[Read online The Bughouse] Kindle ePUB ☆ Daniel Swift


  • Hardcover
  • 320
  • The Bughouse
  • Daniel Swift
  • English
  • 10 February 2019
  • 9781846558511

10 thoughts on “The Bughouse

  1. says:

    There is a certain type of book freuently seen these days which I believe has yet to acuire a single word or short phrase to describe

  2. says:

    If you are lucky to have a substantial used bookstore near by check out the poetry section under P's Most of them will have about 3 feet of books by but mostly about Ezra Pound Hugh Kenner's The Pound Era will be the bedrock of the shelf with Pound's New Directions issues in black c 1961 modern covers along with

  3. says:

    Pound is the Zelig of literary modernism The American born European emigre gave his imprimatur to anything and everything that was being created around him Pound’s massive volumes of poetry critical essays and id

  4. says:

    Traitor and patriot poet and madman genius and fool verse and prose beauty and order to all who looked upon him Pound offered such rich contradiction and never was he provocative troublesome than in his years at S

  5. says:

    The Bughouse is the result of Daniel Swift’s research of the St Elizabeth hospital records and the accounts of the literary figures visiting Ezra pound the poet during his stay thereEzra Pound was accused of t

  6. says:

    As with studies of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit I am willing to follow any brave soul into the thickets of the famously difficult Cantos

  7. says:

    In Vonnegut's Mother Night and Slaughterhouse Five there's a character Howard Campbell who is loosely based on Pound I've never read his poetry because of his fascist and anti Jewish attitudes This book conveys his brilliance without apologizing for the negative elements of his character and it also paints a comprehensive picture of

  8. says:

    While the mental institution history was interesting this book reminded me how little I care about poetry

  9. says:

    A lot of fascinating information about a fascinating figure I wish the writing had been direct though

  10. says:

    Come for the obtuse modernist poetry stay for the fascism and anti Semitism

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Daniel Swift ☆ 0 characters

The Bughouse

A captivating biography of Ezra Pound told via the stories of his visitors at St Elizabeths HospitalIn 1945 the great American poet Ezra Pound was deemed insane He was due to stand trial for treason for his fascist broadcasts in Italy during the war Instead he escaped a possible death sentence and was held at St Elizabeths Hospital for the insane for than a decade While there his visitors included the stars of modern poetry T S Eliot Elizabeth Bishop John Berryman Robert. Pound is the Zelig of literary modernism The American born European emigre gave his imprimatur to anything and everything that was being created around him Pound s massive volumes of poetry critical essays and idiosyncratic translations are still vital to understanding what his problematic catchphrase make it new meant for an entire generation many of whom Pound mentored promoted and edited For all his literary fecundity Ezra Loomis Pound was also than a little bonkers Gertrude Stein called him a village explainer Excellent if you were a village if not not We expect literary folks to be a little nutty it comes with the territory But at times Pound s manias veered beyond literary inspiration and into outright treason Daniel Swift s engrossing new study The Bughouse examines Pound s time as an incarcerated but respected ward of the state By writing this account Swift is involved in a delicate narrative balancing act A professor of literature he clearly respects Pound s poetic achievement but doesn t endorse or excuse his politics The Bughouse is a narrative history about someone whose chaotic intellectual history had finally caught up with him While living in Italy during World War II Pound openly sided with Mussolini s fascist government and gave a series of crackpot radio broadcasts from Rome that were bitterly Anti American racist obsessed with international monetary conspiracy and other putrid political theories After the war ended Pound was declared insane and put in solitary confinement in an outdoors cell a gorilla cage at an Italian prison camp and then shipped off to St Elizabeth s Hospital Pound himself called it The Bughouse or St Liz near Washington DC where he lived under psychiatric supervision for thirteen years In the postwar era he was a lost old man stretched between two worlds too potentially dangerous to be let out of captivity and too acclaimed to be left to rot Was he too crazy to be responsible for what he d said during the war or he just playing possum to avoid worse punishment Opinions on the Pound uestion divided the literary community with some turning their back and others making a pilgrimage to see the legend in the flesh Swift tells the stories of the many exceptional writers who came to pay their respects Many of these happened to be unbalanced geniuses themselves Robert Lowell John Berryman Elizabeth Bishop and Frederick Seidel all sat at Pound s feet Their stories are interesting if like me you are already a fan of their work but not necessarily useful for a reader who isn t already well versed Swift takes great care in explicating the gracefulness of the late Cantos written while Pound was in lockup gradually earning permission to sit in the garden for good behavior They are beautifully written in parts especially when his extensive cross references to history and poetry aren t clogging up the language At St Elizabeth Pound kept mostly to himself translating Confucius and singing to himself in an odd atonal voice that startled the other inmates It is strange given his reactionary politics that Pound could be so erudite in and unexpectedly open to other cultures believing as he did that the summit of human truth was to be found in African myth Chinese philosophy and Japanese plays He was the kind of person who always handed people reading lists whether they d asked for them or not To his credit Swift doesn t shy away from the ramifications of Pound s conspiracy mongering We are introduced to the wretched Eustace Mullins who lived off his brief association with Pound for years At Pound s reuest he went to the Library of Congress to research the founding of the Bank of London only to be told that he should condense everything he learned into a detective novel Mullins didn t follow through with that bizarre suggestion but he did write lots of thankfully little read pamphlets about global financial cabals Swift hangs out with a militant Italian political organization operating out of a building named CasaPound who take Pound s insidious monetary theories a little too disconcertingly to heart This is where the rhetorical rubber meets the road as much as Pound s speechifying was a product of his time and his madness the kinds of racial and economic conspiracies he trumpeted are disturbingly very much alive in Europe today Swift says a little grandly that Pound encapsulates the central uestions about art politics and poetry about the connection between experimental art and extreme political statement This is somewhat true but slightly off the mark It isn t that Pound is an example of the uestions he s an example of the starkness of the answers If you live by the word you die by it The same man who wrote something as lyrical as In A Station at the Met The apparition of these faces in a crowd Petals on a wet black bough could also rant about the chief war pimp Frankie Finkelstein Roosevelt Upon returning to US soil in federal custody he said does anyone have the faintest idea what I said in Rome The answer would have to be a definitive yes it s what put him in St Liz in the first place After spending time in the bughouse and being exposed to what his peers called Ezraology it becomes clear that literary skill doesn t always translate into decent politics Pound famously and correctly said that literature is news that STAYS news but what he didn t realize was that the same can be said of fascism The zeal to recreate the world made Pound far too hubristic to see that his idea of social modernity was the exact opposite of progress After being released Pound recanted his fascist affiliations to none other than Allen Ginsberg who played him a Beatles record and puttered around Italy for years writing little of value Maybe he gained a level of self recrimination as a line in his late Cantos puts it Pull down thy vanity it is not man Made courage or made order or made grace Pull down thy vanity I say pull down

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Lowell Charles Olson and William Carlos Williams among others They would sit with Pound on the hospital grounds bring him news of the outside world and discuss everything from literary gossip to past escapadesThis was perhaps the world's most unorthodox literary salon convened by a fascist and held in a lunatic asylum Those who came often recorded what they saw Pound was at his most infamous most hated and most followed At St Elizabeths he was a genius and a madman a cont. As with studies of Hegel s Phenomenology of Spirit I am willing to follow any brave soul into the thickets of the famously difficult Cantos or the brackish writer behind them The compounded excuse the pun difficulty with Pound however versus the perverted German nationalism posthumously ascribed to Hegel is twofold Pound s difficulty lies not only in the challenge of how to read his poetry but also in how to reconcile it with his life s contradictions And his contradictions are many as Daniel Swift shows Like Richard Wagner1 Joseph Conrad2 and perhaps closely Knut Hamsun one encounters a bifurcation of mind upon contact with a deplorable artist s great work Yet like the troubled Hollywood star there is something that draws us into their lives something that fascinates us and invites us to form an opinion however well or ill informedRead the full review

read The Bughouse

Rarian and a poet and impossible to ignoreIn The Bughouse Daniel Swift traces Pound and his legacy walking the halls of St Elizabeths and meeting modern day neofascists in Rome Unlike a traditional biography The Bughouse sees Pound through the eyes of others at a critical moment both in Pound's own life and in twentieth century art and politics It portrays a fascinating multifaceted artist and illuminates the many great poets who gravitated toward this most difficult of m. In Vonnegut s Mother Night and Slaughterhouse Five there s a character Howard Campbell who is loosely based on Pound I ve never read his poetry because of his fascist and anti Jewish attitudes This book conveys his brilliance without apologizing for the negative elements of his character and it also paints a comprehensive picture of neo fascists that hold him and his belief in reverence A good book about a brilliant artist who was a bad man


About the Author: Daniel Swift

Daniel Swift teaches at the New College of the Humanities in London His first book Bomber County was long listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Guardian First Book Award and his essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times the New Statesman and Harper’s Magazine