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Olga Rudge

Olga Rudge (13 April 1895 – 15 March 1996) was an American-born concert violinist, now mainly remembered as the long-time mistress of the poet Ezra Pound, by whom she had a daughter, Mary.

A gifted concert violinist of international repute, her considerable talents and reputation were eventually eclipsed by those of her lover, in whose shade she appeared content to remain. In return, Pound was more loyal, not to say faithful, to her than to any of his many other mistresses. He dedicated the final stanza of his epic ''The Cantos'' to her, in homage and gratitude for her courageous and loyal support of Pound during his 13-year incarceration in a mental hospital after having been indicted for treasonous activities against the United States and in support of Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. She also defended Pound against the accusation that he was anti-Semitic. During the last 11 years of Pound's life, Rudge was his devoted companion, secretary, and nurse, as he sank into eccentricity and prolonged silences.

Rudge survived Pound by twenty-four years, remaining in the small house in Venice she had shared with him. In her declining years, an ongoing difficult relationship with Mary, her only child, left her vulnerable to the attention of parties with ulterior motives, resulting in the sad situation described in John Berendt's ''The City of Falling Angels'', in which Rudge could not account for how Pound's papers and letters in her possession had found their way to Yale University. Failing health eventually forced her to leave her beloved Venice and spend her final days with her daughter. Rudge died a month before her 101st birthday and is buried next to Pound in Venice's Isola di San Michele cemetery.
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