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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

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James Laughlin, New Directions, and the Remaking of Ezra Pound (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book)

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James Laughlin, New Directions, and the Remaking of Ezra Pound (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Although James Laughlin (1914-1997) came from one of Pittsburgh's leading steel-making families, his passions were literary rather than industrial--he wanted to be a poet. Laughlin was a freshman at Harvard when he traveled to Rapallo, Italy, in 1933 to meet Ezra Pound (1885-1972), and he returned the following year to enroll in the poet's "Ezuversity." Pound dismissed Laughlin's poetic talents, advising the wealthy young man to make himself a publisher. Laughlin did just that, founding New Directions Press in 1936. For much of the 1930s, Laughlin and Pound were friends, business associates, collaborators, student and teacher, and even at times son and surrogate father. But Laughlin's investment in Pound--and their friendship--was severely tested by Pound's wartime propaganda broadcasts for Italian state radio, his capture and abortive trial for treason, and his thirteen-year stay as a mental patient in St. Elizabeths Hospital. Following this scandal and disgrace, the reading public no longer wanted to buy Pound's books, and the critical establishment dismissed him as a Fascist crank. Laughlin and New Directions responded by marketing Pound in such a way as to convince consumers that the poet's importance needed to be judged solely on aesthetic grounds, and that his political beliefs were irrelevant to his accomplishments as a pioneering literary artist. With Pound's encouragement, and despite the poet's oft-expressed opposition to the mixture of commerce and art, Laughlin used such marketing tools as advertising, the cultivation of friendly critics, and the development of the trade paperback to enhance Pound's reputation. Drawing on a wide range of sources--including interviews withLaughlin and other New Directions staffers and unpublished materials from numerous literary archives--Gregory Barnhisel tells the story of the personal and professional relationship between one of the twentieth century's most controversial writers and his loyal and innovative

Book News Annotation:

Barnhisel (English, Duquesne U.) explores how publisher Laughlin (1914-97) managed and directed the transformation of the American modernist poet Pound's (1885-1974) public image and literary reputation in the US from the middle 1930s--when he became known as a pro-fascist, anti-Semitic crank--to the end of the 1960s--when he was briefly seen as the most important and accomplished writer of the modernist period.
Annotation 2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Book News Annotation:

Barnhisel (English, Duquesne U.) explores how publisher Laughlin (1914-97) managed and directed the transformation of the American modernist poet Pound's (1885-1974) public image and literary reputation in the US from the middle 1930s--when he became known as a pro-fascist, anti-Semitic crank--to the end of the 1960s--when he was briefly seen as the most important and accomplished writer of the modernist period. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781558494787
Author:
Barnhisel, Gregory Peter
Publisher:
University of Massachusetts Press
Author:
New Directions Publishing Corp
Author:
Barnhisel, Greg
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Publishers and publishing
Subject:
Literature publishing
Subject:
Poets, American -- 20th century.
Subject:
Publishers and publishing -- United States.
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series:
Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book
Publication Date:
20050231
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.46x6.44x.97 in. 1.36 lbs.

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James Laughlin, New Directions, and the Remaking of Ezra Pound (Studies in Print Culture and the History of the Book) New Hardcover
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