Montag, 4. März 2019

Auden on Pound

Auden on No-Platforming Pound

 In 1945, when Bennett Cerf of Random House was preparing to send to the printer An Anthology of Famous English and American Poetry, edited by William Rose Benét and Conrad Aiken for the Modern Library series, he omitted twelve early poems by Ezra Pound that Aiken had included in a 1927 anthology on which the new book had been based. In place of the poems, a note explained that, over Aiken’s protest, the publishers “flatly refused at this time to include a single line of Mr. Ezra Pound. This is a statement that the publishers are not only willing but delighted to print.”
Person over work: the old problem with persons who beame outlaws or who are considered of the enemy's side or marked as traitors, heretics etc.
 In the eyes of many writers at the time, Cerf’s refusal to reprint Pound’s poems adopted the same logic that the Nazis had used when burning books by Jews and leftists.
One of Auden's arguments in a letter to Cerf:
Secondly, the issue is far more serious than it appears at first sight; the relation of an author to his work only one out of many, and once you accept the idea that one thing to which a man stands related shares in his guilt, you will presently extend it to others; begin by banning his poems not because you object to them but because you object to him, and you will end, as the nazis did, by slaughtering his wife and children.
Today we  have a similar ideological warfarc: there are calls to remove books from certain authors from the libraries, to ban their work simply because this or that author was a communist or a fascist or a sexual monster or a plain criminal or whatever. The witch-hunting has become modern again...

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