CANTO XXIV

 

 

 

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“ART” which means for many people “painting” or “painting and sculpture” flourishes as a luxury-trade, in comparison with literature, or poetry, “the consolation of the poor,” which merely “exists.” Music flourishes in large cities when it provides a circus for the display of osprey plumage, etc.

This is no new thesis, and whatever virtue these notes on art may have had, they have always aimed at sorting out the art which is discovery, invention, clarification, analysis of perception, expression; from the “art” which is adjunct to the various luxury trades. 

It is, possibly, to the advantage, and certainly to the disadvantage, of the painter and painting, that “art” should be capable of this ambiguous blending and borderland;

Ezra Pound as B. H. Dias in the New Age XXVI.15 (12 February 1920). P&P IV: 14.

 

History taken as a lesson, and taking into account the difference between certainty and supposition, would be an exposition of the nature of events, rather than a chronicle of names.

Some events can be known only after centuries. We know, for example that Parisina d’Este incurred certain expenditures which were paid from the Ducal Treasury of Ferrara, and we also know the date of these payments. Other deeds are never explained and must remain enigmas of the participants. A signed letter proves what the writer wanted the recipient to believe on such and such a day. But the clarity of an idea remains among the ASCERTAINED facts. The definition of an idea, as observed by someone who understands the events of the day, may shed more light on the historical process than many volumes.

 Ezra Pound. (1944). “The Economic Nature of the United States.” Selected Prose 169.

 

RELATED CANTOS

CANTO I [the hero’s sea voyage]

MALATESTA: CANTOS 8-11 [lords of the quattrocento: Niccolò d’Este versus Sigismondo Malatesta]

CANTO XX [Ferrara at the time of Niccolò’s son, Borso d'Este; Schifanoia Palace]

CANTO XXI [Ferrara vs. Florence in the 15th century; politics of Niccolò d’Este compared to Lorenzo de Medici]

CANTO XL [voyage to Africa]

CANTO L [Napoleon in Italy]

 

Cantos in periodicals

Three Cantos (Ur-Cantos)

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A Draft of XXX Cantos

A Draft of XVI Cantos

Cantos XXVIII-XXX

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Cantos LII-LXXI

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