluating, elucidating, uncovering, and exploring the CULTURAL significance
 of his word and his works.  As far as Pound the person is concerned, we
 should “make him  good” to the greatest degree possible.  As concerns his
 soul, I leave that to God, and have no opinion whatsover.  But we are left
 with his words.  Those words deserve attention.

 Would you say the same thing of Mussolini that you say of Pound, that we
 should ‘make him as good’ as we can?  And should we say the same things
 about Hitler, and Genghis Khan, and Atila the Hun, etc.  Perhaps we should
 and we could.  We can certainly choose to.

 Nevertheless, my choice, at this time, is to point out certain features of
 Pound’s interest in China, which, in my view, are suspect.

 The parallel I might draw between Pound’s attitude toward China and the
 attitude of America’s political elite is this:  the common feature could
 conceivably be summed up in one phrase---the need to exploit China.  The
 current poltical elite wants to exploit China economically, while Pound
 wanted to exploit China artistically.

 As I say, I am not committed to this yet.  It would have to be worked out.
 Many Chinese historians have pointed to the fact that many Westerners (esp.,
 missionaries) have wanted to foster, praise, and strengthen Confucianism as
 doctrine.  Missionaries like Legge, for instance, spoke quite openly of the
 need to keep the Chinese as Confucian as possible, because in this way they
 could be converted to Christianity.  If the Chinese emphasized the Taoist
 aspects, and the Buddhist aspects of their culture, in their relations with
 the West, they would be less easy to convert, and less easy to colonize, and
 to control politically.

 Of course, I am not saying Pound thought this way.  Pound is interesting, in
 the history of world literature as one of the few Western figures (perhaps
 the only one) who ‘converted’ to Confucianism and tried to spread the
 doctrine in the West.  Many people on this list may be unaware of the extent
 to which Pound was serious about spreading the Confucian doctrine.  Most
 critics writing about Pound have ignored the issue.  But the evidence is

 David Moody <[log in to unmask]> wrote

 >En Lin Wei is given to making statements of unlimited reference, i.e.
 >no specific reference, and so impossible to engage with.  But near the end
 >of a posting on 29 May he wrote: 'I believe rule should be by law and by
 >elected officials (and not by ONE MAN, "i jen" as Pound believes'.  This
 >can check out.
 >It connects with a series of five citations in "Section: Rock-Drill" of a
 >"Shou King" axiom that 'the glory and tranquillity of the state may arise
 >from the excellence of one man'.  (Cp. canto 13.)   [See 85/547, 86/563,
 >89/600, 94/639, 95/644 - o.s. refs. as in Terrell's "Companion".]  In
 >itself, even more in the contexts in "Rock-Drill", the phase does not mean
 >what En Lin Wei takes it to mean.

 I am happy to talk about specifics (and to generalize, as are all members of
 this list).  In the above case cited, I would ask how do you interpret the
 phrase, "the glory and tranquillity of the state may arise from the
 excellence of one man"?   I would argue that the "glory and tranquillity of
 the state" (if there is such a thing) may arise only from a constitutional
 system, a Republic, or a democracy, with checks, and balances, and the rule
 of law.  It can never arise from ONE MAN, however excellent, since every
 state is composed of its members, and all citizens should have a hand in the
 running of it.  Each state which "arises" is also the the result of the
 efforts of countless individuals; the "one man doctrine" was used in ancient
 China to bolster the imperial system.  Those who read the Shou King all the
 way through you will see that this is the case.   The fact that a serious
 20th century intellectual would find political food for thought in it,
 especially someone who lived in a democracy, must give one pause.

 The doctrine of "ONE MAN" (i jen) is identical in its essence to the
 doctrine of fascism, and the cult of the "Great Leader."  Pound repeats the
 phrase over and over in the Cantos, and puts the ideograms next to dictators
 and emperors.  Nowhere, in his massive work (correct me if I am wrong) does
 he express sympathy with  the view of Livy, that the historian should
 document the rule of a nation by elected officials who are subject to the

 So I conclude with the same question, which demands a detailed and serious
 answer:  What does it say about American culture that its greatest 20th
 century epic poet celebrates dictators, emperors, a Duce, and a Fuhrer--the
 rule of ONE MAN--and never gives a single nod to the ideals of democracy?

 Any takers?