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It has to be recognized, if we are to get on, that Mussolini is as much an invented or mythical figure in these cantos as Jefferson, or Van Buren, or indeed as Odysseus. He is just as much transfigured out of history into the poem Pound is making up, and he plays his part there in an ethical drama which may be not at all an accurate fit with the political drama of the era. Pound is not writing Mussolini’s story, or Jefferson’s or Van Buren’s. He is writing, as it will turn out, the epic of the capitalist era, in which the will to social justice, as embodied in a few heroic individuals, must contend against the greed of the wealthy and powerful and the abuleia of the many. It is a story based on real persons and real practices, and its credibility does depend in some degree on its truth to what is commonly known of those persons and practices. Beyond that believability, though, there is another order of reality, that of meanings and values; it is with these that the epic poet is most engaged, and in creating images of what is to be admired or hated he will bend history to his ends.

A. David Moody. Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man & His Work. Volume II. The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. 180.


Mussolini is THE GREAT PEDAGOGUE/ he knows, as none of us have know, how to GET it into people heads, en masse/

I mean he know the rate of speed at which it is possible to translate thought into public action.

this is genius, just as Gaudier’s or Brancusi’s sense of form was and is genius.

Damn it, I have met the man/ there is something bloody fine, something of a sincerity, and a reality that matters. The rest of European public men are scum; or inefectual flapdoodles. Roosevelt hasn’t got it. The years of danger; with the mills bomb on the desk/ all put a he man fibre into it.

He wd/ count in the Texas rangers/.

Dont swallow any of this tin Napoleon stuff.

Declaration of independence for a country surrounded by other countries semi/corrupt, and big gin [gun] sellers, CAN NOT be the same as for a few million blokes scattered over a continent where British police and army can’t get at ’em.

Ezra Pound to Hugo Fack 30 October 1934. EPEC 124



CANTO XVI [World War I - The Italian view]

CANTO XXXI [Thomas Jefferson]

CANTO XXXV [The situation of Austria]

CANTO XXXVIII [armaments and war]

Cantos in periodicals

A Draft of XXX Cantos

Eleven New Cantos

The Fifth Decad

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