Richard Aldington and His Postscript
MIRIAM J. BENKOVITZ
AT the Rare Book and Manuscript Library are the proofs
Z^ for Ezra Pound ^ T. S. Eliot: A Lecture by Richard
A )\ Aldington, published at George Sims' Peacocks Press
in 1954. The proofs end with a postscript. That postscript appears
only in the proofs. Aldington composed it thirteen years after the
lecture and added it for publication; then it was deleted at the re¬
quest of Sims, the publisher, who objected to it as a gratuitous
exhibition of anti-Americanism.
Ezra Pound ir T. S. Eliot is one of five lectures which Alding¬
ton, English poet, novelist, and biographer, delivered at Columbia
University in late July and early August 1940. With Netta, his
wife, and Catherine, their infant daughter, he had come from Le
Canadel, a French village on the Mediterranean, to New York in
February 1939. He was only one of a number of musicians, artists
and writers who left the imminence of war in Europe for the
United States. Aldington spoke of a few in his letters: W. H.
Auden, Andre Spire, Wyndham Lewis, John Rothenstein (en
route back to England), and the playwright Frederick Lonsdale.
Ezra Pound was also in America briefly in 1939, having come from
Italy, but only to promote his brand of political economics and to
receive an honorary degree from Hamilton College. Most of the
others were trying to stabilize their lives and to support themselves
and their families. If they were literary figures, as Aldington
was, they were "chasing over" New York, "interviewing editors
and coming back to write articles." Many, including Aldington,
were hoping for university appointments but settling for engage¬
ments to read their work and talk about it to university students.
Although he complained of the time involved, "two or three days
to prepare the lecture" and the "best part of 2 days in travel," and
he thought the fees inadequate, "only 20 pounds" less "about
tliree pounds traveling expenses," Aldington made several such