If This Be Treason. Ezra Pound.

If This Be Treason

Siena, Italy: Printed for Olga Rudge by Tip. Nuova, 1948. First Edition, First Printing.

Octavo (8 5/8 inches / 211 mm) tall, [2], 33, [1] pages in green stapled wrappers printed in black.

Ezra Pound's mistress, Olga Rudge, privately published this slim volume containing a selection of Pound's Italian radio broadcasts from World War II. Pound openly supported the Fascists in his broadcasts on Radio Rome, but he also dealt with literary matters as well. At the time of publication, Pound was under indictment in the U.S. for treason and was being held at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington. He was to remain there until his release in 1958.

The talks include a memorial to James Joyce, one on e.e. cummings's book about the Soviet Union, one on Céline, and one on Wyndham Lewis's Vorticist magazine, Blast. Rudge also included Canto 45. She says on the copyright page, "These 'talks' are printed from the original rough drafts. No cuts, corrections or changes have been made." Indeed, the scripts are full of misspellings, word abbreviations, praise of Fascism, and occasional anti-Semitism ("I once had a kike friend..."). On the other hand, the pamphlet provides valuable insights into Pound's view of his literary peers. "

Whether the booklet helped or harmed she had the satisfaction of feeling that it was at least something done, an active protest against the stifling passive acceptance of Pound's predicament." (A. David Moody, Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and his Work. Volume III: The Tragic Years, Oxford University Press, 2015, page 274.) Moody says Pound was all in favor of publication of the booklet.

According to Pound's bibliographer, "probably 300 copies [were] printed." Most copies, like the present volume, were unnumbered. (Donald Gallup, "Ezra Pound: A Bibliography," University Press of Virginia, 1983). Gallup A59.

A fascinating look at just a few of Pound's obsessions and concerns during World War II. A notably uncommon volume. SCARCE.

CONDITION: Ex-academic library, with only a discreet, four-letter stamp (OkTU) to the top of the copyright page. No other library markings. Spine heavily sunned, wrappers sunned as well; small bump to upper corner throughout; pages toned, especially along the margins; internally clean. A Very Good copy of an extremely scarce publication. Item #1468

Price: $750.00

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