• The Bughouse

  • The Poetry, Politics, and Madness of Ezra Pound
  • By: Daniel Swift
  • Narrated by: Tom Perkins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

In 1945, the great American poet Ezra Pound was deemed insane. He was due to stand trial for treason for his fascist broadcasts in Italy during the war. Instead, he escaped a possible death sentence and was held at St. Elizabeths Hospital for the insane for more than a decade. While there, his visitors included the stars of modern poetry: T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Charles Olson, and William Carlos Williams, among others. They would sit with Pound on the hospital grounds, bring him news of the outside world, and discuss everything from literary gossip to past escapades.

This was perhaps the world's most unorthodox literary salon: convened by a fascist and held in a lunatic asylum. Those who came often recorded what they saw. Pound was at his most infamous, most hated, and most followed. At St. Elizabeths he was a genius and a madman, a contrarian and a poet, and impossible to ignore.

In The Bughouse, Daniel Swift traces Pound and his legacy, walking the halls of St. Elizabeths and meeting modern-day neofascists in Rome. Unlike a traditional biography, The Bughouse sees Pound through the eyes of others at a critical moment both in Pound's own life and in 20th-century art and politics.

©2017 Daniel Swift (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"To understand an artist as compromised by circumstances - and by his own many contradictions - as Ezra Pound, we have to trace a complex path through a maze of half-truths, myth, and simplification. The Bughouse does so with supreme care, critical acumen, and humanity, shedding a whole new light not only on Pound the man, but also on the shape and character of The Cantos, one of the most seriously flawed and truly brilliant artworks of the twentieth century." (John Burnside)

What listeners say about The Bughouse

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Better than expected

Thought this might be rather dry - instead it was enthralling. Chapter on Casa Pound and Pound’s fascism is worth price of purchase.

3 people found this helpful

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This is a hit piece on Pound.

Fails to elucidate Pound's appeal then and now politically . Very disappointing. He completely missed the significance of the casapound movement in Italy.

2 people found this helpful