The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

February 19, 2014

February 19, 1949

You could argue that modern art was created, not just exemplified by the work of Ezra Pound (October 30,  1885  to November 1, 1972). William Butler Yeats saw Pound as "The Forerunner," the type of man who gets new things started in life,  although others then develop the new  more fully. Although Yeats changed his mind when he saw Pound feeding the stray cats at Rapallo and decided Pound fell more into a category Yeats had labeled "Creation through Pity" and which he associated with the destruction of modern art. Pound felt vastly misunderstood throughout his career. And yet when World War II brought Pound to the consequences of his treasonous broadcast for Italy, an Axis power, the many admirers of the man and his art, managed to get him confined in a mental hospital, not a prison. And he was released after 12 years (he was at St. Elizabeth's from 1945 through 1958.) During this time he was the first recipient of a major literary award, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, announced on February 19, 1949.

I don't think he was crazy. But I understand how modern literature could not leave him to his fate because that would reflect on their own origins. Kind of like intellectuals cannot face the effect of randomness and determinism in our lives. Better he should be called crazy than have doubt cast on the glory of modernity. 

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