Dr. Matthew Feldman

Ezra Pound's Poetry And Propaganda In WWII: Reopening The Neglected Archives Of The 'Pound Case'

Venue : B&D Studios `
Date : Wednesday, September 4, 2013, 5:30 pm
Times : Wed – Sat: 12 pm – 5 pm

Following his enthusiastic embrace of fascism between the wars, Ezra Pound became a leading English-language propagandist for the Axis during WWII. In recovering the extent of Pound’s activism for Radio Rome between 1940 and 1943 and then, in the Nazi-occupied Salo Republic until 1945, this lecture reveals the many different pen-names, anti-Semitic broadcasts and propaganda strategies developed by Pound in WWII. After providing an overview of long- buried manuscripts, letters and payments for his work as a radio propagandist, this lecture will then focus upon Pound’s propaganda themes and strategies – some of which were clearly inspired and developed by his reading of Hitler’s Mein Kampf . In light of these new findings, this presentation suggests that Pound was far more influential, and far more respected, as an Axis propagandist than has been previously argued. As such it will be shown that his propaganda efforts were in close keeping with the views of key functionaries no less than the wider Axis trajectory during World War II – from declarations of a ‘new order’ in Europe to calls for vengeance against ‘traitors’ and ‘Jews’ by the time of Mussolini’s 1943 arrest and Pound’s contemporaneous indictment for treason by US authorities. Finally, this lecture turns to what biographers have described as the ‘least known period’ in Pound’s life:his propaganda for Mussolini’s Salo Republic. In the culmination of Pound’s importance to the Nazi- puppet regime, this lecture thus concludes by retracing his activities between 1943 and the final defeat of the Axis in spring 1945, including his radio propaganda, anti-Jewish activism, and continued commitment to the Axis cause until the very end of World War II.

Self-Directed Terrorism: Past Present And Future

What is often called ‘Lone wolf’ terrorism, but is better understood as ‘self- directed’ terrorism (for reasons explored in this lecture), has a surprisingly long and bloody past. Most people studying this area agree there have been several previous ‘waves’ of solo-actor terrorism, from belle époque anarchism, to postwar anti-colonialism to more recent ideological attacks; of the latter, Anders Behring Breivik has been the most recent and murderous. In the present and, quite likely, the future, the motivations and context of this tactic have largely via right–wing extremists and, for different reasons, jihadi Islamists. Without doubt, these kinds of attacks have witnessed a frightening spike since the onset of the Internet Age. After a new definition of this phenomena several less-known cases in Britain in the last 15 years will be analysed, before being compared and contrasted with Breivik’s solo-actor attacks on 22 July 2011, which killed 77 people in Norway.

Matthew Feldman is a Reader in Contemporary History at Teesside University, where he co-directs the Centre for Fascist, Anti-fascist and Post- fascist Studies. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bergen, Norway; he has held previous fellowships with the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham, as well as HEFCE and the University of Northampton, where he previously directed the School of Social Sciences’ Radicalism and New Media Research Group (www.radicalism-new-media.org). He is also an editor of Wiley- Blackwell’s online journal, Compass: Political Religions, Continuum’s two monograph series, Historicizing Modernism and Modernist Archives, and has published widely in the areas of cultural and political history since WWI.


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