Why were so many prominent modernist writers and philosophers attracted to fascist or authoritarian regimes in the first half of the twentieth century? A list of those who were not—Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Thomas Mann, and Robert Musil—pales in comparison to a list of those who were—Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Knut Hamsun, Paul de Man, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Filippo Marinetti, Martin Heidegger, Robert Brasillach, and a host of others. Add to the latter the name of Gertrude Stein, one of the most avant-garde of modernist writers in the English language, who was also—it turns out—a committed supporter of Philippe Pétain, head of state of the pro-Nazi collaborationist Vichy regime in France during the Second World War.
The Romans burnt the books of the Jews, of the Christians
and the Philosophers; the Jews burnt the books of the Christians and Pagans; and the Christians burnt the books of the Pagans and Jews.
[Senator Fulbright] is a revolving son of a bitch. You know what a revolving son of a bitch is, don’t you? That’s a son of a bitch any way you look at him.
Lyndon B. Johnson, on Senator William Fulbright, according to George Christian