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Palgrave Macmillan

Ezra Pound's Fascist Propaganda, 1935-45

ISBN 9781137345509
Publication Date September 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Often dismissed as simply 'bad' or 'mad', the nature of Ezra Pound's fascist propaganda has been much discussed, but far less well understood to date. In consequence, the extent of Pound's activism has been wildly underestimated; there are, for example, thousands of pro-Axis radio items during WWII. These manuscripts, extending to extensive propaganda strategies and a dozen pseudonymous names, collectively reveal a modernist author far more engaged with the Axis war effort than has been previously acknowledged. Feldman's 'new historicist' approach argues that Pound was a committed, influential and significant Anglophone propagandist for Mosley's BUF, Mussolini's Italy and finally, Hitler's Germany. Through close analysis of historical context and an approach to Pound's fascist activism through the lens of 'political religions' theory, Ezra Pound' Fascist Propaganda, 1935-1945 challenges conventional wisdom on this canonical modernist by finding Pound to be a leading propagator of the 'fascist faith'.

Matthew Feldman is a reader in contemporary history and co-director of the Centre for Fascist, Anti-fascist and Post-fascist Studies at Teeside University. He has held research fellowships at the universities of Northampton, Birmingham, Oxford and Bergen, Norway, and has written widely on fascism and terrorism as well as on archival approaches to modernism, especially the work of Samuel Beckett.

1. Introduction
2. Backdrop to the 'Pound Case': Development of an ideologue
3. Unpaid propaganda 'for a decent Europe': 1935-1940
4. Reappraising the 'Pound Case':
5. Pound's radio propaganda: revisiting the critical literature
6. Pound's Propaganda Themes and Strategies
7. Conclusion: The Salò Republic


"With great clarity and erudition, Matthew Feldman changes how Pound must henceforth be read. On the basis of thousands of previously unused sources, not only does the extent of Pound's fascist commitment become unequivocally clear but the proximity of his political views to his poetry becomes equally undeniable. This is a major work of new historicist literary scholarship which deserves a wide readership across the humanities." - Dan Stone, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
"For the first time we learn from Matthew Feldman's lively study how Pound supported himself during the war years. Far from an eccentric voice, Pound was a major English-language propagandist for the regime. Using hitherto untapped MI5 and FBI files, Feldman shows that Pound's radio speeches ran into thousands of items, from speeches to squibs. We have taken Pound's remark that the propaganda he produced was his own as meaning he did not follow any Fascist 'party line.' We could imagine that Pound's fascism was as heterodox as his economics. In fact Pound's propaganda responded directly and consciously to Fascist politics in Italy, following closely imperatives he discussed with members of the government. This book changes forever how we read Pound by bringing thousands of new documents into Pound's total body of work." - Professor Alec Marsh, Muhlenberg College, USA
"In a book based on a wide range of archival and published English-language . . . sources . . . the heart of Feldman's case lies in the Second World War and in Pound's numerous broadcasts, whether in his own name or under an array of pseudonyms, including Piero Mazda, Marco Veneziano and Mr Dooley. Here Feldman has unearthed useful information." - Times Higher Education
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