The Bughouse

The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound by Daniel Swift

  • Published: Oct 11, 2020

In 1945, the American poet Ezra Pound was due to stand trial for treason for his broadcasts in Fascist Italy during the Second World War. Before the trial could take place, however, he was pronounced insane. Escaping a possible death sentence, he was sent... read more

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Details of The Bughouse

Exact title of the book
The Bughouse
Book author
Daniel Swift
ISBN
9780374284046
Publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Published
Nov 07, 2017
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
320
File size (in PDF)
2880 kB

Some brief overview of book

In 1945, the American poet Ezra Pound was due to stand trial for treason for his broadcasts in Fascist Italy during the Second World War. Before the trial could take place, however, he was pronounced insane. Escaping a possible death sentence, he was sent to St.

Elizabeths Hospital near Washington, D. C., where he was held for more than a decade. At the hospital, Pound was at his most infamous, and most contradictory.

He was a genius and a traitor, a great poet and a madman. He was also an irresistible figure and, in his cell on Chestnut Ward and on the elegant hospital grounds, he was visited by the major poets and writers of his time. T.

S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Charles Olson, and Frederick Seidel all went to sit with him. They listened to him speak and wrote of what they had seen.

This was perhaps the worlds most unorthodox literary salon convened by a fascist, held in a lunatic asylum, with chocolate brownies and mayonnaise sandwiches served for tea. Pound continues to divide all who read and think of him. At the hospital, the doctors who studied him and the poets who learned from him each had a different understanding of this wild and most difficult man.

Tracing Pound through the eyes of his visitors, Daniel Swifts The Bughouse tells a story of politics, madness, and modern art in the twentieth century.

About author

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

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