Monday, May 4, 2015

Mary de Rachewiltz (born Mary Rudge, 1925) is an American poet and translator. She was the daughter of Americans Olga Rudge, a classical violinist, and Ezra Pound, a modernist American writer who was married to another woman.

Early life and education

Mary Rudge was born in Brixen, Italy, on July 9, 1925, the daughter of Olga Rudge, a classical violinist, and Ezra Pound, a poet married to another woman. Her mother placed the girl in the care of a peasant couple after her birth; she was raised on their farm in Gais in the Italian Tyrol. She grew up on a farm speaking the local dialect, but when she was older she began to join her mother, and sometimes Pound, at Olga's house in Venice. There Mary Rudge was exposed to a world of culture, literature and politics. In the Tyrolean village she had access to only two books, but when with her parents, she made full use of a large library, was expected to speak Italian, and to wear white gloves. As a teenager she moved away from the mountains and at that point, Pound took her education in hand. During the years Pound was broadcasting for Rome radio, he was simultaneously taking time to teach his daughter literature, telling her "I can only teach you the profession I know."

During World War II her mother lost possession of her house in Venice, and Mary moved for a period with Olga to Rapallo. She was later sent back to Gais when Pound brought his legal wife, Dorothy Shakespear, to live with Olga for a period during the war. During this period, Rudge worked in a German hospital in Italy. She was 19 when her father finally told her about his other family: his wife Dorothy and son Omar. When she returned to Rapallo, she found her father had been arrested on treason charges because of his broadcasts; he was being held at the "Disciplinary Training Center" in Pisa. Pound was taken from Pisa to the US, where he was found mentally incompetent for trial. He was committed for the next 12 years at St. Elizabeths hospital, where he continued to receive his wife, friends and literary visitors, as well as to write. On his release, Pound returned to Italy. He lived for a period with his daughter Mary and her family at Brunnenburg.

In 1946 at the age of 21, Mary had married Egyptologist Boris de Rachewiltz. Their son was born in 1947, followed by a daughter two years later. They bought and renovated for their residence Brunnenburg Castle in the Italian Tyrol. Years later in 1971 she published an autobiography, Discretions. The following year her father died in Venice.

In the 1980s de Rachewiltz published the first dual-language edition of her father's epic poem, The Cantos, which he began work on in the years before 1915 and continued throughout his life until his death. She is curator of the Ezra Pound Archive, Center for the Study of Ezra Pound and His Contemporaries, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, at Yale University. De Rachewiltz studied at Radcliffe between 1973 and 1975. She has since presented lectures about her father's work and modernism throughout the US and Canada. She collected and co-edited with biographer David Moody, her father's letters written to his parents, published in 2011 as Ezra Pound to His Parents.

Today de Rachewiltz continues to live in the Italian Tyrol at Schloss Brunnenburg, the medieval castle which she and her husband, Egyptologist Boris de Rachewiltz, bought and renovated.


External links

  • Ezra Pound Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

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