Article Index






guidi canto 14

If Canto 14 is like the Inferno in some ways, it is unlike it in others. Dante’s hell is vast, varied, and not “without dignity, without tragedy.” Dante’s pilgrim is moved at times to contempt, at times to compassion, as he meets with individuals, personalities, a wider range than in either Purgatory or Paradise. The most intense suffering reserved for Dante’s damned is something Pound denies his: awareness of the state to which they have brought themselves. The souls Dante meets still seek news from home and beg him to bring back messages to the living. Pound has deliberately stripped his minihell of all but a grotesque pantomime of humanity. [...]

It is clear to us that the denizens of Canto 14 are suffering, or should be. They are unaware of it; their hell is a world they make and take for granted. What suffering they know is the same they would have had back at the office. They howl, not in physical or spiritual pain, but in frustration. [...] In hell, they go about their normal business, addressing crowds, running printing presses, preaching sermons, obscuring texts that might reveal uncomfortable truths. The awareness of the stink, the rot, the shit dripping through the air is all the poet’s and ours.

George Kearns. Guide to Ezra Pound’s Selected Cantos, 62-63.






canto 14 1925

cantos 1930 14

Canto XIV in A Draft of XVI Cantos.
Paris: Three Mountains Press, 1925.
Illustrations by Henry Strater.

Canto XIV in A Draft of XXX Cantos.
Paris: Hours Press, 1930.
Capitals by Dorothy Pound.

Note: The above images are not to scale. The 1925 edition is a folio, whereas the 1930 one is pocket-size.


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  1. “Resolution 68,” Lambeth Conference 1920. “Lambeth Conference.” Wikipedia.
  2. Anderson, Charlie. “Irish Easter Rising Killer Takes Refuge in British Columbia.” Vancouver Sun 23 April 2016. Free online.
  3. Badian, E. “Gaius Verres.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Free online.
  4. Brooker, Peter. “from Canto XIV.” A Student's Guide to the Selected Poems of Ezra Pound. London: Faber 1979. 259-63.
  5. Davenport Hines, Richard. “Basil Zaharoff.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  6. Eliot, T. S. The Poems of T. S. Eliot. Eds. Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue. Vol. I. London: Faber & Faber, 2015.
  7. Froula, Christine. “From Canto XIV.” A Guide to Ezra Pound's Selected Poems. New York: New Directions, 1983. 259-63.
  8. Grayzel, Susan. R. Women’s Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War. Chapel Hill and London: U of North Carolina Press, 1999.
  9. Hofer, Matthew. “Modernist Polemic: Ezra Pound v. “the perverters of language.” Modernism/modernity 9.3 (2002): 463-489.
  10. Kibble, Matthew. “Modernism and the Daily Mail.Literature & History 11:1 (Spring 2002), 62-80.
  11. Terrell, Carroll F.  “The Hell Cantos.” A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1996. 64-68.



  1. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XIV.” Diamond point, lift and etched copperplate. 2012. Paulus Vidius Blog.
  2. Flemish School. Portrait of the young Jean Calvin. Oil on panel, 16th century. Bibliothèque publique et universitaire Genève. Wikimedia Commons.



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Cantos LII - LXXI

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