Article Index










To Homer Pound, 8 January 1928, Rapallo

L/HP 646

Dear Dad


Have packed up a small portion of the Guido critique


From T. S. Eliot 11 January 1928

L/TSE 4: 7

Dear Ezra,

[…] I have discussed carefully the question of a complete text reproduction of Guido [Cavalcanti] with the business people here and others and they consider that the cost would be prohibitive. It would make the initial outlay about double: that is to say from close on to a thousand pounds; and they don’t quite see their way. What they would be very keen to have, however, would be a complete variorum edition and they would like to know what you have to say about that. Also, as my own idea, I should like to enquire if there is any portrait of Guido which could be reproduced to make a frontispiece, or alternatively, for the same purpose, some selected piece of manuscript genuinely in his own handwriting. 



To T. S. Eliot, 15 January 1928 

L/TSE 4: 14

A complete variorum of Guido would be a pedantic imbecility. There are 81 MSS and 95% of the variations are of no interest whatsoever. …

There is no portrait. There are no scraps of the gent’s own handwriting (nor are there of Dante’s, whose stuff is much more voluminously preserved) … Why the hell should they think I want to spend time on making a complete variorum for nothing? …

Why it shd take 600 pund to reproduce 50 photos, some of ’em only about 3 inches square I don’t quite make out. 

Of course you have no means of knowing it, but given the condition of the MSS a “complete variorum”, is THE shit, and to a degree almost passing the bounds of the most pre-war-teutonic imbecility… [T]he proposed facsimiles were intended to STOP the godbloody idiocy and illegibility of excessive varia, and stupid discussion of same. 

Note: Though Pound protested so energetically, the nature of his project changed when projected publications with Faber and later Aquila Press fell through. The book became a critical edition of Cavalcanti’s original text, with variants from a series of historical editions. These were presented in the appendix to Rime 1932. He would also keep to his intention of introducing facsimile reproductions of manuscript pages. Translations would be kept but not for all poems by Cavalcanti.


From T. S. Eliot 10 February 1928

L/TSE 4: 43

Rabbit ben Ezzum


Am waiting to hear your figures for reproductions of Guido MSS.


Ezra Pound’s essay, “Medievalism and Medievalism: Guido Cavalcanti” is published in The Dial, March 1928.


From T. S. Eliot to Mario Praz, 14 June 1928

L/TSE 4: 178

My dear Praz,

I am taking the liberty of asking your opinion so far as you can give one off-hand, on our forthcoming edition of Guido Cavalcanti about which I told you. It is, you may remember, to be published together with the translations by Ezra Pound and Rossetti and with textual criticism. Pound is extremely desirous of including collotype reproductions of the manuscript. He is convinced that these reproductions would add very much to the value of the book from the point of view of universities and libraries. These reproductions would of course add to the cost, and we do not want to go to that trouble and expense unless it will really make a difference to a monumental edition. What is your opinion so far as you can give me?


Pound’s first translation of Cavalcanti’s canzone, ‘Donna mi Prega,’ is published in The Dial, July 1928.


From T. S. Eliot, 6 October 1928

L/TSE 4: 278

Have had discussions about Guido reps. With DeLaMare and others; upshot seems to be that we can only afford them if we can get enough American support. DeLaMare was to figger out how much support needed. This sort of thing is primarily his job & he is supposed to be authority on prices of production of books. Pussume you shall hear from him presently; I will stir him up on Monday.


To Homer Pound, 4 October 1928 [Rome]

L/HP 669

Dear Dad:

Been sweating in Vatican library, etc.

Have now photos of mss for half the G. Cavalcanti.

& pubshrs. Not wanting to print ’em

Cantos reported in print. [A Draft of the Cantos 17-27].


To Isabel Weston Pound, after 30 October 1928, Venice

L/HP 671

Dear Mother


Saw 2 more Guido mss. in Verona on my way here. Still waiting contract. etc


To Isabel Weston Pound, 10 November 1928, Rapallo

L/HP 671

Dear Mother


Swamped in medieval philosophy necessary for notes on edtn. of G. Cav.

[…] Adrian Kent (pittore) is gone to Firenze and kicking my fotografer into action re more G. Cav. fotos.

Am vainly trying to make one or two of the early G. C. traductions readable, which they never were before. Don’t expect it will have much effect.


To Homer Pound, 23 November 1928, Rapallo

L/HP 672

Dear Dad:


Still plugging on Guido. No end to job. 


17-27 looks very handsome.


To T. S. Eliot, 29 November 1928

L/TSE 4: 342

You will be glad to hear that Mr Yeats, unable to do the comment on Guido, now announces a small brochure on your old frien Ezry!!!

‘/// So you wont be alone.////

What I’m getting at is this. I hear circumventiously that you write introds. fer A., B., C, etc …

Was your rash outbreak about wanting to edit my prose, polite hot air, or wd you prefer it to doing Wilkie Collins, etc.

On a basis of 25% of royalties up to 5000 copies. I.E. 25% of whatever royalties were accorded to the edited author??


To Homer Pound, 2 December 1928 Rapallo

L/HP 673

Dear Dad

The Guido is out of the house all except the photos, some ov which are still to arrive.


Haven’t yet recovered from the Guido. Covici has died on the machine book. 


From T. S. Eliot, 3 December 1928

L/TSE 4: 342

Dear Rabbit,


Well now about the Prose book the points is two If the Poems goes Off well. Has there seems some reason to Believe then I shd Propose next. A Selected Prose book But Has you say I am ignorant I shd suggest You select first and then I select and then you select If you See my meaning But as for Daniel Book that will Depend not on Selected poems but Of course on success of Cavalcanti I understand Has you say that daylight as finally been Seen between DeLaMare & you, so Hopes matters will go forward.


Fix up Guido as soon as possible and I shall approach selected prose next so now no more I will close


  • The volume of poems Eliot mentions is Pound’s Selected Poems which had been just published by Faber on 23 November 1928 (Gallup 45). 
  • Eliot and Pound now are talking about a volume of selected prose that would be finalized as Make It New (1934) which would contain Pound’s interim periodical articles and translations meant to be included in the Faber Cavalcanti project and published in the Dial


To Homer Pound, 8 December 1928 Rapallo

L/HP 675

Dear Dad:


Have had sample page of the Guido.


To Homer Pound, 20 December 1928 Rapallo


Dear Dad:


Few more Guido fotos. recd. from Dazzi this a.m.


Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2