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Books in brief: The Bughouse by Daniel Swift

This well-written micro-biography of Ezra Pound explores the boundary between madness and genuis

By Sameer Rahim   April 2017

The Bughouse by Daniel Swift (Harvil Secker, £25)

“I never did believe in Fascism, God damn it!” protested Ezra Pound at his trial for treason in 1946. He was lying. While living in Italy, between 1941 and 1943, the US poet made at least 105 radio broadcasts in which he railed hotly against “kikes”; at one point he told his audience, “you are learning Hitler’s basic text.”

But Pound was lucky: the jury found him insane and he was sent to a mental hospital in Washington DC—the bughouse of the title—where he continued…

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