One of the outstanding poets of the twentieth century, Ezra Pound was also an active fascist and anti-Semite. Indicted on nineteen counts of treason for his anti-American broadcasts over Mussolini's Radio Rome during World War II, Pound escaped trial by pleading insanity. He spent the next twelve years at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., until his literary friends--Ernest Hemingway, Archibald MacLeish, and William Carlos Williams among them--mounted a campaign to secure his release. In this stunning biography, E. Fuller Torrey, who was himself a psychiatrist at St. Elizabeths, assesses the sanity of Ezra Pound. Using Pound's psychiatric hospital records, which Torrey obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and which had never previously been released, Torrey concludes that Pound did not go mad during World War II. Torrey also reveals the story of the salon Pound ran at St. Elizabeths and describes the collaboration of psychiatrists and poets in maintaining the charade of Pound's insanity. He also discloses, for the first time, Pound's support of Hitler as well as of Mussolini and explicates some of Pound's stranger mystical and sexual beliefs. Torrey integrates Pound's chaotic personal life with his poetry, illuminating both. The Roots of Treason is as entrancing as the moveable feast of literary Paris in the 1920s, and as chilling as the most recent acquittal of a murder who claimed to be insane.
Literature-Fiction, Poetry, American,