Everyone knows that all authors are totally crazy, right? After all, that’s what makes so many of them so brilliant. But today, on the anniversary of Ezra Pound’s federally mandated release from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane, where he had been held for 13 years following his arrest on charges of treason, we celebrate those authors who have actually been institutionalized for their mental illnesses (or, in some cases, for what others thought was mental illness). Ezra Pound
In 1945, following his arrest in Italy for treason, Pound was transferred to the United States, where he was promptly installed in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington, DC. He was, whether correctly or not, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and retained there for 13 years. During that time, he settled in, working on his translations of Sophocles’s Women of Trachis and Electra, as well as The Cantos, and entertaining many visitors. Though Pound was relatively happy, his friends tried to get him released — in 1954, after he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, Hemingway remarked to Time magazine that “this would be a good year to release poets.” On April 18, 1958, a federal court ruled that he should no longer be held, and Pound was free.