Tim Redman

Songs of a Broken Man

Ezra Pound: Poet – A Portrait of the Man & His Work, Volume III, The Tragic Years 1939–1972

By

Oxford University Press 654pp £30 order from our bookshop

This is the final volume of David Moody’s massive biography of Ezra Pound. According to Moody, the great American poet, whose broadcasts for Rome Radio during the Second World War led to his indictment for treason and his imprisonment for thirteen years, was a ‘flawed idealist’. Moody acknowledges ‘his moral offense, the anti-Semitism of which he was guilty’. But his case became a travesty of psychiatry and justice as those to whom he entrusted his defence betrayed him.

Moody begins with the war years. There is some new material, though many of Pound’s activities during this period are familiar from other work (which Moody acknowledges). He portrays Pound’s arrest vividly. The second part of the book is devoted solely to 1945, during which Pound was interrogated by the FBI in Genoa and imprisoned under harsh conditions at the US Army Disciplinary Training Center (DTC) near Pisa. It was here that he began his greatest work, The Pisan Cantos, of which Moody offers an elegant and lucid explication.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • With our February issue about to go to press, enjoy a slice of LR history - Hilary Mantel on Joan Haslip's biograph… ,
    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,