By my count, though I may have missed a few, this is the 25th volume of Ezra Pound’s highly distinctive correspondence to see the light of day. The first selection of his letters, edited by D.D. Paige and culled from the years 1907-41, was published in 1950, when Pound was four years into what would be a 12-year sojourn in St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, to which he’d been confined indefinitely after pleading insanity at his trial for treason in 1946. Paige’s selection introduced to the world madcap Ez the compulsive letter-writer, all hectoring capitals and italics and doolally spelling, here berating recalcitrant magazine editors, there puffing his chosen (in the main, pretty well chosen) band of modernistas; here, somewhat less happily, solving the world’s political and economic woes by promoting Social Credit, there championing the achievements of his great hero, Benito Mussolini. Coming the year after the scandal caused by the decision to award the Bollingen Prize to The Pisan Cantos, the book’s publication caused something of a furore – as indeed did all things Poundian in the immediate postwar era.
more from Mark Ford at the LRB here.