Cover image for Ezra and Dorothy Pound : letters in captivity, 1945-1946
Ezra and Dorothy Pound : letters in captivity, 1945-1946
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 398 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
Reading Level:
1190 Lexile.
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PS3531.O82 Z4895 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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These fascinating letters capture the most traumatic experience of Ezra Pound's life, when he was incarcerated at the end of World War II and indicted for treason. Omar Pound and Robert Spoo have collected and edited the unpublished correspondence between the poet and his wife, combining itwith military and FBI documents, previously unknown photographs, and an extensive, insightful introduction, to create the definitive work on this period of Pound's life. During his incarceration in a U.S. Army detention camp outside Pisa, Pound was allowed to write only to his wife, so these letters afford a unique look at a painful yet highly productive period, when Pound wrote his acclaimed Pisan Cantos and worked on his translations of Confucius. Readerswill discover many fresh insights into the sources and contexts of the Cantos and the circumstances of their composition. Here, too, are many moving passages testifying to Pound's partnership with Dorothy and her courageous efforts to help him; her experiences no less than his come to life in thisvolume. But perhaps the most moving are the harsh conditions Pound found himself in: at one point, in the Pisan camp, he was confined for three weeks in an open air cage, until the sixty year old poet suffered a breakdown and was moved to a tent in the medical compound. The editors connect theanxious lyricism of the Pisan Cantos to these dramatic experiences, as the poet alternated "between savage indignation and suave serenity." The book also covers Pound's return to the United States and his confinement in a federal mental institution there. With more than 150 previously unpublished letters and documents, all authoritatively annotated, Ezra and Dorothy Pound: Letters in Captivity, 1945 1946, offers a rare glimpse into the life and work of one of our century's greatest literary figures.

Author Notes

Ezra Pound, 1885-1972 Ezra Weston Loomis Pound ("Ezra Pound"), along with T. S. Eliot, was one of the two main influences on British and U.S. poetry between the two world wars. Pound was born in a small, two-storey house in Hailey, Idaho Territory on October 30, 1885. Between 1897 and 1900 Pound attended Cheltenham Military Academy, sometimes as a boarder, where he specialized in Latin. Pound graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and went abroad to live in 1908.

The collection of his Letters, 1907--1941 revealed the great erudition of this most controversial expatriate poet. His first book, A Lume Spento, a small collection of poems, was published in Venice in 1908. With the publication of Personae in London in 1909, he became the leader of the imagists abroad.

Pound's writings have been subject to many foreign influences. First he imitated the troubadours; then he came under the influence of the Chinese and Japanese poets. The Cantos (1925--60), his major work, to which he added for many years, is a mixture of modern colloquial language and classical quotation. The Pisan Cantos (1948), written during his imprisonment in Italy, is more autobiographical.

Pound's prose, as well as his poetry, has been extremely influential. The Spirit of Romance (1910) is a revision of his studies of little-known romance writers. ABC of Reading (1934) is an exposition of his critical method. His critical writings include Literary Essays of Ezra Pound (1954), Instigations (1920), and Guide to Kulchur (1938). Pound was a linguist, whom Eliot called "the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time." His greatest translating achievements from Japanese, Chinese, Anglo-Saxon, Italian, Provencal, and French are collected in The Translations of Ezra Pound (1933). Among his other writings are Make It New: Essays; Jefferson and/or Mussolini, a discussion of American democracy and capitalism and fascism; and The Classic Noh Theatre of Japan, with Ernest Fenollosa.

Living in Italy, Pound felt that some of the practices of Mussolini were in accord with the doctrines of social credit, in which he had become interested in the 1920s and 1930s. He espoused some of the general applications of fascism and also was a strong advocate of anti-Semitism. During World War II, he broadcast a pro-Fascist series of programs addressed to the Allied troops on Italian radio. Indicted for treason and brought to the United States to stand trial in 1946, he was judged mentally incompetent to prepare a defense and was committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. for over 12 years. After a concerted appeal to the federal government by American poets, led by Robert Frost, Pound was at last released in 1958 and returned to Italy.

Pound died on November 1, 1972.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

To students and critics of Ezra Pound's life and work, his capture in Italy at the end of World War II and incarceration for treason against the U.S. are familiar events. At a U.S. Army detention camp outside Pisa, Pound composed the acclaimed and controversial Pisan Cantos. During that time, Pound was allowed to correspond only with his wife, Dorothy. The correspondence between Ezra and Dorothy during those difficult months provides unparalleled insight into this painful segment of Pound's life. The book, edited by Omar Pound (Ezra and Dorothy's son) and Robert Spoo, whose introduction provides rich contextual and background details, contains more than 150 unpublished photographs. Already 60 years old at the time of his capture, Pound endured harsh conditions, both physical and mental. The letters cover his incarceration in Pisa and his subsequent transfer to Washington, D.C., where he was admitted to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Insane, and where Dorothy was finally able to join him in July 1946. --Grace Fill

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1945, Ezra Pound was arrested for his pro-Axis radio broadcasts and sent to a U.S. military prison outside Pisa. Incarcerated for treason in an open-air "death cell," the psychologically fragile poet suffered a mental collapse. He was transferred to the prison's more humane medical compound, where he was permitted to write (composing The Pisan Cantos) and to correspond with one person, his doting and stoical wife, Dorothy. This important collection of letters, co-edited by the Pounds' son, Omar, provides the only first-hand account of Pound's initial year of captivity, from his feverishly productive days in Pisa to his confinement in Washington's St. Elizabeth's Hospital for the Insane, where he remained for the next 12 years. Readers familiar with Pound's letters collected elsewhere will recognize his quirky spelling and stylized Yankee dialect, and his cranky, charismatic didacticism. But these letters reveal him in a new light: shattered by his isolation and the suspicion that the public had not "heard or if hearing they understood... one single word of [his radio] talks," he is often mute with melancholy (one letter simply says "it is long long long"). In lucid moments, he frets to Dorothy about his mistress Olga Rudge's financial straits, and begs for "news, personal gossip anything," which Dorothy generously supplies. Dorothy's letters are no less fascinating. Clearly the more grounded one in the marriage, she nurses his ailing mother, funnels money to Olga and dissuades him from representing himself in the legal proceedings. She arranges the publication of the Cantos, which won the prestigious Bollingen prize in 1948, touching off one of the greatest literary controversies in American history. The editors' annotations of Pound's often fractured prose are helpful throughout, and Spoo's insightful introductory essay illuminates what was doubtless the darkest year in the great poet's life. 54 halftones not seen by PW. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Ezra Pound was one of the giants of modernism. While his literary output has often been the focus of attention, the private Pound has not always been easy to study. Now two collections of previously unpublished letters throw new light on his not-so-pleasant personal life. The letters to his wife were written while Pound was incarcerated for treason near Pisa at the end of World War II. Allowed to write only to her, Pound chronicled a difficult period, revealing the depth of their relationship as well as the harsh conditions he endured, including confinement to a cage for several weeks. In addition to these previously unpublished letters, the editors have included military and FBI documents, previously unpublished photographs, and coverage of Pound's return to the United States and his placement in a federal mental institution. Pound's correspondence with Olivia Rossetti Agresti, written between 1937 and 1959, reveals much about his prejudices and outright hatreds. His targets included the United States, Great Britain, the Catholic Church, Jews, and Marxists. As this book shows, the period following World War II was one of the most productive for him: "The Pisan Cantos" was critically received, and he translated Confucius and wrote "Rock Drill" and "Throne" during this period. The editors hope Pound will not be totally condemned for his offensive views. Taken together, these volumes contribute a sometimes disturbing but necessary look at a complicated literary genius and allow readers to evaluate his darker side. Recommended for literary collections.‘Ronald Ray Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Introduction BY ROBERT SPOO IN 1928, FOUR YEARS AFTER HE HAD LEFT PARIS TO MAKE HIS home in Rapallo, Italy, Ezra Pound announced in his short-lived magazine, The Exile : "Quite simply: I want a new civilization." Like many of his passionate utterances, this sweeping call for change was addressed primarily to his native America, a land suffering the disgrace, as he saw it, of Prohibition, book censorship, protectionist copyright laws, and a succession of mediocre occupants of the White House. As he became less tolerant of liberal democracies and bureaucratic systems, he grew more enamored of the charismatic fascism of Benito Mussolini, who, he believed, had restored dynamic individualism and action to government. By 1933, Ezra had persuaded himself that the Duce was a continuation of the best political energies of early America: "The heritage of Jefferson, Quincy Adams, old John Adams, Jackson, Van Buren is HERE, NOW in the Italian peninsula at the beginning of the fascist second decennio, not in Massachusetts or Delaware." The poet who had labored to "make it new" by reclaiming forgotten literary traditions was now forging a myth that would allow him to connect his present beliefs with his vision of a vanished America. The exile had found his new civilization in a resurgent Italy.     Much of Mussolini's appeal lay in what Ezra took to be his progressive monetary policies. If the Duce's political instincts had made him a modern incarnation of Jeffersonian virtue, his economic intuitions had led him to the sane policies of social credit and the medieval just price, which Ezra had been advocating for years. Although historians have questioned the value and sincerity of Mussolini's innovations, Ezra along with many others during the period was impressed by the fascist plan for corporative assemblies, the battle for wheat and for land reclamation, and the revaluation of currency. In particular, Ezra believed that Italian fascism was committed to breaking the stranglehold of international banking, which he held responsible for the systematic creation of wars as a means to private enrichment. In reality, Mussolini, despite occasional flashes of his early socialism, was far from doing away with the system of capitalism that underpinned his regime, but Ezra's admiration had rendered him uncritical of the man he called "the Boss." By 1933, Ezra could assert that "any thorough judgment of MUSSOLINI will be in a measure an act of faith, it will depend on what you believe the man means, what you believe that he wants to accomplish."     Ezra's correspondence and journalism of the 1930s reflect his growing obsession with international usury and with the bankers' conspiracy that he imagined kept it in place. In 1940 he described himself in the Japan Times & Mail as "a fanatical monetary reformer or insister on monetary fact, and the known history of money." When America entered the war on the side of Britain at the end of 1941, he found himself cut off from the two nations that he most wanted to educate, and he relied on radio broadcasting as a way of getting past the barrier. He had long urged that parliamentary and congressional sessions be opened to the public through the technology of radio. As early as 1934, he had told Francesco Monotti, an Italian journalist with connections to influential fascists, that he longed "to croon it over the air to the six million little pink toes American bolsheviki, and the back woods heckers who take the American Muck/ury etc/." After repeated requests, Ezra was permitted by the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture to come to Rome for the purpose of making shortwave overseas transmissions. According to his own recollection, he "began broadcasting in person over the Italian Radio about the Summer of 1940" (Document 6). At first he spoke directly over the air, but in time he was asked to record his talks for later transmission. By early 1941, he was cutting records to be played during the American Hour , a program of news, comment, and music. For each broadcast he was paid 350 lire.     Listening to these recordings today, one wonders what the propaganda ministry thought it was accomplishing by allowing Ezra on the air; indeed, his performances raised doubts in official Italian circles as to his intentions and even his sanity. American listeners must have been even more puzzled. The typical broadcast was preceded and followed by selections from Italian opera or by outdated American dance music that could hardly have appealed to the new taste for the big band sound of Glenn Miller and Harry James. After a brief introduction by a female announcer, Ezra's voice would slice through the shortwave static, "EUROPE CALLIN', EZRA POUND SPEAKIN'," and he would hold forth for several minutes in stage Yankee or in a weird brogue, rolling his r 's in the style he had adopted for reading his poetry. Sometimes he spoke in a measured didactic voice, almost professorial in its suave patience, at other times in a taunting growl that flattened out and trailed away in a manner reminiscent of W. C. Fields.     However various the vocal personae of these talks, the content was persistently Poundian: the history of money, the evils of the gold standard and international finance, the usurocracy's plot to create wars in regular sequence. Although Ezra occasionally devoted a broadcast to literary topics or to a reading of one of his cantos, more often he could be heard denouncing Winston Churchill or Franklin D. Roosevelt along with the conspiracy of powerful Jews that allegedly controlled these politicians, a conspiracy he sometimes called "high kikery." The anti-Semitic invective that had spread through his personal correspondence in the 1930s reached a fever pitch in his broadcasts: "America ought not to be makin' war on Europe, and America knows it. I think it is time the American U.S. citizen studied Mr. Morgenthau's treasury reports, whether or not he is out in front proclaiming the coming of Zion." "You have got to learn a little, at least a little about the history of your allies. About Jew-ruin'd England. About the wreckage of France, wrecked under yidd control. Lousy with kikes." "The Talmud is the one and only begetter of the Bolshevik system." "And as to all visible signs Roosevelt is MORE in the Jew's hands than Wilson was in 1919."     In these talks, Ezra urged Americans to study the causes of war and to realize that their nation should not be fighting Italy and Germany, but, as he would later insist, he never suggested that servicemen revolt or lay down their weapons. "It is one thing to tell troops to desert, another to try to build up political indignation to take effect AFTER the end of hostilities" (Document 7). His efforts had been made in defense of the U. S. Constitution, not in defiance of it. After America entered the war, Ezra's broadcasts were introduced by a statement of his own devising: "Rome Radio, acting in accordance with the fascist policy of intellectual freedom and free expression of opinion by those who are qualified to hold it, has offered Dr. Ezra Pound the use of the microphone twice a week. It is understood that he will not be asked to say anything whatsoever that goes against his conscience, or anything incompatible with his duties as a citizen of the United States of America." In October 1945 he informed his solicitors in London that "FREE SPEECH was preserved precisely where the British Public would least expect it, namely in Italy by a few unknown, I suppose you would call them `liberals' working inside the Italian framework" (Letter 17).     After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ezra's broadcasts took on a new significance for the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Federal Communications Commission carefully monitored and recorded his transmissions. The FBI's investigation of Ezra was intensive and far-flung. The Bureau's files show that dozens of field offices were involved in pursuing leads and conducting interviews. In a memo dated 30 November 1942, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover said of the treason investigations: "These cases are considered as being of paramount importance, particularly in view of the interest of the President, the office of War Information, and the Department, and should be given immediate and continuous investigative attention until all leads are exhausted." On 25 July 1943, with the Allied forces advancing on Italy from North Africa, Mussolini was dismissed from office by King Vittorio Emanuele III and placed under arrest. Ezra heard the news in Rapallo while listening to the radio; the announcement was made a few minutes after one of his own broadcasts. The following day, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., returned treason indictments against Ezra and seven other Americans acting as Axis broadcasters. All except Ezra had been transmitting from Berlin.     With Mussolini imprisoned and his fascist party dissolved, Marshal Pietro Badoglio, newly appointed as head of an Italian nonparty government, entered into peace negotiations with the Allies. On 8 September 1943 an armistice between Italy and the Western powers was announced. German forces still controlled two-thirds of Italy, however, including the industrial north, and Hitler's commandos succeeded in rescuing Mussolini from his Italian captors. By the end of September the Germans had installed the Duce as nominal head of a new fascist government, the Italian Social Republic, or Salo Republic, on the western shore of Lake Garda. Ezra went to Milan in late 1943 to offer his services to the new propaganda ministry, but the German-run bureaucracy was not to his liking and henceforth his activities were confined chiefly to sending scripts, short items, and slogans to be broadcast by others.     In the final year of the war, Ezra concentrated his energies on disseminating his economic ideas by means of pamphlets issued under the imprint of Casa Editrice delle Edizioni Popolari of Venice, a branch of the Ministry of Popular Culture. In particular, he hoped his Italian translations of Confucius might form part of the "education of the members of the administrative divisions," as he told Alessandro Pavolini, secretary of the fascist party. As early as 1928, Ezra had been recommending that "higher bureaucrats" be made to read Confucius. Now that an Axis defeat seemed inevitable, he was determined to spread the Confucian doctrine of personal, familial, and governmental order through the Italian hierarchy and educational system. If he had failed to persuade America and Britain to see the rightness of his views, at least he might help the Italians put their house in order.     By May 1944 the Germans had fortified the coastal defenses at Rapallo, and seafront residents were ordered to evacuate their homes. Ezra and his wife, Dorothy, left their apartment of twenty years in Via Marsala and moved in with Olga Rudge, Ezra's companion and mistress, who lived up the hill from Rapallo at Casa 60 in Sant'Ambrogio. The year during which the three dwelled together could not have been a happy one. Dorothy's English reserve and Olga's American impetuosity were not well suited, and each woman was possessive of Ezra in her own way. Dorothy said little of her year in Sant'Ambrogio, but she recorded one telling remark in September 1945 after moving in with Ezra's mother, Isabel, who lived on another hill of Rapallo. Noting that Isabel's octogenarian primness could be trying at times, Dorothy consoled herself with the reflection that "this life is a mild purgatorio compared to the HELL of No. 60."     By 1945 the Italian partisan liberation movement had grown in strength and numbers, and in late April one of its brigades captured Mussolini and several top-ranking fascists near Lake Como. Dorothy's diary for 29 April notes laconically: "giustiziati [executed] Mussolini Benito, Pavolini Alessandro, Mezzasoma, Starace, etc. ecc." By early May 1945, American troops had entered Rapallo and set up headquarters in one of the seafront hotels. On Wednesday, 2 May, Ezra walked down from Sant'Ambrogio and attempted to make some Americans understand that he wanted to be taken to the United States "to give information to the State Dept." No one seemed to understand who he was or what he wanted, so he returned to Sant'Ambrogio and resumed work on an English translation of the commentary of Mencius, one of the four Confucian classics. "At first I puzzled over having missed a cog somewhere" he told Donald Hall in 1960. "I expected to turn myself in and to be asked about what I learned. I did and I wasn't."     The next morning, Thursday, 3 May, while Olga was off shopping and Dorothy was paying her weekly visit to Isabel, two Italian partisans (partigiani) belonging to the Zoagli Group arrived at Casa 60 and ordered Ezra to come with them. "I was working on the Mencius when the Partigiani came to the front door with a tommy-gun," he later said (Letter 17). As he was led out, he slipped a copy of the Confucian text on which he was working and a small Chinese dictionary into his pocket. Descending the hill path with his captors, he stooped to pick up a eucalyptus seed and pocketed it as well, as he recalled in Canto 80: "one eucalyptus pip / from the salita that goes up from Rapallo" (lines 244-45).     He was taken to partisan headquarters in nearby Zoagli. Meanwhile, Olga returned to Sant'Ambrogio and learned that he had been captured. She dashed down the hill and found him in custody in Zoagli. Together they were taken to Chiavari, where the partisan command was located. "I was driven in to the courtyard at Chiavari," Ezra recalled in 1960. "They had been shooting them, and I thought I was finished then and there. Then finally a guy came in and said he was damned if he would hand me over to the Americans unless I wanted to be handed over to them." Ezra insisted on being taken to a U.S. command post, and the partigiani obliged by delivering him to the Allied Military Post at Lavagna. There was a black troop there commanded by white officers, and a colonel provided Ezra and Olga with sandwiches. At about 5:00 P.M. on 3 May they were driven to U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps headquarters in Genoa, arriving around 7:00 P.M. The CIC detachment of the Ninety-second Division had its offices on the sixth floor of 6 Via Fieschi, which it shared with a branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Italian carabinieri were posted as guards around the clock. GENOA Ezra and Olga were kept waiting all night without food or drink in the hall of CIC headquarters. The next day they were moved to another room, which was, according to Olga, "quite comfortable once we had discovered that the cushions of the armchairs & davenport could be used for covering--it was very cold in Genoa & no blankets or even towels. For food we had emergency ration boxes which we found excellent, & the carabinieri on guard heated water for us in tins so we could have bouillon & hot coffee for first time in years!" At about 2:00 P.M. on 4 May, Maj. Frank L. Amprim, the FBI special agent assigned to Ezra's case in Italy, arrived in Genoa from Rome and proceeded to the office of the CIC.     Amprim, a young attorney from Michigan who had been recruited by the FBI, had been on the trail of targeted Italian and Croatian fascists since Mussolini's fall from power in mid-1943. A secret memo from Amprim in Algiers to the Washington Bureau, dated 7 November 1943, shows that he was already investigating Ezra's connections with fascist officials at that date. By June 1944 he had gotten access to the files at Ente Italiano Audizioni Radiofoniche (EIAR), the radio division in Rome where Ezra recorded his broadcasts, and had collected substantial evidence and interviewed employees. In November 1944 he was in the process of unearthing Ezra's broadcast scripts from the files of the Ministry of Popular Culture.     On arriving at CIC headquarters, Amprim at once sought permission from the commanding officer there, Ramon Arrizabalaga, to question the prisoner. In the days that followed, Amprim and Arrizabalaga pooled their patience and ingenuity in interrogating him. A well-known photograph shows Arrizabalaga (not Amprim, as is often claimed) with notebook and pencil in hand, interviewing Ezra on a couch (see photo in the insert). On the morning of 5 May, Amprim formally began his questioning and continued for five hours, afterward cabling the Bureau: "EZRA POUND IN CUSTODY CIC, NINETY SECOND DIVISION, GENOA. ADMITS VOLUNTARY BROADCASTS FOR PAY. ADVISE DISPOSITION OF SUBJECT. AMPRIM AT GENOA." A related memo stated that Ezra had been assigned a room at the CIC with a comfortable sleeping couch and was being provided Army K rations, coffee and milk, and a means of heating his food.     Amprim had no sooner begun his questioning than Ezra asked if he would help him send a telegram to President Truman offering his services as a peace negotiator with the Japanese. Ezra explained that, as executor of the literary estate of the American Orientalist Ernest Fenollosa, he had the credentials and the knowledge to help the United States conclude a Confucian peace with Japan that would be acceptable to China as well. In addition to requesting the cable, Ezra wrote out the text of a final radio broadcast, which he titled "Ashes of Europe Calling," a somber variation on his customary opening, "Europe Calling." The script is essentially a plea to the victorious United States to show justice to the vanquished Axis nations. Ezra urges that Italy be placed under American management until it can elect a new government on the basis of fairness and honesty. He also hopes that Italy and Germany will not "lose benefit of economic advance." Fearing another Versailles treaty, he implores: "No peace not on justice--not crush germany--not leave hate." Amprim told Ezra that he could neither arrange for a broadcast nor dispatch any cables to Truman, and he carefully passed these texts on to Bureau headquarters in Washington (see Documents 3 and 4).     Amprim and Arrizabalaga labored for two days, 6 and 7 May, to extract a formal statement from their prisoner; at least two drafts were produced, then revised and amplified at Ezra's insistence. The resulting text, a six-page "Sworn Statement" (Document 6), is an extremely detailed account of his activities and motives between 1940 and 1945. Not satisfied that the essence of his ideas had been expressed, Ezra composed two additional statements and asked that these be appended: "Outline of Economic Bases of Historic Process" and "Further Points" (Document 7). These texts set forth his fundamental economic and Confucian rationales for broadcasting--"points I have been trying to make during the past 25 years, and which I rashly did NOT stop trying to make, when caught off sides, but in reach of a microphone." The hint of self-criticism continues: "I hope my errors will be considered in relation to the main picture." Mussolini's failure ("Poor old Benito err'd all right") is attributed to his not receiving Ezra's translation of Confucius in time to reform his government in accordance with ancient Chinese wisdom.     Ezra's acknowledgments of error stop short of confession, however: "I do not believe I have betrayed anyone whomsoever." The distinction he implies between error and guilt is crucial to an understanding of his ethical posture in the period following his capture, and it bears comparison with the famously elusive language of "error" and "vanity" in The Pisan Cantos , which he began drafting a few weeks later. For Ezra, error must be placed in the context of a life of ethical exertion, balanced by the prevailing rightness and the instinct to act; yet, so precarious are the fortunes of the just man that a single error might destroy the dream of a lifetime. The events of 1945 had forced a sense of enormous tragedy upon Ezra's customary zeal.     Olga Rudge remained at the CIC office while Ezra was being interrogated, and later remarked that her four days there were "among the happiest of my life." On 7 May, she was driven back to Sant'Ambrogio by two American officers, probably Amprim and Arrizabalaga. Dorothy jotted in her diary for 7 May: "Olga back 6.30 + 2 USAs." On the same day, Amprim handed Dorothy a note from Ezra authorizing a search of his papers (Letter 2), and proceeded to collect a large quantity of books, letters, and radio scripts. In his memo of 20 May to J. Edgar Hoover, Amprim noted that Dorothy "was very cooperative in finding incriminating evidence against her husband and did not seem to be in the least disturbed when the writer [Amprim] searched the premises at #60 Sant'Ambrogio." Over the next several months, Amprim made further visits to Sant'Ambrogio and Rapallo in quest of evidence.     "When in May 1945 I got back from C.I.C.," Olga wrote, "I found D. with her valises all packed for Baccin [a peasant who worked for Olga] to take down next morning--I said of course now stay as long as convenient--'Oh no I can't, the old ladies [ sic ] tenants left the end of the month & I can't leave her in the flat alone.'" With Ezra gone, Dorothy lost no time in escaping from Sant'Ambrogio and moving in with Ezra's aged mother, Isabel, at Villa Raggio on a hill above Rapallo. Dorothy's brief letters to Ezra during his detention in Genoa mainly concern practical matters and show that she was willing to travel to the United States to be near him, should he be transferred there. "I hope all the time that you are getting well fed!" she says in Letter 5.     In a draft letter to S. Eliot, dated 19 July 1945, Olga said of Ezra, "I saw him last in Genoa on May 7th. He was in a state of Confucian serenity." The CIC stay was indeed a happy, productive one for Ezra. He had a room with a couch, regular rations, the use of a typewriter, and attentive listeners to educate. Investigators or no, Amprim and Arrizabalaga were actually reading and responding to his ideas, something he had greatly missed during the war years. He grew so comfortable with his hosts at the CIC that on numerous occasions he gave the fascist salute as they entered the room. Amprim was to be trusted, he decided, because he had "expressed himself as convinced that I was telling him the absolute truth [and had] with great care collected far more proof to that effect than I or any private lawyer could have got at" (Letter 17). If the world would not attend to Ezra any other way, perhaps with Amprim's help he could get a hearing once enough evidence had piled up to make the soundness of his views irrefutable.     During his three weeks in Genoa, Ezra made considerable progress on his English translations of Confucius. A well-known photograph taken at the CIC (not at the Pisan detention camp, as captions usually assert) shows him sitting before a typewriter with one of his Confucian pamphlets spread open on the desk (see photo in insert). He spoke of this project as his "american version of Kung" (Letter 14) and declared the texts to have been "at the root of the DURABLE chinese dynasties[,] the ONLY basis on which a world order can work." Just as he had hoped to reform the Italian government by exposing its officials to Chinese wisdom, so he felt it his duty now to instruct Americans in the just uses of power. The economic revolution that he had believed the Axis leaders to be on the point of carrying through had migrated, with the Allied victory, to the United States and Britain. Now he must educate the world's new leaders, and he could point to the ashes of Europe as the final lesson of his own Confucian tuition: "I do not know that I would have gotten to the centre of [Confucius's] meaning if I had not been down under the collapse of a regime" (Letter 17).     Ezra was between tasks, trying to regain his balance and direction. He was tormented by the desire to be useful, whether as a member of the diplomatic peace mission to Japan or as a special envoy to the Soviet Union authorized to speak with Stalin in his native Georgian. In October 1945 he wrote Dorothy of his wish to be sent to Rome to help with "an Italo-american amity" (Letter 19). He could not believe that his knowledge of Europe and Italy and his research into the history of money and credit were not going to be made available to Truman, Hugh Dalton, and other leaders of postwar reconstruction. He saw England and America as beginning to turn to economic policies that he had been advocating for twenty years, and he felt painfully left out. "Work in the chaos," he wrote Dorothy, "that is the time to plant sprouts. NOW" (Letter 46).     Ezra's worldview was essentially a static one, a time lag of the mind. Circumstances might change, years elapse, but his stock themes and characters remained the same: villains of international finance, political buffoons and miscreants, and the small countervailing cenacle of serious characters and heroes. Now, under the strain of events, he more than ever dreamed of playing a world-historical role as the sane economist, the Confucian super ambassador. Such grandiosity alternated with admissions that he was utterly without information about current events. He complained often of his "ABSOLUTE ignorance" of America since 1940 and wondered if his broadcasts had done any good at all (Letter 17). He was plagued by doubts that his transmissions had even been heard. "I wonder if anyone listens?" was a question that worried him often during the war; now it returned to nag at him in moments of keen self-doubt.     For all the amenities of the CIC, there must have been an undertow of fear beneath Ezra's energetic mood. Ramon Arrizabalaga believed that Ezra was intensely afraid of falling into the hands of the partigiani and was grateful to be in protective custody at Genoa. News of accused traitors was appearing regularly in the Mediterranean edition of The Stars and Stripes in the spring and summer of 1945: "Traitor Pound Reported Captured Near Genoa" (7 May); "Quisling Appeals" (8 May); "Robert Ley Captured" (17 May); "Quisling on Stand, Poses as Lunatic to Save His Scalp" (28 May); "Lord Haw Haw Now Prisoner of British" (30 May); "Pound's Treason Trial to Be Held in America" (31 May); "The Trail of `Axis Sally' Grows Hot in North Italy" (5 June); "Laval, Busy on His Memoirs, Believed Fearing Lynch Mob" (11 June); "Petain's Trial Awaited, He'll Be His Own Counsel" (25 June); "Laval Surrenders to Yanks in Linz; En Route to French" (31 July); "Quisling Is Found Guilty of Treason; Gets Firing Squad" (11 September).     Amprim's memos to Bureau headquarters show that he and Arrizabalaga were increasingly anxious to learn what they were to do with their prisoner now that they had finished questioning him. On 21 May Amprim received a phone call from Counter Intelligence, telling him that Ezra would soon be placed "in a military stockade near Pisa," where the Department of Justice wanted him held "pending investigation of his case." Although Amprim felt that he had concluded the bulk of his investigation, authorities in the States insisted that he continue to develop witnesses because the U.S. Constitution requires the testimony of two witnesses to each overt act of treason. Since the only people who had actually seen Ezra record his broadcasts were Italian radio employees who spoke little or no English, Amprim's task was not going to be an easy one. Official memos stated that Ezra was to remain in Italy during the remainder of the investigation, so that he might be available for further interrogation.     On 22 May, orders were cabled to transfer him "without delay under guard to MTOUSA Disciplinary Training Center for confinement pending disposition instructions. Exercise utmost security measures to prevent escape or suicide. No press interviews authorized. Accord no preferential treatment" (Document 1). Arrizabalaga recalled that on 24 May the "5th Army Provost Marshal sent several Jeep loads of MP's to Genova to take him away. It was actually rather a sorry sight to see the big six foot MP's commanded by a Captain relieve Subject [Ezra] of his shoestrings, belt, necktie and clamp a huge pair of handcuffs to one of his wrists, the other end to an MP's wrist and take him away. We had treated him courteously and he couldn't understand it. He said to me, `I don't understand it.' I said, `Mr. Pound, you are no longer under my jurisdiction, and I can't help it.' He then said, `Do they know who I am?' I answered, `Yes they do.' They took him to Pisa" (Appendix 1). PISA At the U.S. Army Disciplinary Training Center (DTC) outside Pisa, a special cell had been prepared for Ezra. The wire mesh of one of the cages there--units known as "death cells," used for holding prisoners awaiting execution at Aversa near Naples--had been reinforced with "air-strip" steel. These exposed cages were situated inside several barriers of barbed wire. Ezra's was at the end of the row, next to the perimeter fence, with a view of the military road beyond the stockade. He arrived at the main gates of the DTC around 1500 hours. According to Robert L. Allen, one of the DTC medical staff, Ezra "thought that his visit would end as soon as a plane was readied at Pisa airfield." He still hoped that his knowledge would prove more important to the government than his supposed guilt.     Ezra was stripped of his civilian clothes, which he had been allowed to wear in Genoa, and issued army fatigues and laceless boots. Unlike other prisoners, he was not permitted to exercise outside his cage and was supplied a pile of blankets to arrange on the cement floor. A tin can served for a toilet. He was allowed to keep his volume of Confucius and the small Chinese dictionary, and was given a regular-issue Bible. One of the guards recalled: "Pound's volume of Confucius was by his side continually, and the prisoner read for hours, or simply sat and combed his ragged beard, watching the Pisa road where passers-by and an occasional white ox were visible." Orders required that he be kept under constant observation; bright lights were trained on his cell at night. He later alluded to the "Gorilla Cage," convinced that he had been put on display for the merriment of all.     Julien Cornell, Ezra's attorney, described the cage experience after interviewing his client in November 1945: "He knew not whether he would rot away in this cage or be taken out and hanged as a traitor. But far worse than these was the thought that his wife and daughter would never know his fate, and would dream, until they reached their own graves, of the agony interred in his. Not far away were the pens in which long term offenders were confined, but all other prisoners were forbidden to speak to Pound, and could not come near him. [...] After enduring the tropical sun all day, neither sleep nor rest came with the night--electric lights glared into the poet's cage and burned into his bloodshot eyes." In a DTC mug shot taken on 26 May after he had spent two nights in the cage, Ezra stares into the camera with taut impatience, as if expecting someone to explain the error of this treatment. His eyes already appear to be inflamed by dust and glare (see photo in insert).     The Mediterranean Theater's Disciplinary Training Center held U.S. soldiers who had been convicted of crimes. Yank: The Army Weekly for 11 November 1945 described the camp as holding thirty-six hundred prisoners on "the dusty, one-half-mile-square tract, three miles north of Pisa." Trainees, as the prisoners were called, had a last chance to dean up their records and return to honorable status in the Army and then to civilian life. All the prisoners have been court-martialed, dishonorably discharged and sentenced to from five years to life imprisonment Now they have an opportunity to work out their full sentences by enduring one year of training 14 hours a day, one year of terrible discipline, unbroken regimentation, monotony and constant chewing. Every Saturday, about 150 men make it and "graduate" as full-fledged privates in the Army once more.     Organized at Casablanca in 1943, the MTOUSA center moved to Pisa last Christmas Eve, when the front lines were only 12 miles away. The cadre of 74 officers and 514 EM [enlisted men], under the command of Lt. Col. John L. Steele of St. Johnsbury, Vt., are mostly combat veterans and have been specially trained. The toughest top kick in a regular outfit would blanch at the sternness of a corporal on the DTC staff. The greatest single cause of confinement in the DTC is going AWOL, which has been the undoing of 22 percent of the inmates. Desertion has put 15 percent there; misbehavior before the enemy, murder, rape, larceny and other felonies, 7 percent and disobedience, 5 percent. Officers, of whom there are now three confined in the center, stay confined there pending review of their court-martial decision. They are segregated from the EM, live in pyramidal rather than pup tents, and do not perform work details, but they do not get the courtesy usually shown commissioned officers.     Lieutenant Colonel Steele described the DTC in an undated letter to his family: "I think the army has sunk at least a million dollars into this place, and we don't have any luxuries to speak of either. Our buildings are made of light wood frames with chicken-wire and tar paper for roofs and walls, and the stockade is simply a big barbed wire fence. The prisoners live in pup tents and we live in larger ones. Even so there are countless things that go into a camp like this that one would not ordinarily think of, such as the sewage system, extensive road networks, electric power plant, etc."     After several days of scorching sun and nights of chill air, Ezra was allowed to have a pup tent in his cage, which "quite ingeniously, he pitched in several different ways." With unlimited opportunity to contemplate the natural scene before him, he named one peak of the Carrara mountains "Mount Taishan." after a sacred Chinese mountain, and two other hills the "Breasts of Helen." He told Allen that he spent "hours watching wasps construct a nest and of his fascination with the work of an ant colony." "His daily exercises caused quite a stir. He would engage in imaginary tennis matches, making graceful, looping forehands and backhands. He assumed fencing stances and danced nimbly about the cage, shadow boxing." Yet the camp itself frightened him; the guard towers around its perimeter came to seem, as he put it in The Pisan Cantos , "4 giants at the 4 corners." The long line of fence posts resembled "10,000 gibbet-iform posts supporting barbed wire," and prisoners went through their routines "with the shadow of the gibbets attendant." The menace of this prefab hell was intensified by its isolation: "beyond the stockade there is chaos and nothingness."     In mid-June, after complaining to the guards of giddiness and claustrophobia, Ezra received a medical examination. He had been in the cage for three weeks. Two psychiatrists were detailed to study him. Captain Richard W. Finner's 14 June report mentions a "spell" that Ezra had "about a week ago" while sitting in the sun, accompanied by "great difficulty in collecting his thoughts." He was also experiencing "difficulty in concentration" and "easy fatiguability." He had become "afraid of the door and the lock of his enclosure" and worried that he would "forget some messages which he wishes eventually to tell others." The next day Captain Walter H. Baer, the other psychiatrist, warned that, "[d]ue to his age and loss of personality resilience, prolonged exposure in present environment may precipitate a mental breakdown, of which premonitory symptoms are discernible. Early transfer to the United States or to an institution in this theatre with more adequate facilities for care is recommended." An FBI memo of 26 June 1945 from Hoover to Assistant Attorney General Tom Clark echoed Baer's conclusions and added that Major Amprim was recommending Ezra's return to the States "without delay."     The physical strain of confinement must have been the chief cause of Ezra's collapse, along with the prohibition on exercise. At sixty, he was still in the habit of playing tennis or swimming almost daily. Another factor was present, however. Throughout his life Ezra had tended to become excited and irritable whenever he was deprived of means of communication with others, a pattern that may be discerned in his impulsive moves from London and Paris in the 1920s after he had grown impatient with the intellectual life of those cities. It also lay behind the frenzy of his radio talks, which he often said were a strategy for reestablishing contact with colleagues in England and America once the war had severed other forms of communication. Ezra's reaction to incarceration at Pisa and Washington had considerably to do with panic and frustration at being silenced and prevented from assisting in events unfolding in the postwar period.     As a result of the psychiatrists' reports, he was transferred to the medical area and given a pyramidal (eight-man) tent of the type assigned to officer prisoners. "During the first week or so in the Medical Compound he kept to himself in his tent," Allen recalled. "He soon stripped off his Army fatigue clothes and spent the warm summer days comfortably attired only in Army olive drab underwear, a fatigue cap, G.I. shoes and socks. He found an old broom handle that became a tennis racquet, a billiard cue, a rapier, a baseball bat to hit small stones and a stick which he swung out smartly to match his long stride. His constitutionals wore a circular path in the compound grass." Some of the most moving lines in The Pisan Cantos describe Ezra's experiences in his tent: "Only shadows enter my tent / as men pass between me and the sunset." "[I]n the drenched tent there is quiet / sered eyes are at rest."     At the time of Ezra's arrival at the camp in May, Lieutenant Colonel Steele was on compassionate leave for a family illness in the States. He returned on 13 June, about the time that Ezra was moved to the medical compound. Steele soon went to inspect his prisoner, who talked at him for two or three hours before he could get an answer to his simple question about additional blankets. Steele recalled that Ezra wanted to discuss only "economics, and the fact that he needed to go straighten out Truman. He thought that this could be done if he could get to Washington. [...] He was very animated, and the piercing eyes were just fascinating." After the initial mistake of putting him in the cage, Steele thought, "it worked out pretty well.... We did what we could [though] he would still be confined."     Ezra's life in the medical compound began to assume the regularity that he had always needed to be happy and busy. Every evening he reported on sick call to the medical hut to be given footbaths or eyedrops. The medical staff consisted of "four MDs, one dentist, and two clinical psychologists, who performed their duties in prefabricated structures built of plywood, with electrical power supplied by generators." Ezra lectured the staff at the DTC just as he had his interrogators at the CIC, a sign that his energies were returning. He ranted about "the `dunghill usurers' and `usuring cutthroats.' Among others, he damned Mussolini ('the crude peasant'), Hitler, FDR, Churchill, and Henry Morgenthau." On 20 August, Steele wrote his mother about Ezra's eccentricity, colorful language, and fixed opinions, and said that he might "stop by for a chat with the old boy" that evening.     Ezra was once again getting work done, a joyous resumption of the creative burst of Genoa. A kindly soldier, "Mr Edwards," provided him with a "table ex packing box" for his tent, and he discovered a copy of The Pocket Book of Verse "on the jo-house seat." He had got hold of a pencil and cheap paper, and was at work setting down new cantos, scrawling hastily in defiance of the paper's ruled lines. "Throughout the summer of 1945 Pound was in excellent spirits," noted Allen. "He was granted permission to use the dispensary typewriter in the evening. [...] After taps when all trainees were in the tents, Pound worked on his Cantos and Chinese translations. The constant clanging and banging of the typewriter, which he punched angrily with his index fingers, were always accompanied by a high-pitched humming sound he made as the carriage raced the bell. He swore well and profusely over typing errors."     Meanwhile, the treason investigation was dragging on. An FBI memo to Amprim dated 25 June 1945 reveals impatience on the part of the authorities in the States: "Discontinue all General Investigation in case and concentrate on development of two witnesses to same overt act. For example, two or more persons who saw Pound make a particular recording on a particular day." As of 7 September, Amprim still had not found two witnesses to Ezra's acts of recording his broadcasts. On 21 September the FBI cabled Amprim that the prisoner could not be returned to the United States until witnesses were developed. Earlier in the summer, Brig. Gen. John M. Weir of the War Crimes Office had noted that a Justice official felt "it would be unfortunate to bring Pound back to the United States and then find that he would be needed in Italy for the effective building up of the case."     During these months Dorothy became increasingly worried, for the authorities refused to tell her where her husband was being held. She wrote Ronald Duncan on 15 July 1945 that she had had a brief note from Ezra in late May (Letter 6). "Since when we have had nothing whatever. I do not know whether he is dead or alive--We have written to consuls etc. etc: no go." John Drummond, an English friend of Ezra's who was a lance corporal at HQ Allied Commission in Rome, was a steady source of strength and information to Dorothy and Olga Rudge in this period. Drummond played a particularly valuable role as intermediary between the two women and their interests in Ezra. The tensions between Dorothy and Olga made this a difficult office at times.     At last, on 24 August, Col. Walter A. Hardie, provost marshal general of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, wrote Dorothy to inform her of Ezra's confinement at the DTC and to instruct her about regulations for visiting. "He is enjoying a good state of health," he added (Document 8). On 18 September, Lt. Col. Ralph A. Tolve, provost marshal, wrote to tell her that she was permitted to correspond with her husband, "subject to usual censorship in effect." "Oh Mao! Glory be!" she wrote Ezra. "I have burnt incense to Apollo several times for help" (Letter II). Around the same time, an official routing slip, signed by Lieutenant Colonel Steele, was issued to Ezra, indicating that he could now correspond with his wife and receive visits from her (Document 10). In Canto 76, composed earlier that summer. Ezra had grumbled, "O white-chested martin, God damn it, / as no one else will carry a message" (lines 233-34). Now he could depend on messages being carried in the normal way.     His first three letters (Letters 7-9), written between 20 and 23 September, are filled with excited requests and instructions. He is understandably eager for "news of everything" and wants Dorothy to tell various friends to write him. In Letter 9 he enclosed a typed copy of Canto 81, the first of several extracts from the new cantos that he passed on to her. Probably the best known of The Pisan Cantos , Canto 81 records a visionary moment that Ezra experienced in the camp when "there came new subtlety of eyes into my tent." The canto also contains the moving "libretto" with its defiant affirmation: "What thou lovest well remains, / the rest is dross" (lines 120, 136-37). Ezra had chosen one of the most lucid and dramatic sections of the new work to pass on to Dorothy, as if to convey in five typed pages the essence of his predicament since May. With amusing understatement he observed that the enclosure was "more human than a dull letter--& in parts mild enough to suit mother" (Letter 9). Dorothy quickly perceived what many critics since have remarked, that these cantos are "the memories that make up yr. person" (Letter 23).     As Ezra's "Note to Base Censor" (Letter 47) explained, The Pisan Cantos are a "narrative," the flow of the poet's mind about the heaped wreckage of its dreams. It is a narrative more carefully wrought than is usually supposed. From his tent in the medical compound, the poet lets his memory range over a vast temporal landscape, often back to London in the period before World War I, or what Ezra calls "the sanity of 1912" before the world was given over to wars (Letter 19). Brief references to his three weeks in the cage are all cast neatly in the past tense, jagged stones set in the river's flow. The narrative faithfully traces the metamorphosis of memory and reflection, with events in the camp occasionally impinging and the observed natural world adding the dignity of slow beauty and rhythmic change. While the poem tells the story of Ezra's mind under the collapse of its ideals, he himself is strangely without identity, an Odysseus whose makeshift raft has broken up in the whirlpool of events: "A man on whom the sun has gone down." Months of being held incommunicado had made him feel lost to his loved ones and to the world. "[N]ow there are no more days / [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," declares no-man Odysseus in Canto 80 (lines 212-13).     The Pisan Cantos show the poet alternating between savage indignation and suave serenity. There is a restless darting from stern didacticism to sudden lyric to humorous observation, and back. Thoughts of usury lead to a memory of the "death cells," as if by suppressed syllogism Ezra were laying the blame for his treatment at the door of the Rothschilds. Abrupt juxtapositions of values continually startle the reader. Erotic vision gives way to political anger, which in turn yields to the consolations of nature or the trivialities of camp life. Ezra's letters to Dorothy from the DTC show similar patterns of thought. One particularly bustling, manic letter contains instructions concerning economic reform to be passed on to various people: friends are to be told to assist Hugh Dalton, the new chancellor of the exchequer in Britain, by promoting Social Credit policies. In the midst of these urgings Ezra suddenly breaks off to notice a "[n]ew set of odd noises traced to kat climbin' tent flaps," and then resumes: "Only true democracy is Douglasite, per capita, way out of huge formation of monopolies etc" (Letter 46).The noisy visitor was probably "Ladro the night cat," the DTC feline that steals in and out of the pages of The Pisan Cantos with equally little warning.     Ezra wrote Dorothy on 8 October to say that he had "received her first letter this a.m." He also noted that he had done "10 Cantos" (Letter 19). Cantos 74 to 83 represented the Pisan achievement up to that point. Had the sequence halted there, it would have been a very different poem from the one we know. When Ezra read in Dorothy's letter that J. P. Angold, a young English poet whom he admired, had been killed, he was painfully reminded of talented friends who had died in World War I. The lament that opens Canto 84--"8th October: Si tuit li dolh elh plor / Angold [GREEK TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]"--is Ezra's immediate, visceral response to what he had learned. In the draft version of Canto 84, the lines about Angold replace some rather mawkish and tentative verses about Ezra's own imagined death, as if the fiction of a poet's demise, no matter how plausible in the circumstances, had no place beside the reality of war's wastage.     Once Dorothy's letters began arriving at the DTC, they left their mark on the poem in progress--a convergence that makes the most human of The Cantos more human still Canto 84, the last of the sequence, contains several phrases plucked from Dorothy's description, in her 5 October letter, of snow atop the Carrara mountains, which she saw while returning from her first visit to the DTC (see Letter 18n). She had finally managed to reach the camp on 3 October, despite difficulties of transport. "I have seen Ez. for a long hour," she wrote Olga afterward. "An awful journey--but he looks really wonderfully well--in Khaki--with plenty of woollen underneath & huge army boots. [...] Food good--his weigh[t] normal once more. His nerves I thought not bad at all. Latterly has been working on Confucius & done some more Cantos. The two officers I met (present at interview) both very nice. He has a tent, with view of mountains & `a mappin terrace' for fresh air." Ezra's reference to "a mappin terrace" was the kind of telegraphic quip that two people who had lived in London before World War I might share. In 1912, Mappin & Webb, the well-known silver and jewelry company, made a handsome donation to the London Zoo for the creation of great stone terraces for the resident bears to roam upon. In The Pisan Cantos Ezra imagines himself as a caged panther, but in his conversation with Dorothy he chose a different animal from their shared bestiary.     Ezra wrote Dorothy after the visit that he was "grateful for her heroick voyage" (Letter 16) and obliquely commemorated it in Canto 84: "and as who passed the gorges between sheer cliffs" (line 47). In Letters 18 and 41 she describes her "fantastic journey back"--from Pisa to Viareggio in a car provided by the DTC, thence to Massa on foot and via motorbus in the company of an elderly doctor, by post office van to La Spezia where she rested and ate sandwiches given her at the DTC, from La Spezia to Sestri in a train, and by motorbus into Rapallo. Years later she recalled "all the saga of my two trips to the camp, one in a strange car, the other [on 11 November] in a camion with a New Zealand football team ... with sandwiches, my first meat for weeks--and how I walked several miles to get home after seeing E.P., with an unknown doctor who took me to his home at Massa Carrara for the night--his antique house devastated by troops--his wife and son so kind--cold soup and hot milk was all the food they had ... Why and how one survives! Poor E.P."     The letters in this volume reveal the important role that Dorothy played in the long months of Ezra's initial incarcerations--a prelude to the years she would spend by his side in Washington, D.C. She knew instinctively that confinement would make him crave news of the outside world and took pains to write letters that would reassure him that the ordinary life of Rapallo continued, that friends in England and America were thinking of him, and that she herself was quietly but determinedly getting her affairs and his in order. The compassionate practicality of her letters contrasts sharply with the scattered intensity of his own; placed side by side, these letters reveal much about the profound compatibility of two very different people who had known each other since 1909. Dorothy's prudence and calm resolve emerge as a steadying influence on Ezra in this turbulent period of uncertainty.     Although always supportive, Dorothy was not passive, and she made clear her opposition to Ezra's idea of defending himself at the expected trial. He doubted that any attorney would have the background necessary to plead his case: "I favour a defender who has written a life of J. Adams and translated Confucius. Otherwise how CAN he know what it is about?" (Letter 37). John Drummond, T. S. Eliot, and other friends agreed with Dorothy on the matter of legal counsel. Drummond wrote Ezra: "When there is someone out for your blood (as the prosecutor will be--quite irrespective of the fundamental rights or wrongs of your case), and using the law as his weapon, you must have someone able to use the same weapon in your defence. It's not as if you were challenged to a duel and could choose your weapons." If Ezra regarded the impending legal proceedings as a kind of duel of honor, Olga Rudge saw them in terms of a potentially successful radio talk. When she was interviewed in the early 1980s, she was still expressing disappointment that he had not been allowed to conduct his own defense: "he spoke beautifully and he had a chance of getting off!" Fortunately, Ezra never did get the chance to appear pro se , partly as a result of Dorothy's diligent correspondence with James Laughlin, A. V. Moore, and others who were working to secure proper legal counsel.     By the middle of October, Ezra was beginning to show a restless irritability with his situation. Robert L. Allen noticed that he was depressed in this period: "with no indication of when the occupation of Italy would be terminated, he almost despaired of ever leaving Pisa." His letters contain various hints of impatience, as when he tells Dorothy in Letter 29 that "the time has now come when it wd/ be suitable for you to write to Unkle George, The Hon. G.H.T. [Congressman George Holden Tinkham]," or when he tries in Letter 32 to convince the DTC commandant to release him to Rapallo on parole, an idea he had mentioned to Dorothy when she visited the camp. More than ever he wanted to play a part in the current political scene. "I could be of use NOW in reconstruct[ion]," he tells Dorothy in Letter 44. "In view of the situation in China and Japan," he informs the DTC commandant, "it seems to me that the bottling of my knowledge now amounts to suppression of military information" (Letter 42). A visit from his daughter, Mary Rudge, in the company of Olga on 17 October provided some distraction in this period of anxious waiting.     On 6 November, Attorney General Tom Clark announced at a press conference that five technicians from Rome Radio who had been identified by the FBI as witnesses to Ezra's broadcasts were being flown to the United States to testify. At first Ezra joked about the report and said that no one had seen him broadcast. The technicians "were obviously impostors `just making the flight to get some decent food.'" But Allen noticed that Ezra's "tone of conversation changed and occasionally he spoke of himself in the past tense. Several times he said, `If I go down, someone must carry on.'" He continued to add to his growing cantos, but some of the new lines had a brittle, nervous quality not present in the earlier parts. Certain passages, later cut from the poem, brooded on the sacrifice of young artists to war, such as the musician Rudolph Dolmetsch, of whose death Ezra learned during Dorothy's second visit to the DTC on 11 November.     "One evening after taps in the middle of November, Pound was sitting in the dispensary reading Joseph E. Davies' Mission to Moscow . The Charge of Quarters sat at the desk next to him. From time to time Pound commented on the book. Suddenly the door opened and two young lieutenants entered. They told Pound that he would be flown to Washington in one hour and to get his personal effects together. They turned and left. Pound handed the book to the C.Q. He asked him to thank all the medical personnel for their kindness. He then walked to the door of the prefab, turned and, with a half-smile, put both hands around his neck to form a noose and jerked up his chin." This was 16 November. A letter to Dorothy that Ezra had begun typing two days earlier breaks off with a sudden pencil scrawl: "Leaving probably Rome. love E" (Letter 50).     Homer Somers, a young officer at the DTC, was sorry to see him go. Many years later he recalled that the poet "sadly removed his fatigues and put on the clothes he arrived in. All the time everyone was kidding and joking with him. I believe at that time he was apprehensive of the future and could only think of the solitude, friendliness and productiveness of the latter part of his stay at the DTC" According to Lt. Col. P. V. Holder's record, Ezra left the DTC in a military jeep in "cold raw" weather at 2030 hours and arrived at Ciampino airport near Rome at 0445 on 17 November (Document 13). He was held in the guardhouse there for a few hours. At 0830, a plane carrying him and the escorting officers left the airport. Ezra had never flown before. WASHINGTON, D.C. Ezra's plane landed at Bolling Field, an airstrip on the bank of the Potomac, late on the evening of 18 November 1945. Two plainclothes U.S. marshals took him to an office where he was told his rights before being locked up in the District of Columbia Jail. The next day he was brought before Bolitha J. Laws, chief justice of the District of Columbia District Court, for a preliminary arraignment. Ezra explained that his purpose in broadcasting was "to keep all hell from breaking loose in the world" and asked to be allowed to act as his own counsel. Judge Laws denied the request, saying that the charge was too serious, and overruled Ezra's suggestion that "the court go on asking me questions until it gets what I mean." Afterward, Ezra told reporters that he wanted to learn Georgian, Stalin's native tongue, so that he could confer with the Soviet premier and find out "what's in the back of his mind" (Document 14n). Ezra had not yet given up hope of dispensing Confucian wisdom to world leaders, or, failing that, arguing his case eloquently to a Washington jury. Newspapers quoted him as denying that he had ever supported Mussolini, that "puffed up bubble," or that he had betrayed his country in any way. "If that damn fool idea is still in anybody's head, I want to wipe it out."     Ida and Adah Lee Mapel, elderly friends of Ezra's who lived in Washington, visited him at the District Jail on 20 November and found him "a bit nervous." Julien Cornell, the young Quaker civil liberties lawyer who had agreed to defend him, saw him for two hours the same day and later wrote James Laughlin: "He is very wobbly in his mind and while his talk is entirely rational, he flits from one idea to another and is unable to concentrate even to the extent of answering a single question without immediately wandering off the subject." He added that he had "discussed with him the possibility of pleading insanity as a defense and he has no objection. In fact he told me that the idea had already occurred to him." Cornell would later argue that Ezra was too shaken mentally by his long incarceration to be able to stand trial.     On 20 November, Ezra wrote his first letter to Dorothy from Washington, describing his plane trip and praising the "marvel of Bermuda" at sunset (Letter 51). His enthusiasm for this vista carried over into verses that he scribbled on the back of a letter in his jail cell. One of the lines pays homage to Baron Shigeru Honjo, a high-ranking Japanese army official and adviser, who, according to newspaper reports, had committed hara-kiri in Tokyo one day after his arrest was ordered by the Allies (see Letter 51n). Ezra's own sense of being a trapped quarry must have been keen during these first days in Washington.     Dorothy learned that Ezra had been flown to the States from her son, Omar, who arrived in Rapallo on 20 November. A private in the U.S. Army of Occupation in Germany, Omar had been told the news at the DTC, where he had gone in the hope of seeing Ezra. On 21 November Dorothy wrote A. V. Moore that "Omar stopped at the camp on his way up from Livorno--but E. P. had gone away two days before." Neither the army nor the U.S. government had bothered to inform her of what was happening to her husband, and in the weeks that followed she continued to be uncertain about his precise whereabouts in Washington. At the DTC Omar was handed several letters that Ezra had not been able to post before he was taken away; these the young private brought with him to Rapallo.     On 24 November, there was a jailbreak at the District Jail during which five inmates escaped from a window in the recreation hall. As a consequence, prisoners were confined to their cells and forbidden exercise. Ezra's mental state suffered from the increased rigor, just as it had during his initial confinement at the DTC. He told Charles Olson that the "jail at first was all right ... and I wasn't bothered by claustrophobia. But then that break, and they put us in the cells." Ezra wrote Ronald Duncan on 25 November: "All this is marvelous xperience if it dont break me and if the lesion of May cured (I thinks) in Sept. dont bust open under the renewed fatigues." That evening he was moved to a bed in the jail infirmary.     The following day, 26 November, the attorney general announced that a fresh indictment charged Ezra with nineteen overt acts of treasonous broadcasting between 11 September 1942 and 15 May 1943. The next afternoon he was formally arraigned, again before Judge Laws. As instructed by Julien Cornell, he remained mute as Cornell told the court that he lacked sufficient judgment to make any plea and asked that a plea of "not guilty" be entered for him. Cornell further requested that his client be released from the District Jail because he was suffering from claustrophobia and might lose his sanity. Judge Laws ordered that he be transferred to Gallinger Hospital in Washington for examination and observation. The order was carried out on 4 December, and a few days later Ezra wrote Dorothy from Gallinger that he was "[h]aving a rest cure" (Letter 58).     Dorothy, meanwhile, was getting to know Omar, whom she had not seen since 1939. During his ten days in Rapallo, he impressed his mother with his interests in music and psychology, his affable ease with new acquaintances, and, most of all, his earnest desire to help her and Ezra in any way he could. As an army private stationed in Bremen, he had limited means, but he sent Dorothy money when he could and wrote to her regularly. From the time of his visit, Dorothy began to toy with the idea of settling down somewhere with Omar and Ezra, as she hinted in late December: "Omar too wants a home" (Letter 67). In March she returned to the subject: "I'd like to make a home for the two of you--somewhere--Japan?" (Letter 106). "I wish to goodness," she wrote in April, "we could all be in Wash: wasting the latter years of our, anyway, lives in this fashion" (Letter 131). The war had modified Dorothy's attitudes toward domesticity; separation from her husband and her son had made expatriate freedom seem less appealing than ordinary stability.     At Gallinger Hospital, Ezra was examined by four psychiatrists, three of whom were appointed by the government and one by his defense. Dr. Joseph L. Gilbert noted that, although Ezra "remained in bed practically all of the time," he would "move quickly about from the bed to a table nearby to get some paper, book or manuscript," then "as suddenly throw himself on the bed and again assume the reclining position." Dr. Wendell Muncie felt that Ezra was distractible, grandiose, and paranoid. "If you touch on his case and hospitalization," he later testified, "Confucius and these other things seemed to get roped in." Ezra told Dr. Marion King that he was suffering from a "queer sensation in the head as though the upper third of the brain were missing and a fluid level existed at the top of what remained." This account resembles the condition that he had complained of to the DTC psychiatrists and described to Ronald Duncan as "the lesion of May." The four doctors concluded that he was insane and unfit to stand trial. They submitted their unanimous report to Judge Laws, who on 21 December ordered Ezra's transfer to St. Elizabeths Hospital for the Insane, a federal institution, pending a jury hearing on his sanity.     Dorothy was greatly upset by reports of Ezra's condition and confessed to Omar that she had received a "jolt" from Julien Cornell's description of him at the District Jail (Letter 59). She told A.V. Moore that she detected signs of his "sufferings" in the batch of canto extracts that had arrived a few days before. Her worry made her all the more determined to join him in Washington: "I am quite intent on getting over to be with you," she wrote. "Its just silly, my living this life, & so dam [ sic ] far away from you. I must see you & be near you , & you can say so, please, to anybody." She refused to "lug" Ezra's mother along, however; she had enough to manage as it was without being responsible for Isabel, who was well into her eighties, frail, and difficult (Letter 62). She made arrangements for Isabel's accommodation and care with friends in Rapallo.     Ezra was admitted at St. Elizabeths on 21 December 1945 as Case Number 58,102. "Whom God would destroy, he first sends to the bug house," he had once declared over the radio. He was placed in Howard Hall, a separate penal building--or "forensic pavillion," as it was called--reserved for patients who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity or who had been deemed mentally incompetent and unfit to stand trial. Ezra was a "U.S. prisoner" in the second category, to be brought to trial as soon as he regained his competency. A grim structure surrounded by a dry moat and a high wall, Howard Hall housed its patients in small cells with heavy iron doors. Ezra dubbed it the "hell hole" and the "snake pit." The building has since been pulled down, and a softball field has been laid out in its stead.     Locked in a solitary cell and not allowed to exercise in the walled compound like other inmates, Ezra began to feel a return of the claustrophobia that had threatened in the District Jail. Psychiatrists' reports from his first months at St. Elizabeths suggest that he was a manageable patient but demanded "extra attention" and special privileges: newspapers, a pint of milk every other day, ice cream at intervals, tub baths. He made the acquaintance of other patients but engaged in only brief conversation with them. When he was denied permission to roam beyond the wall surrounding Howard Hall, he protested that he could not see the "logic" in his incarceration.     To doctors he complained that "[t]hey won't believe me when I tell them the main spring is busted." On 22 December Dr. Edgar Griffin, the admitting psychiatrist, wrote: "He expressed what might be interpreted as delusions of persecution and grandeur. Asked how he accounted for his extreme fatigue, Pound replied in rage and exasperation, `all of Europe is on my shoulders.'" At the diagnostic admissions conference a few days later, none of the psychiatrists who had examined him felt that he was psychotic.     On 28 December the faithful Ida Mapel visited Ezra again and wrote Dorothy the next day that he "looks better and is much less nervous, than when I saw him the first time. [...] His attendants all speak with pleasure of him, they all seem to do everything he wishes" (Letter 84n). But in a letter to his daughter, Mary, written "vers le noel," Ezra recalled the grim prophecy of Tiresias from Canto 47: "first must thou go the road to hell & to the bower of Circe's daughter Proserpine." He was still, as at the DTC, conceiving of himself as a lost Odysseus or a Villon condemned to the gallows. In reality, the law was already beginning to forget him. On 27 December Hoover issued a memo to the FBI Communications Section: "DEPARTMENT HAS AUTHORIZED DISCONTINUANCE OF INVESTIGATION PENDING FURTHER COURT ACTION AS TO POUND'S SANITY. YOU WILL BE ADVISED IF INVESTIGATION DESIRED AT LATER DATE."     Ezra's letters to Dorothy from late December through February are mostly scraps written in a frail, methodically controlled pencil, suggesting that a breakdown had occurred around that time. He came to rely on the poet Charles Olson's visits: "Olson gt comfort," he wrote. "Hope they will let him come back. only solid" (Letter 71). On 4 January 1946 Olson had made the first of several visits to Howard Hall. He had attended Ezra's formal arraignment back in November and thought him then "older and weaker" than he had expected. Now Olson was struck by Ezra's "eagerness and vigor as he came swiftly forward into the waiting room." Yet he also noticed his unsteadiness and the fact that "he can't seem to put down more than one or two sentences." Once again, Ezra mentioned his desire to learn Georgian in order to talk with Stalin. Olson's intelligent conversation and sympathetic listening seemed to rescue him from the brink of collapse; after Olson left, Ezra sagged again. In several of his letters to Dorothy, Ezra weakly urges "patience," as if counseling himself as much as her. "Please everybody write a LOT to me & not expect answers," he implores in Letter 73. It was not until April that his letters began to get longer and more vigorous.     When Olson arrived for a third visit on 24 January, Ezra rallied again from fatigue induced by psychiatric questioning. Olson said of the visit that "the only word is gay. Right from the start it was wild and strong. [...] He remains on the creative side of him, whole, and as charming and open and warm a human being as I know. Despite all the corruption of his body politic." Ezra told him how much he was enjoying the visits of an old friend from Philadelphia days, Katharine Proctor Saint, who was dedicating herself, rather incongruously, to converting him to faith in Christianity. She had even written J. Edgar Hoover to inquire about having a large-print Bible sent to Ezra. Far from resenting her zeal, Ezra was delighted to see her again and told Olson that her visits "restored" him. In Olson and Saint he found a way to order his thoughts about an America he was forced to study from inside a cell: the young writer symbolized the intellectual potential of a new, unfamiliar country; the elderly proselytizer was a reminder of his preexilic home. The unlikely pair became his chief sustainers in this period.     Ezra was capable of only passive exertions in these first months in Washington and repeatedly told Dorothy, Olga Rudge, and other correspondents that he could not perform strenuous mental tasks such as judging or analyzing. He lost himself in novels, happy to give his mind over to the welcome tug of narrative. He especially admired Ford Madox Ford's World War I tetralogy, Parade's End , and began to speak of a nagging sense of having let Ford down (Letter 86n). Olson saw that he was "bothered by a sense of guilt" concerning his old friend who had died in 1939, either for "not having fought for him as a writer or for having attacked him, though he insisted--`no backbiting.'" Arnold Bennett was Ezra's other regret now that his mind was retrospecting freely in captivity; it was as if he was resuming the roll of the dead so poignantly begun in The Pisan Cantos . Bennett's novels were a revelation, he said, "as good as the french--my damn snobbery deprived me of knowin it in 1910." "I go on livin' apologies," he wrote Olga, "1st to Fordie for incomplete recognition [...] & now to Bennett whom @ 25 I deeespised fer his etc." Just as at the DTC after his first breakdown, Ezra's mind was skipping back to the London of 1910, as if stability lay only in that world of congenial ghosts.     On 27 January he wrote Julien Cornell from the "Dungeon": "mental torture, constitution a religion. a world lost. grey mist barrier impassible ignorance absolute anonyme" (Letter 83). Part of his panic stemmed from the fact that postwar conditions had made transatlantic mail sluggish, and he had not had a letter from Dorothy since November. "[I]t is long long long," he wrote her on the same day (Letter 82). He was greatly relieved when her letters began arriving at the end of January and he could expect regular news and gossip from Italy. Dorothy quickly intuited his need for a steady diet of the unspectacular. At the DTC he had been able to study nature as a way of persuading himself that the eternal ordinary persisted despite the madness raging through man's world. During the first months of St. Elizabeths, however, there was no green katydid to offer lessons in sanity, no infant wasp to show that nature's courses ran undisturbed, no sunset to chide the vanity of man-made beauty. Now Ezra lay in Hades' bosom; Tiresias's prophecy of a sorrowful journey and the loss of all companions was proving all too accurate in the poet's case.     Ezra objected when Olga Rudge sent letters airmail, telling her he did not want accelerated communiques but rather an unbroken flow of chatter from Italy to his cell at Howard Hall. "[A]ir mail hardly does more than change order in series of letters," he explained. "Time bein' non-exist--it aint so much gettin news air-mail quick as gettin' some every so often." Olga's impulsive nature made her want to hasten contact. Now that Dorothy was making progress in her efforts to join Ezra, Olga felt she must look to her interests and exact assurances regarding her place in Ezra's life. His letters attempting to allay her fears show great agitation and must have cost him dearly in this period when his energies were at a low ebb.     Forced by her ferocity into uncharacteristic personal avowals, Ezra told Olga that he would happily join her in Sant'Ambrogio if he had any choice in the matter, but he also made it clear that he was against her coming to Washington. Somewhat disingenuously, he said that he was not urging Dorothy to come either; she was taking that step on her own. In fact, he never contradicted Dorothy's repeated vows to join him and even hinted that he was expecting her. It almost seems that he was inviting Dorothy to come by his silence while putting Olga off with taciturnity broken now and again by explosive protest. Probably he was reluctant to reconstitute the menage of 1944-1945 in the altered and uncertain circumstances of 1946. It was one thing to dream of the visitation of multiple women at the DTC, another to experience their actual rivalry in the corridors of St. Elizabeths. Olga suspected that Ezra's friends also opposed her coming to the States on the grounds that her uncompromising temperament and her status as his mistress might complicate his chances for freedom.     Dorothy was slowly removing the barriers to her reunion with Ezra. With the help of A.V. Moore and her London solicitors, she took steps to wrest her bank account from the British Custodian of Alien Property, and was making progress as well with the Genoa consulate in getting her passport reissued. Despite the frustrations of sharing Isabel's Villa Raggio apartment and the noise of workmen repairing the bomb-damaged ceilings, she found time to write Ezra and to engage in a prodigious correspondence on his behalf. On Sundays she visited Ma Riess, an old friend in Rapallo, through whom, on 13 January, she met Ezra's daughter, Mary Rudge, noting that she was "a large healthy object [...] I expect there's some charm" (Letter 76). Julien Cornell kept Dorothy informed of developments in Ezra's case. On 25 January he wrote reassuringly that "a state which would, no doubt, appear to you to be normal, is defined by the doctors as paranoid in character, to an extent which impairs your husband's judgment of his predicament and renders him unable to properly defend himself."     Ezra's sanity hearing took place, after postponements, on 13 February, during which the four psychiatrists who had earlier examined him testified concerning his mental state. After a few minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of "unsound mind," and Judge Laws ordered Ezra to be returned to St. Elizabeths. The next day, Albert Deutsch in the New York newspaper PM attacked the prosecution's performance, noting its "impressive unfamiliarity with the psychiatric issues at stake and a lackadaisical interest in its political implications. They acted throughout as if they were going through the motions." Deutsch added: "When the verdict of insanity was brought in, [Ezra] jumped up with alacrity and engaged in affable conversation with his young lawyer." When Charles Olson visited Ezra on 14 February, he found him waving newly typed copies of Cantos 74-84, delivered to him that morning by James Laughlin (Letter 94). Ezra had his "bounce back," Olson noted.     It was not long before he was feeling pent up and anxious again. He wrote Dorothy on 21 February: "I long for Pisan paradise./ & the jail was Cherry Bim till 4 blokes climbed out & rest of us then confined to cells--no assembly hall--(Gallinger quiet & human)--oh well" (Letter 99). In contrast to the "hell hole" of St. Elizabeths, the army camp seemed very heaven. "I miss the Pisan paradise like hell," he wrote Homer Somers, one of the DTC officers. "No such congenial surroundings since I landed ... am very fatigued." His spirits improved in early March when he was allowed into the dry moat surrounding Howard Hall to take exercise with the other inmates. He was also cheered by a new blue suit that Caresse Crosby had given him.     Ezra had hoped to make his Confucian translations the basis of a pro se defense. Now that this was no longer possible, he was more determined than ever to see them published. "I am god damnd if I write a word till the Confucius is printed" he told Ronald Duncan. "If they cant weigh that they are below the level to which communication is possible." In fact, he was already at work on tentative drafts of the Confucian odes. One psychiatrist noted that Ezra spent "most of his time lying upon his bed in his room, reading a Chinese text and a few slim volumes of poetry, making a few notes on random slips of paper." He was reading the odes "for consolation," he told Dorothy (Letter 90), but he was also testing his old skill at creating English versions of poems in a foreign tongue. Between February and August 1946 he sent a dozen or so drafts of odes to Dorothy and Olga. Often he added a disclaimer doubting the quality of the work: "I dont know about these versions. Too much like magazine po'try?" He need not have worried; as at the DTC, cataclysm had left his lyric gift intact, perhaps had even freed it from distractions. Many of these draft translations are indirect comments on his own plight: pheasant in rabbit net, I, untroubled in youth, Whom now an hundred nets surround. Would I sleep long & make no sound. Or: "shall not homing man tread like a ghost / when he cares most." Where The Pisan Cantos had released in Ezra an unaccustomed personal impulse, the Confucian odes gave him a hundred masks with which to brood on his situation.     "Pound. Healthy. Better. His door is open, he now is let into the moat," wrote Olson after a visit on 19 March. As his energies returned, Ezra began, typically, to find projects for everyone. On 20 March he wrote Cornell: "Next point is to get Jas. [Laughlin] to understand need of pub/ing a nucleus of civilization, more organic than a `Five foot shelf', & the tooter the suiter ." He had already worked out an essential curriculum for Omar: Confucius, Homer, Frobenius. "[G]o back to what I once knew," he told the young man, hinting perhaps that his own mind had lost its hold on the Poundian verities, had jumped the track of the true (Letter 97). The idea of playing tutor to world leaders had necessarily receded somewhat, but he could still worry for the young and offer suggestions as to how they might lay a foundation for themselves amid the postwar ruins.     On 31 March Dr. Harold Stevens of St. Elizabeths reported that Ezra began most of his sessions by complaining of fatigue, then gradually became quite animated in his conversation, bangs the desk, jumps up, raises his voice, becomes flushed and displays evidence of energy, the interview often lasting an hour. At times his speech is fragmentary, although telegraphic in style, resembling the cryptic letters he writes. [...] In frequent discourses with him, he is unable to answer some questions because of an alleged partial amnesia which he states developed during his confinement in the "cage" in Italy. [...] But when queried about his scurrilous and anti-Semitic broadcasts in Italy, which the interviewer has reviewed, he protests that his memory fails him. On one occasion when he was asked if he wishes to stand trial, he effected [ sic ] an elaborate caricature of fatigue and the interview had to be terminated. [...] His views on economics, and especially on money, are unorthodox, but logical and coherent. He is extremely and destructively hypercritical, has praise for very few, vilified Congress, Roosevelt, the State Department, describes Woodrow Wilson as "that constipated jerk with prostatitis," and often punctuates his vituperations with picturesque profanity. For the British, he reserves his most scathing and scatological invectives, attacking the Nation collectively and the English readers individually.     Meanwhile, Dorothy was still struggling with her financial situation. In early April she was forced to sell a gold chain and was down to her last two thousand lire before A.V. Moore got some money through to her (Letter 124). Conditions in Italy made her more eager than ever to embark for America. Rapallo was in the process of repairing substantial bomb damage caused by straying Allied planes that had meant to hit the port of Genoa a dozen miles up the coast. Dorothy remarked that the Italians "are now beginning to understand they've lost the war--the miseria [destitution] & unemployment awful" (Letter 95).     The coming elections made the atmosphere in Rapallo very unpleasant, with roughneck young communists swaggering about and plastering the walls of the town with red posters. On 9 May, King Vittorio Emanuele III abdicated in favor of Umberto II, who was himself forced into exile a month later due to a referendum demanding an Italian republic in place of the monarchy. At the end of May, Dorothy wrote Ezra that "this place is vile nowadays avvilita--& vicious--atmosphere most repulsive" (Letter 148). Alluding to Dante, whom she was then rereading, she noted that "this land turns evil--its such a messy bolge" (Letter 149). Postwar Italy had become a degraded place; lacking Ezra and its own wonted dignity, it was no longer la terra santa but rather a pocket in Dante's hell, one of many blasted craters in the wreck of Europe. To add to Dorothy's worries, in mid-May Ezra's mother broke her hip in a fall and had to be hospitalized. In one respect Dorothy was relieved, for the accident ended any question of Isabel's accompanying her to America. She could now focus all of her energies on getting passage for herself.     On 25 May, Ezra sent Dorothy a few lines of new verse: I err'd, I pay, I awaken Wasps be not stroked by men Nor hawk for wren twice mistaken let me not be engulph'd in the multitude of my family's calamaties [ sic ], nor nest twice on a sand-storm. (Letter 146) This "Chinese Prayer," as Dorothy called it, encapsulates the ambiguities of self-critique and ethical responsibility that The Pisan Cantos write large. Donning one of his Confucian masks, Ezra seems to admit error, but is it error of moral judgment or merely a tactical blunder, the political naif's failure to recognize that the world was too corrupt, too bent on waspish war, even for his ministrations? The allusion to "my family's calamaties" may hint at the difficulties that Ezra now faced in accommodating Dorothy and Olga both, in being a father to children an ocean away, and in dealing with an invalid mother.     Ezra still considered himself "in serious breakdown" as late as April. In early June he wrote Olga that "ANY effort causes gt. fatigue. I don't think you get picture of here. e.g. Today red letter in that am hand-kuffed to be taken to dental bld.--perfectly comfortable wide leather cuffs, do not cause nervousness after 1st time. NOT that am supposed violent but patients are continually beating up guards & guards therefore prefer etc. (when prisoners tempted by sight of wide open spaces), [...] pleasant ride to dental in station wagon--back in vulgar bus. small things make a day." Of conditions at St. Elizabeths he said: "Solitary? Lord, no. 90 in dining room." He was desperate for contact with the outside, as he explained to Mary Barnard on 12 June: "Yes, like p'cards--or any evidence that outer (oltre le mura [beyond the walls]) world exists." Locked up in a cell in an alien America, he felt doubly exiled. At one point in this period, while doodling on a subscription form, he gave his nationality as "paradiso perduto."     At last on 6 June the U.S. Consul General in Genoa issued Dorothy a passport in anticipation of her scheduled 16 June departure on the S.S. Marine Carp , a "piroscafo di soccorso," or "relief ship." After a week's delay, the Marine Carp sailed from Genoa on 23 June with more than 450 passengers aboard. Dorothy shared a cabin with seven others and ate at a table that seated fourteen. The sea was occasionally rough, but Dorothy was a good sailor and enjoyed the American-style food served by the kitchen. The ship docked in New York on 6 July and was met by James Laughlin. Dorothy sent a telegram to Ezra at 1:57 PM. and left for Laughlin's home in Norfolk, Connecticut, to spend a day recovering. The following day, 8 July, she met with Julien Cornell at his office in New York, and on 9 July she flew to Washington, D.C., where she stayed temporarily with the Mapel sisters, as arranged.     She made her first visit to Ezra at Howard Hall on Wednesday, 10 July, and was permitted one hour with him as a special concession. They discussed Confucius and family matters. "He seems clear on the subject he has arranged to talk about," she wrote Laughlin. "Says if he can rest 2-3 hrs, one hour is clear to him. It is a rotten deal." To Cornell she confessed that she found him "very nervous and jumpy. I believe his wits are really very scattered, and he has difficulty in concentrating for more than a few minutes. During the one hour [the first visit] we spoke mostly of family odds and ends,--on Thursday of his Chinese translating chiefly. [...] Today Ezra spoke of my trying to find out what was going on in the outside world. He has newspapers, but naturally hasn't much faith in that kind of news."     So began a routine that would continue for the next twelve years. Early in 1947 Ezra was moved from Howard Hall to the more congenial Center Building, and eventually he was allowed to spend afternoons lounging on the grounds in a canvas chair with Dorothy beside him. Established in her own room in Washington, Dorothy paid daily visits to St. Elizabeths, conversing with her husband, taking notes and writing letters at his request, and helping him entertain the steady stream of visitors. She knew how important routine and regularity were to his creative life, and as she had done for nearly four decades, she devoted herself to nurturing his talent. Her gifts of patience and quiet fortitude she placed in the service of his more conspicuous gifts. Harry Meacham, who came to know Ezra a year before his release from St. Elizabeths in 1958, once wrote that Dorothy was "a great lady who deserves a book of her own." In a sense, this is that book--the story, written partly in her own words, of Penelope's quest to rejoin her husband, expert in adversity.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Note on the Textp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Notesp. 33
Genoap. 37
Appendixesp. 365
Works, Libraries, and Collections Citedp. 381
Indexp. 387