From The Guardian: Daniel Swift’s book The Bughouse renders a poignant account of poet Ezra Pound’s years spent in a psychiatric institution.
This should be paired with the article about calling Trump “mentally ill.” From the article cited I get the impression that Pound, despite his pro-fascist pronouncements, was in touch with aspects of culture that go deeper than surface ideology, and that this aggravated those who longed for clear lines between good and evil, and considered themselves to be on the side of good. (Sort of like present day liberals and Trump.) At any rate, there’s no denying that Pound was a political prisoner, even if his politics can’t be defended.
I’ve heard it argued, and reasonably at that, that Ezra Pound was diagnosed “mentally ill” in order to save him from the possibility of being shot for high treason if he wasn’t so diagnosed. This is not the same as saying, as this review suggests, that he actually suffered some kind of nervous breakdown, but perhaps…
“Was he a traitor protected by the hospital from the punishment he deserved; or a truth-teller tormented for his candour?”
This is another version of the insanity defense in that there were people trying to save him from an even worse fate, and then there were people trying to save him from the confinement that came of trying to save him from that fate (a subsequent sanity defense). He was an embarrassment to the US government, shutting him away in Saint Elizabeth’s was a pretty convenient way of dealing with it. After the storm had settled, and he’d lost so many years of his life, his sailing back to Italy wasn’t such a big matter for the feds who would have been happy to see him go.