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34 - Fascism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 July 2014

Ira B. Nadel
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

Pound's fascism has long been controversial. One point of agreement among critics, both detractors and enthusiasts, is that Pound's idea of Italian fascism should be distinguished, at least in part, from its reality. As K. Ruthven stated, “Italian Fascism as a political practice, developed at a particular historical moment and in particular economic conditions, was related to Pound's ‘Fascism’ only by way of adjacency.” The “Mussolini” of Jefferson and/or Mussolini was “a figment of Pound's imagination, the heroic agent of a ‘fascism’ as remote from Italian Fascism as ‘Mussolini’ was from Mussolini.”

The difficulty encountered by early Pound scholars in coping with this issue led to the creation of a divided image, as if the poet who helped create modernism were one thing, and the fascist who broadcasted in favor of Mussolini were another. Studies carried out from the late seventies on helped recompose the fracture, demonstrating that Pound's poetry cannot be separated from his political beliefs.

A common assumption has been that Pound came to fascism via economics, and that his adherence was motivated by a thorough examination of Mussolini’s programs in the light of guild socialism. But as recent studies have pointed out, the emergence of Pound’s interest in fascism seems less indebted to economic theory than to the poet’s aesthetic concerns. The economic element was undeniably important, but it seems to have come in late. Pound’s enthusiasm for Mussolini was rather rooted in his concern with the role of the artist in modern society and essentially bound to the project of his epic.

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Ezra Pound in Context , pp. 376 - 390
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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  • Fascism
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Ezra Pound in Context
  • Online publication: 05 July 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511777486.038
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  • Fascism
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Ezra Pound in Context
  • Online publication: 05 July 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511777486.038
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Fascism
  • Edited by Ira B. Nadel, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: Ezra Pound in Context
  • Online publication: 05 July 2014
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511777486.038
Available formats
×