Cover image for I cease not to yowl : Ezra Pound's letters to Olivia Rossetti Agresti
I cease not to yowl : Ezra Pound's letters to Olivia Rossetti Agresti
Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972.
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Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xxviii, 327 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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PS3531.O82 Z4815 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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During the height of his own literary acclaim, Ezra Pound became notorious for supporting Mussolini, openly criticizing Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the war, and launching anti-Semitic tirades. Until now the depth and breadth of his many virulent views could only be imagined. This never-before-published correspondence began in 1937 and continued throughout Pound's incarceration at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he was committed when he was found mentally unfit to stand trial for treason. It speaks to Pound's writing during this period -- including The Pisan Cantos -- and his interest in economics, politics, and history. It also reveals a poet unable to understand how wrong he had been about the history of his time, who continued to identify Catholics, Americans, Britons, Marxists, and Jews as enemies of humanity. Olivia Rossetti Agresti (niece of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and cousin of Ford Madox Ford) shared many of his pro-Fascist views but few of his hatreds. I Cease Not to Yowl will forever change the way we look at Ezra Pound.

Reviews 2

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 Now two collections of previously unpublished letters throw new light on his not-so-pleasant personal life.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 In addition to these previously unpublished letters, the editors have included military and FBI documents, previously unpublished photographs, and coverage of Pound's return to the United States and his placement in a federal mental institution.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.

Choice Review

Never before published, this correspondence begins in 1937 and continues--with a few gaps-- through Pound's St. Elizabeth's incarceration until 1963. The letters clearly document Pound's ongoing antisemitism and other religious, racial, and political views and provide historical commentary on the mid-century social and economic situation in Italy. A British-born Italian citizen and author of David Lubin: A Study in Practical Idealism (1922), Agresti (1875-1960) was niece of Pre-Raphaelite poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti and cousin of Ford Maddox Ford. She shared Pound's pro-Fascist, pro-Axis opinions, but she often challenged his others. Thus, their epistolary debates cover topics such as Mussolini, Hitler, Senator Joseph McCarthy, British and US leaders, the Pope, and the Vatican, as well as family matters, current reading interests, and translation endeavors. Both Pound scholars, Tryphonopoulos (The Celestial Tradition: A Study of Ezra Pound's The Cantos, CH, Dec'92) and Surette (The Birth of Modernism: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and the Occult, CH, Sep'93) have done a masterful job of editing Pound's difficult, idiosyncratic letter-writing style, providing explanatory footnotes and referring to the thorough glossary of names. Valuable for scholars of Pound and of mid-20th-century politics and culture. Recommended for undergraduate and graduate libraries. J. C. Kohl; emeritus, Dutchess Community College

Table of Contents

Leon Surette
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Editors' Notep. xxv
1937p. 1
1938-40p. 2
1941p. 2
1942p. 4
1943p. 4
1944-47p. 5
1948p. 8
1949p. 20
1950p. 46
1951p. 56
1952p. 83
1953p. 102
1954p. 137
1955p. 174
1956p. 224
1957p. 245
1958p. 254
1959p. 256
1963p. 259
Glossaryp. 261
Bibliographyp. 293
Indexp. 315