Roxana Preda initiated The Cantos Project in the months following the London Conference in 2011. She solicited copyright permission from New Directions and Mary de Rachewiltz, outlining the rationale of the project and the needs it was meant to address. The primary goals of the project are twofold: maintain and develop the current and future readership of the poem through multimedia annotation; further, provide a space where the community of Pound scholars, as well as students of the poem can find the best work of the past, talk to each other and develop the scholarship of the future. The Cantos Project is an interactive, dynamic website where scholars can intervene, create glosses, update existing annotation, upload essays, images and audio material, initiate discussion threads, and communicate with other scholars.
Permission to proceed was graciously granted by New Directions in February 2012 and formally reinforced in March 2013. The negotiations established that only six cantos would be available for display at any one time.
At the request of New Directions, Roxana assembled a board of scholars who agreed to supervise the project as a whole.
This board consists of:
Prof. David A. Moody,
Prof. Ron Bush,
Prof. Walter Baumann, (UK),
Prof. Richard Sieburth,
Prof. Alec Marsh, (US),
Prof. Massimo Bacigalupo (Italy),
Prof. Leon Surette
Prof. Demetres Tryphonopoulos (Canada).
Prof. Ira Nadel
Organization of the site:
The scholarship and the audio-visual material is to be organized on four levels, as the pages of The Cantos Project proceed:
- Homepage level – books on The Cantos as a whole, first as a bibliography, then including links to full electronic texts wherever possible.
- Cycle level – books and articles focused on the specific sections of the poem.
- Canto title page level – articles focused on the individual canto interpretation and relations to its sources.
- Canto lines level – multimedia annotation.
Levels of access:
- non-registered users will be able to read the cantos text and the annotation, look at the illustrations and become familiar with everything happening on the website, events, reviews, existing discussions.
- Contributors will be able to upload their own materials, whether essays, reviews, illustrations, video or recordings. When registering as contributors, they fill out a form with their university affiliation.
- Editors are managing the site, providing the first input and evaluating contributions. Scholars who would like a deeper involvement with the project and wish to become editors themselves, please make contact with senior editor, Roxana Preda through the website contact form.
Annotation will be of two kinds:
- minimal - for readers who need essential information or a reminder. This annotation will look like an electronic card which opens when the reader hovers over an underlined word. The advantage of minimal annotation is that s/he will not leave the page and the reading of the poem can proceed almost continuously. The annotation will disappear as soon as the user moves the mouse.
- Extended – which opens a new page and can be developed in detail by subsequent contributions. The extended annotation opens when the reader clicks on a linked word.
To ensure full verifiability, the annotations will be numbered and referenced. As the work proceeds, the glosses will be transferred to an online companion on the site.
In principle, the editors will provide the minimal annotation, which will work as a basis for the extended one. Scholars will be able to change, update or develop the glosses, which in turn will be subjected to the control of the editors and the scholarly board.
The editors will submit every annotated canto to the scholarly board before publishing on the site.
II. The poem text:
The text displayed on the site will be that of the latest New Directions edition so as to ensure continuity between the electronic text and the hard copy edition for the contemporary reader.
Readings of the cantos will be provided from the audio player on the title page of every canto. It is the editors’ goal to link every poem to the old readings (now preserved at Penn Sound) and to open the way to new, contemporary ones.