Article Index




 32 Wang Anshi



Tchun of TANG a.d. 805 Ngan’s Reforms

Nineteenth Dynasty SUNG 960

 Ezra Pound The Cantos New York: New Directions, 1998. 255


Through the first third of canto 55 things go on in much the same way for another century and a half, as in a repeating pattern, in the fabric of time, until the rise of the Sung dynasty under whom China enjoyed both a renaissance and a fatal loss of will. […] then in the eleventh century came Ngan [Wang Anshi], the next great reformer after Confucius. He re-established the regulation of markets, that the right price of things be set daily, that a market tax should go to the emperor and the poor be thus relieved of charges, and that commerce be enlivened ‘by making to circulate the whole realm’s abundance’. […] 

Ngan’s thoroughly Confucian reforms worked for twenty years, yet they were not only complained about by the mandarins and rich merchants whose greed they were designed to constrain, but were argued against as too radical and impractical by a fellow minister, Ssé-ma Kouang [Sima Guang], who had them rescinded. Yet Ssé-ma Kouang was the great Confucian scholar who put together the Comprehensive Mirror for the Aid of Government. When he died, ‘merchants in Caïfong put up their shutters in mourning’; but Ngan’s fate was to be driven from office, vilified by conservative Confucians as guilty of Taoist and Buddhist errors. 

David Moody, Ezra Pound: Poet II: 279





 640px Sima Guang of Song



  1. Nolde, John J. “The Sources for Canto LV.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 7.1-2 (1978): 189-247.



  1. Cookson, William. “Tchun of T’ang 805 AD – Ngan’s Reforms – Sung Dynasty.” A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2009. 82-4.
  2. De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: LV.” Ezra Pound. I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1545-6. 
  3. Driscoll, John. “Canto 55 and the Reforms of Ouang-ngan-ché.” In The “China Cantos” of Ezra Pound. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wicksell, 1983. 94-105.
  4. Fang, Achilles. “Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos.” 4 vols. Diss. Harvard U, 1958. Vol I: 124-33.
  5. Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto LV.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. 1278-81. 
  6. Moody, David A. Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and His Work. II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 279-80.
  7. Nolde, John. “Canto LV.” In Blossoms from the East. The China Cantos of Ezra Pound. Orono: National Poetry Foundation 1983. 188-246.
  8. Terrell, Carroll F. “Canto LV.” In Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound.” Berkeley: U of California P., 1980. I: 227-35.



  1. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto LV.” Diamond Point intaglio, selective hard ground, lift, etch, aquatint, copperplate. Printed on Arches 88 paper., 25 March 2014. Free online.
  2. Sellar, Gordon. “Canto LV. Plus, What Do Ezra Pound, Robert Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, and Sun Ra Have In Common?” Part 42 of 56 in the series Blogging Ezra Pound’s The Cantos., 22 October 2013. Free online.



A Draft of XXX Cantos

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Eleven New Cantos

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