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Whereas we cannot establish when exactly the bulk of the composition took place, we can at present state that it was done sometime between February (when canto 46 was completed) and October 1936 (when Pound retyped the whole Fifth Decad and sent it to Olga). It was composed of textual elements that had shown up in cantos 5 and 23, so it refers back to A Draft of XXX Cantos. It makes use of readings Pound made while working of the Eleven New Cantos and echoes of material in cantos 33 and 41. According to Mike Malm, who made the genetic analysis and the stemma of canto 48, the canto went into multiple stages of revision in which some elements were included and some were left out of the final draft (Malm 83). 



Correspondence by Ezra Pound: ©Mary de Rachewiltz and the Estate of Omar S. Pound. Reproduced by permission.




Pound/Laughlin. Selected Letters. Ed. David M. Gordon. New York: Norton, 1994.


Pound, Ezra. The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D. D. Paige. New York: New Directions, 1971.


Beinecke Library, Yale University New Haven. Olga Rudge Papers, YCAL 54 Box no/Folder no.



To W. H. D. Rouse, 30 December 1934

SL 262-3

Dear Dr. Rouse,


Along with direct teaching of the language, is there any attempt to teach real history? “Roman mortgages 6%, in Bithynia 12%.”

I have been for two years in a boil of fury with the dominant usury that impedes every human act, that keeps good books out of print, and pejorates everything.

[...] [263]

Until Latin teaching faces the economic fact in Latin history, it may as well leave out history. History without econ. is just gibberish. My generation was brought up in black ignorance. Wherever one looks–printing, publishing, schooling–the black hand of the banker blots out the sun. 


Granted the bulk of the sabotage and obstruction is economic and nothing else, there is the fact to be faced that the modern world has lost a kind of contact with and love for the classics which it had, not only in the 18th Century and in the Renaissance (part snobbism), but throughout the Middle Ages, when in one sense it knew much less. 

And life is impoverished thereby. 

“The truth makes its own style.” But education has been so rotten at the core, so falsified that every learning has fallen into contempt.


Have I finally got around to my plea: for some means of communicating the classics to the great mass of people, by no means foreordained to eternal darkness, who weren’t taught Greek in infancy?




To J. Laughlin, 31 January [1936]

L/JL 54-5

Canto XLVI, sent this a/m, not to be confused with the USURA canto, mentioned before. XLVI (46) is destined for New Dem[ocracy]/

The USURA is more suited to some non/ econ publication. Harriet ought to PAY for it.


To Olga Rudge, 30 October 1936. Anno XIV, Rapallo

YCAL 54, 17/447

Ziao Amure

He has typed out some sort of a draft fer the rest of 42/51. That is he has typed new all except the four he did in Venez [cantos 42-44, 50] and the one printed in Nude Emocracy [46].

only he haint got the forza to read it thru YET; but if/when he gits it; he may send on a carbong. an thazatt. 

He izza sumin that with 42/44 and 46 and 50; the rest fit in and FLOW. only he don’t KNOW it yet.


waal he thinks hiz attempt at elucidatin the 42/51 iz about all than can be xxpected of him fer the momeng.


printed in Nude Emocracy – Pound published canto 46 in the American Social Credit journal New Democracy on March 1936.

Pound did send Olga all the carbons of the Fifth Decad, apart from canto 50, which he said she had already. They are preserved at the Beinecke Library in the same folder as the letter.

A Draft of XXX Cantos

ship4 for c1