Bradshaw, David, and James Smith.
"Ezra Pound, James Strachey Barnes ('The Italian Lord Haw-Haw') and Italian Fascism."
The Review of English Studies 64.266 (2013): 672-93. Oxford Journals Online. Web. 03 June 2014.
Summary by Jared Young
In their article, Bradshaw and Smith aim to shed light on Pound’s propagandistic endeavors in Italy during WWII. To achieve that end, they offer readers a look into Pound’s activities through James Strachey Barnes’ life. Barnes, a friend and collaborator of Pound’s, also broadcast for Rome radio at that time.
The article, which is composed of three sections, stakes its claim that Pound had made major contributions to promote Italian Fascism, which the writers prove through his friendship with Barnes. After a brief introduction, the article moves into its two primary sections. The first focuses on Barnes’ biography and political efforts. The second section provides a detailed account of Pound and Barnes’ relationship. All this information creates a background for Pound’s political work during the least-known period of his life, 1943-45.
In section one, “A Paladin in the Making,” Bradshaw and Smith provide readers with Barnes’ personal history. The writers note that Barnes’s activity for Mussolini can be traced back to his early interest in philosophy and economics. Before becoming a central broadcast figure, Barnes, an Englishman, developed his love for Italy while serving on the Italian front as a liaison officer during WWI. Bradshaw and Smith then discuss Barnes’s work between the wars, his growing dedication to Fascism as well as the political discontent he stirred up on his way to working for Mussolini. Barnes’ political views ultimately led to his “most notorious role, as an English-language radio propagandist for the Fascist state, with unbridled zeal” (678).
Section II, titled “Renegades on the Run,” brings Barnes’s relationship with Pound into focus. The writers use three particular sources, the Pound-Barnes correspondence at Beinecke, various records related to both in the National Archives, and most importantly Barnes’s unpublished diary of 1943-45. At this point in the article, readers are guided back to the beginning of the war as Ezra Pound struggled to become a broadcaster, showing through the use of the letter exchange that Pound knew Barnes since 1940, visited him on his trips to Rome and discussed his views on economics with him. Through Barnes’s diary, Bradshaw and Smith present new information of military efforts to provide both Barnes and Pound with sanctuary and false papers as well as arrange propaganda activity for them in Germany. Though both refused this assistance, the diary then goes on to show that Barnes played a crucial role in convincing Pound to work for the Salo Republic in the spring of 1944. Shortly after Barnes’ final diary entry concerning Pound, Mussolini was executed and Pound was taken into custody. Barnes went into hiding.
As section II comes to a close, it examines Barnes’ final attempt to communicate with Pound. Bradshaw and Smith briefly mention a letter Barnes drafted to Winston Churchill that cites several political reasons why Pound deserved to be free. Specifically, Barnes mentioned Pound’s poetic reputation as justification for his release. Unfortunately, that letter would never reach Churchill because of Barnes’s death in 1955. After discovering the letter, Barnes’s wife sent Pound the draft. Pound responded bitterly that Barnes had got much more credence for his political opinions than he, Pound, had ever had. The authors provide a fragment from a letter of support Pound wanted Barnes’s wife to send to The Times in her name: it delineated his attempts to distance himself from the accusations of Fascism. To Olivia Rossetti Agresti, Pound wrote at the same time: “Jim for fascism as principle/ E.P recognizing it as the possible IN ITALY, despite its difference from Jefferson’s aim/ AND considering VOCATIONAL representation as constitutional for U.S lower house.” (Bradshaw and Smith 692)
In the article’s final moments, the authors remind readers that although Pound sought to clear his name from the effects of his propaganda efforts, Barnes’s biography and personal records indicate he and Pound had enough in common to work together closely. The article provides readers with meticulous correspondence between Barnes and Pound, as well as new insights into a darker area of the American poet’s life.
Estrade, Charlotte. “Transatlantic Crossroads: Ezra Pound’s 1933 Active Anthology.”
Anglophonia: French Journal of English (2013): 123-132. Print.
Summary by Dylan Hock
Charlotte Estrade’s article, “Transatlantic Crossroads: Ezra Pound's 1933 Active Anthology,”approaches Pound’s fourth anthology through the comparison of a metaphorical crossroads. Much like William Robert’s painting, The Vorticists at the Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel, Spring 1915, where “a gathering of poets and artists [are] meeting in order to discuss the Vorticist agenda of the magazine Blast” (126),Estrade contends that Pound's Active Anthology (AA)served as a nexus in which extensive swaths of the world’s best and most innovative poets shared a common space. Whether it be through the work it contained or the conversation it generated, Estrade posits that a “transatlantic crossroads” is exactly what Pound's Active Anthology offers its readers.
Estrade's nine-page article is broken up into five sections, including the introduction, that place Pound’s Active Anthology in its historical context and discuss the nature of crossroads (good and bad, as well as the tension and alliances that can form in such a space both intentionally and unintentionally), and how they relate to both AA and anthologies in general. Finally, Estrade puts AA into perspective by offering the context in which Pound published it in 1933—the same year he met Mussolini.
Pound had already edited three previous anthologies,1 been a foreign correspondent for both Poetry and The Dial, acted as foreign editor for the Little Review, worked as tireless promoter for his fellow poets, and helped T.S. Eliot with The Waste Land by the time he published the Active Anthology. Pound had also worked as an editor and publisher in London throughout the 1920s and served as a European contact for several American magazines. The longest of his anthologies at the time of its publication, the Active Anthology is, a synthesis of Pound’s career to that point. That he would collate and edit another three anthologies after Active Anthology,2 means that AA served as the literal centerpiece of his work on anthologies.
Contributors to Active Anthology include a “red wheelbarrow” full of American writers: Marianne Moore, T.S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, E.E. Cummings, Louis Zukofsky, William Carlos Williams, George Oppen and Pound himself, as well as the British poet, Basil Bunting, and the Irish (though London-based) poet, William Butler Yeats, among others. If AA is indeed a sort of crossroads where poets meet, strike up conversations, friendships, and assorted frictions, Estrade’s title “Transatlantic Crossroads” points accurately to the anthology’s open bias for promoting (often even introducing) American writers to the European literary circuit. At the same time, Pound takes care to promote the lesser-known and under-appreciated British poet, Basil Bunting, as well as the more established Yeats—one of the few London poets from the previous generation whom Pound felt still held the mantle of creation within his grasp. In many ways, Active Anthology is one editor’s representation of literary London as it marched into the 20th century—both a time capsule for a particular period in poetry as well as a communication between eras for readers and poets today. Estrade refers to that period in London as “the literary, modernist crossroads par excellence, the birthplace of Anglo-American literary modernism and its forerunners such as Imagism and Vorticism” (126), and such a “crossroads” is exactly what Pound presents in his anthology.
Estrade’s article traces Pound’s editorial evolution to a point both poetic and geographic wherein Pound pulled together a vast range of poets and promoted their work through his anthology. The crossroads that Pound created between the covers of Active Anthology was a consciously transatlantic one that served to kickstart an international dialogue between poets. Estrade’s “Transatlantic Crossroads” highlights how Pound’s Active Anthology served as an announcement of the next poetic generation’s arrival, and how the collision of literary thoughts and voices captured in that one book bloomed into entire movements and artistic trajectories from which poetry (and poets!) have continued to grow for generations—just as Pound intended.
Read more at
(F.R. Leavis’s review of AA in Scrutiny)
On Pound as anthologist
1. Des Imagistes (1914), Catholic Anthology (1915) and Profile (1932)
2. ABC of Reading (1934), Shih-Ching: The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius (1954) and Confucius to Cummings (1964)