cover image Let the Wind Speak: Mary de Rachewiltz and Ezra Pound

Let the Wind Speak: Mary de Rachewiltz and Ezra Pound

Carol Loeb Shloss. Univ. of Pennsylvania, $39.95 (376p) ISBN 978-1-5128-2325-7

This meticulous literary biography by Shloss (Lucia Joyce), former acting professor of English at Stanford, examines the life of Ezra Pound’s only biological child, Mary Rudge de Rachewiltz. Shloss charts the course of Mary’s life, beginning with her birth in Italy in 1925 to expatriate Pound and his mistress, Olga Rudge. Mary was placed in the care of a peasant family in the Italian region of Tyrol and saw her biological parents infrequently. When Mary was 12, Rudge sent her to a convent to learn Italian and English until WWII interrupted her studies and Pound took charge of her education, preparing her for what would become her life’s work of writing and translating literature. Shloss illuminates the complexities of Mary’s life, including the secrecy surrounding her illegitimacy; tensions between her and Pound’s wife’s son, whom Pound claimed as his own despite not being the biological father; her marriage and divorce to “grandiose” Egyptologist Boris Baratti de Rachewiltz; and the maneuverings by lawyers and libraries to acquire the Ezra Pound archive after his death. Shloss captures her “fiercely principled” subject and the times in which she lived, using impressive research to highlight the obstacles she navigated to secure her father’s literary legacy. Pound scholars will appreciate new insights into his personal life. (Feb.)