monte dei paschi title page


According to [Earle] Davis, Cantos 31 to 51 are used by Pound to develop economic ideas and to establish Pound’s distinction between institutions/persons assuming social responsibility and those engaged in increasing their own profit at the public’s cost. The juxtaposition of economic responsibility with reckless profiteering is one of the recurring binary oppositions in The Fifth Decad, while the contrast of natural fertility and sterility is another. Cantos 42 to 51 also confront political-economic disorder with order. Disorder is signified by war (C46.231, C50.246) and debt (C46.231, C49.245). Order is defined by the presence of strong rulers (C49.245, C50.246) and of a higher, metaphysical power (C49.245, C51.250). The poems of the decad develop in constant tension between those opposites. In fact, juxtaposition is one of the decad’s major stylistic devices, It testifies to Pound’s antithetical mode of thinking, which became increasingly more contrastive during the 1930s and early 1940s.

Mike Malm Editing Economic History: Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos. 204.


Note on colours used in the table above: green for links to the canto with annotation; violet for links to the Companion to the canto.










The Fifth Decad of Cantos. London: Faber, 3 June 1937.



The Fifth Decad of Cantos. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 29 November 1937.



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




Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound and James Laughlin: Selected Letters. Ed. David M. Gordon. New York: Norton, 1994.


Eliot, Thomas Stearns. The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Volume 8: 1936-1938. Eds. Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden. London: Faber, 2019.


Beinecke Library, Ezra Pound Papers, YCAL Mss 43; Olga Rudge Papers, YCAL Mss 54. Box no/ Folder no.





London: Faber, June 1937




 October 1935 -May 1936 - The second Italo-Ethiopian War. Ethiopia is incorporated into Italy.

July 1936 – the Spanish civil war breaks out.



From T. S. Eliot, 2 April 1936

L/TSE 8: 135

Ras Ez:


Never Mind, but I wd. like to see about 30 mo cantoes & trust you still have a little time left for that from other activities and one or two in the Criterion from time to time might help to keep yr name green but our flat rate is a pount a page and no exceptions. 


From Frank Morley, 10 September 1936

YCAL 43, 35/ 1484

Oh Bounding Ezro:


Naow, as to Critererium. When I this minute got your piece of the 7th about the music article, I rushed to see what chances of insertion. There aint no chances. The Octobeerium is already printed yet, and comin in for transport on Monday, so there’s nuthin I could do throwing somebody else out on his ear and puttin old Ezro in. Yet what about the Decembeerium. If you dunt useable the piece elsewhere, send him along, and most partikly the three cantos which you speak of in your undated letter, and the text of “Fish, silent children of the pure”. Looks to me – not that I wish to usurp any of the Possum’s Quills – that that is just what would be meat and drink.

Now as to the big boy Palmerston, glad you has some respect for him; but you don’t know how I is having to argue with Longmans fur a copy of same. Will have to report on him later.


The three cantos - The Siena Cantos, 42-44, which Pound wanted to publish in The Criterion, before the publication of the volume of the Fifth Decad.

Possum – T. S. Eliot.

Palmerston – British politician and Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria. Pound was reading H. C. F. Bell’s biography of him and wanted to write a review for The Criterion. The biography, published at Longmans in two volumes, was about 800 pages long. In the end, Pound gave up the review, but mentioned Palmerston in canto 42.


To Frank Morley, 28 September [1936]

YCAL 43, 35/1484



Naow about Bellies PalMiston. I want the Cantos and the Venice Music in the DecM or Jan. or whatever Critererium and that is ENUFF.

Also I want to do a proper article on Palmerston.

And cant promise to hold down to 100 words. After all Longmans 42 bob. And two vols. Needs probably more, 

I wdn’t if it wuzza punk book, but it is a damn good one. 

I suggest it be reviewed in Sprung Critererium at proper length. Not one 3000.


Waal, I spoze you and D.P will have had all the transact you can bizniz.

Wot with Cantos, and PALIO with one L.

(3 fer Critererium and 10 fer wollump)

And the Muzik, and the proves of Polecat Essays.


Whale – Pound’s nickname for Frank Morley, which the editor cheerfully adopted for himself. In their correspondence, Eliot is the Elephant or the Possum; Morley is the Whale or Cetus, and Pound the Panthus. 

D.P – Dorothy Pound, who was in London at the time and met with Morley in person.

Polecat Essays – Pound’s volume of Polite Essays, which was published by Faber on 11 February 1937.


From Frank Morley, 30 September 1936

YCAL 43, 35/ 1484

Dear Ezra:


D.P. is coming to see me on Thursday, and I look forward to the palaver. In the meantime I salute, o Mantovano, the notion of some more Cantos in the spring-time. That’s pussonly the best news of the week meanin in the spirichool way. I will tell the boys at the abdominal meeting to-morrow, and I will tell old Possum when he gets back from his six-day bicycling race. 


To Olga Rudge, 28 October 1936

YCAL 54, 17/447



This room still a mess of papers; but boring thru.

Nexxx job iz to git them canters in order.


he got nuffink to say till he gits thet buk of canters orf hiz chest.


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 and the one printed in Nude Emocracy.

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.


the four he did in Venez – cantos 42, 43, 44 and 50.

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

Pound did send on all the carbons of the Fifth Decad, apart from 50 which he said she had already.


To Frank Morley, 2 November 1936

YCAL 43, 35/1484

Mool AhYear

My ole protozoic Cetoplasm. I just opened my AB OF ECON. 

It is about FOUH yeerz since it came out.

A great deal of other mens pseudocomics has passed into the swill pail.

What about a little AD/vert/ing to effect that what EZ/ then said still mostly stands.

general acceptance crawling toward then EZ.


I shd. favour a little stirring of the stagnant on that line when you advert PERLITES and/or the Gnu canters.

I know you blokes don go in fer publicity but still…

The Canters will automat/ stir a little mud re/ earlier canters.

And a line or two really asserting that fancy sects have wasted time by neglictin my BASIC remarks.

And other have been edging toward same, without improving ’em.

Might cite DeKruif’s remarks.

From Coughlin to Mosley; Dougite/ Quarterly and Fasc/ Quarterly and Farinacci’s La Vita Italiana

Volitionist Q printed in divers countries/ Mering Post letter course. Etc.

There is IDLE stock, and as much to yr/ advt. to sell it as to mine.

Me spowz sez yu thought CANTERS wuz right for the NEXT and I AGGGGree; but a li’l Revival iz no wastage.

NOTHINK like lookink forward.

You stir a little on the AB line. and mebbe I’ll concede something aesthetic to foller the CANTERZ

OUGHT to sell out the furs ted/ of AB

And then de a revision with adjuncts.

That might be in 1936.

Simply bullsht to have people STILL talking about Keynes az a kneeconomist;

Buggar never got above any gal’s ankle.

Itz also the pt/ re my Jeff/m not HOW many fools read it; but WHO read it; and what it satred [sic] ’em thinkink

Gheez; you might even wake the Critereerium if that sort of Critter/ion wuz interjuiced.

I knew I havv ter keep a pushink/ cause elephants haz sore feet… easy…

Two readerz haz peerused to 51. thaZATT. and say the goink aint so rocky.


AB OF ECON – Morley had accepted to print Pound’s ABC of Economics at Faber in 1933.

PERLITES and/or the Gnu canters – Pound’s Polite Essays and the new Cantos (Fifth Decad) were both published at Faber in 1937.

De Kruif – Paul De Kruif, American social reformer whom Pound converted to Social Credit (EPEC 436-7). 

Coughlin – Father Charles Coughlin, American Catholic clergyman who became a famous broadcaster on finance in the 1930s (EPEC 434). 

Mosley – Oswald Mosley, British politician, head of the British Union of Fascists (EPEC 465). 

Doug/ite Quarterly – The Douglas Social Credit quarterly review The Fig Tree, which started publication on 1 June 1936.

Fasc/ Quarterly – Pound probably refers to the British Union Quarterly, the official organ of the British fascists, edited by Alex Thomson. Pound became a regular contributor to the publication in 1937 (EPEC 480).

Farinacci's La Vita italiana – La Vita Italiana was a magazine founded by Giovanni Preziosi in 1913. In 1932, it was attached to Roberto Farinacci's journal, Regime fascista

Volitionist Q – Pound wrote and published the Volitionist Questionnaire in 1934. He also diffused it widely in his network of correspondents, soliciting feedback on it from economic reformers. It is reprinted in EPEC 419.

Jeff/m – Pound’s Jefferson and/or Mussolini. Fascism as I have seen it was published in London by Stanley Nott in 1935.


From Olga Rudge, 7 November 1936

YCAL 54, 17/450

Ciao Amore

Well she pleezzzed with all them Cantos – anno XV indeed will be a wuzz!!


From Frank Morley, 17 November 1936

YCAL 43, 35/1484

Dear old Ezro:

Have writ to Poppolligor fur bills of lading and documents for 5th decade. Have tickled little octopuses all along the sea-bed fur to welcome cantos in the spring-time; but if you is all agarb to burnish up for spring-time, better be agile and drop the way panthers do pretty quick from the branches; and if you say this is possible, I will write the god-damn catalogue description.

At this moment the reverend ellefunt presents a proboscis round the door; saying I am on no account to comment on your irreparable poem and say undue aspersions on the mausoleum. He’s abiling and abusting to fight his own battels. He aint built no roads, but he got solid merit. I expect his reproves and the buck is apprisin.


Poppolligor – Laurence Pollinger, Pound’s literary agent.

mausoleum – Eliot’s magazine, The Criterion.


From Laurence Pollinger, 23 November 1936

YCAL 43, 41/1735

Dear Ezra,

The Whale doesn’t see any reason why Faber cannot get on with fifth decade of CANTOS as soon as you can furbish them. If they are to be published in the Spring the Whale ought to write a blurb immediately for the catalogue. Faber are prepared for Spring if you are: the Whale thinks Spring better than Autumn: Can you furbish in time – that is to say, quick? The Whale thinks the contractual details should follow the POLITE ESSAYS contract – accrued advance on publication on account of 10% to 1500 copies sold and 15% beyond. Is that O.K?


To Olga Rudge, 23 November 1936

YCAL 54, 17/453

Ziao cara amure


And Mr Morley sez send on Cantos/ 42/51/


On 2 December 1936, Pound sends The Fifth Decad to Faber

as he tells Agnes Bedford in letter preserved at the Lilly Library. Malm 280.


From Frank Morley, 4 December 1936

YCAL 43, 35/ 1484


What I has been doing is giving lil Lallypo authorities to draw contracts for Cantos; now it is just up to you to gwan and hit up yo century.


Lallypo – Laurence Pollinger.


From T. S. Eliot, 4 December 1936

L/TSE 8: 398-9

Well Ez now let’s be Practical. Here we have a number of cantoes which look pretty good and considerably more thrillin than the middle lot for a generation of vipers that dont know so much about Van Buren as you Do; also a admirable retrospective article about Wyndham mostly though of a ramblin kind as befits the garrulity of age, and which I should like to Print. Well what do you Want printed in the next number? To begin with, you did NOT make it clear at all or if you made it clear to FVM, he did not make it clear to me, at the time you Remember that your first three cantoes arrived I was to the Westward, partakin of clam chowder and rum with the boys in Jonesport Maine, anyway when I came Back there was the three cantoes and I thought they were simply an instalment of the next instalment of cantoes which I presume is to be published by Faber & Faber in the autumn the fall of the year anyway thats my readin of it. Well it never occurred to me that Ez would let me have a canto for the Criterion unless he said so through a megaphone many times, not just slippin em in like that. Well I shd. of Course be Proud but Now obviously three THREE cantoes is too high a perportion to print all at once in the [399] Criterion or anywhere else what I mean is that is three out of ten which makes the book to put it concisely that is 3/10th of the book at a bang thats givin the public too much for their money in advance why the rest of the paper by itself is worth 7/6 and say 12/6 in all so in the interests of the book-instalment I say print no more than ONE cantoe and I’d like to have one about Usury. But that wd. mean postponing the Article to the Summer. Thats all right by me but wd like to consult your wishes first. And in these circumstances I cant see where Pam comes in for some time to come. Just you get clear about this and dont get any crooked ideas in yr tortuous Italian mind: I’m already all ready QUA editr. of the Criterion to print a batch of three cantoes all together BUT QUA dir. of this firm it seems to me serialising too much of the book in advance.


Than the middle lot – Eleven New Cantos 31-41.

Generation of vipers – “Oh generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” (Matthew 12: 34). (L/TSE n.4 398).

Article about Wyndham – “D’Artagnan Twenty Years After” was published in The Criterion 16 (July 1937): 606-17.

FVM – Frank Morley

THREE cantoes – cantos 42-44 (Siena Cantos), which Pound wanted to publish in the Criterion in advance of the volume of Fifth Decad.

Van Buren – Martin van Buren (1782-1862), American Democrat politician and statesman, President of the United States (1837-41), whose biography Pound used for canto 37.

Pam – Pound’s proposed review of C.H. Bell’s biography of Lord Palmerston. 


To T. S. Eliot, 6 December 1936

L/TSE 8: 399 n.3

Dear Eliot/


Harriet shat on Propertius and Thayer on Mauberley/ and the Waste Land profited by those insults… I don’t think I have every treated a yaller dawg in this manner but my memory may be at fault. 

Second Epistle

The USURY canto was sacrificed to “Prosperity” where they hid it in the small print… 42/44 can not be printed one afart from the other two… What does it matter the pubk/ getting too much. The job for decent men is to keep up the arts FIRST.


Harriet – Harriet Monroe, the editor of the literary magazine Poetry in Chicago published the first part of Homage to Sextus Propertius in instalments in 1917 and ceased publication when Prof. Hale protested against it criticizing Pound’s knowledge of Latin and ability as translator.

Thayer – the editor of The Dial, which published only the first six sections of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley on 3 September 1920 and misprinted the title as “H. S. Mauberly”

The USURY canto – canto 45.


From Frank Morley, 15 December 1936

YCAL 43, 35/1484

Dear old Ezro:

Grovelling along the bottom is a painful position for the whale to swim in. Any self-respecting whale would have exhibited all the little things he did in the laudamusses absence, all in a neat row where the big shot could see em, in their black and white, on his return to activity. Actually I made the mistake on relying on perceptions which apparently were not so quick as I thought. When I handed the great Josebus the three cantos, what I thought was said was what I had writ; yet evidently I didn’t say it in words of ten syllables. The result has been a frightful backswimming of whales and possums, each lathering hisself in an anguish of woe at causing any panthus tears. I don’t dast say anything about the moratorium, but what I hopes you will allow is serious publication in the March number of that of whatever possum can use, followed quickly after by the book publication in April or May, whichever is the cheerfulest month.

There was a kind of confusion and film over the secretariat’s eye else it would have been quicker in the uptake at seeing possum saw my letters in his absence. If you can forgive such a hiatus, do, for gawd’s sake, for there was no intent to deceive; and big as a whale is, he aint raring to fight no panthers.


the great Josebus – T.S. Eliot.

moratorium – Eliot's journal, The Criterion


To Frank Morley, [undated]

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Waaaal CETUS

HAZ somebody in th FIRM hadda shot ov ADRENALIN!???

Ov course I haint seed haaar nor hide ov them POLEcats/ but on sabbath morn it begun to rain proove/sheets. The critter sheets has/is gone/going BACK by this pust.

But for the WOLLUM. KY/rist. Will SOMEONE BUY the british Empire a DECENT font of greek type?

This fer the TO DIONA passages in XLVII.

IF no firm in England has the decency to own ANY proper greek tupe the caps/ of the transliteration ought to be reduced so as to make line of same length as the grrek. BUT SORR that greek font is LOUSY. It is unworthy of the firm of nursers and chasers/ it is unclean/ it is Baldwin it is Chamber/

I am not making identical suggestions for vol/ and fer Criterion as the type faces are so different.

For XLVI. gal/ II

The latin inscription to Ferdy/ can be centred it don’t need a pixchoor frame, like the Gibraltar club notice. On the other hand it cd. Be framed. The original inscription is not quite in that word order/ so that centering may be more suitable than a frame which wd/ imply the actual text of inscrip.

XLIX, gal 23. The Chinese words ought to be in columns and wider space between ’em.

To avoid ambiGuggity I suggest that the big L for 50 be preceded by small caps. Saying CANTO.

Just about this size.

Otherwise some simp will be looking for the rest of Bob L. Stevenson’s initials. 

And as an ultimate refinement of disposition I suggest that on next galley the EFFECT of alignment wd. be better is the stem of the Y was centred with the I and I above. rather than the tip of the Y.

OV course I aint brother Gill or Bruce Rogers, but I sometimes look at a page.

Sorry the kind bloke what marked the mss. In red wasn’t took’n no notice OV by you or the imprimeur. It wd. have saved correctin the proves in sevurul places. He even saw imitate has one HEM.

Owever too late to collect spare tears.

My wive she warn’t burry strong after them illness, and I do lean on the tender vine fer that thaar sort ov deeTail.

A final CHING MING will be sent yr/ design fer the Monte being considered squirrilous. Anyhow the Ching Ming shd/ enlighten the title page and also close the MUZIK of 51.

Makin a classy finish fer th wollumk.



From Laurence Pollinger, 22 January 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1736

Dear Ezra Pound,

Many thanks for yours of January 16th, the signed contract relating to Cantos 42-51 and duplicate of your letter.

Faber acknowledge the receipt of the agreement this morning. 


From T. S. Eliot, 19 February 1937

L/TSE 8: 505-6

Your corrections to the cantoes for book form seem pretty clear but one point is not clear You put in a little pink slip with on it FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOES Now is that when you want to call the book because it seems to me that it had beeter [sic] be uniform wit the fourth decad for convenience of collectors with tidy minds, but if you want to wrangle that point with us you better speak quick.


To T. S. Eliot, 21 February (D[ie] 11 di Quaresima [11th day of Lent])

L/TSE 8: 506 n.1

I SEZ the “FIFTH DECAD” wot don’t mean decay or decaydence/ and when I SEZ DECAD thaZatt/ And I have precedent more or less cause our ole friend Dant Alligator he divvys 100 inter 3 parts and gets 34 so damn uniformity ANYhow. DECAD sez Ez/ the Fifth Decad/ there is ten of ’em, thazza decad. REEMembur yr/ Livy only don’t call ’em TOES. Call ’em CANTOS.


To James Laughlin, 28 February 1937

L/JL 75



anyhow I have Korected prooves of 42/51.


From Faber & Faber, 6 March 1937

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Dear Mr. Pound,

I send you with this letter two sets of the page proofs, together with the corrected galleys, of THE FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS, one set of the page proofs marked with the printer’s reader’s queries for your attention. 


To Frank Morley, 14 March [1937]

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Dear Wh/hale

I grovel. Several Italian words are STILL misspelled in the page proof. The majority are in the three cantos which I did not personally prepare for the press (done on different machine, Corona with curls)

BUT some of ’em are in cantos I did send up from here, and are DUE to heedlessness on part of author/ fer which he apologizes.


Naow back when you wuzza scmall boye in short britches, there WUZ a practice called “Reading for thre the press”

And old Penny down at Chiswick used to do this, so I spose I got used to relyin on that sort of practice/

Now probably extinct in the course and curse of MUGress. Anyhow, somebody DID read the mss/ and marked a lot of single letter slips in red/

And to this making no attention wuz pd/ may have been done AFTER composition?

(to Mar = meaning to deface or damage??)

ANYHOW I DID’Nt go and lose them decent designs after keepin my tother half on a day she didn’t feel up to much respacing etc/ to git ’em RIGHT.

No use my putting list of errors on sep/ sheet, cause Obviously no such notes ever git carried from chief wigwam to profuctive PLANT or print shop.


To Frank Morley, n.d.

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Dear Whale

I suspect that my proofs have been sent to Delamare’s DAMNED department.

The greek face is filthy. AND the careful darwings made by D/P/ have been chucked in the waste basket

Instead of photoing her ideograph someone has gone and photed my scribble made on the page to indicate the place where the block shd/ be used.

Idem the Monte de Paschi block.

If you will send on the proofs of the proper blocks AND a proof of the pages where the greek is done in decent gk/ font as used in Polecat page 34

I will haste me then to git forrad wiff correctink the galleys


From Frank Morley, 15 March 1937

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Dear DF and Ezro:

That there last harpoon reached the Cetus below the thick rib, and you should have seed him raring round.    Of course the Greek type is going to be attended to; it shall be changed to the polecat font. And more especial: we have found the drawings, and blocks is being made instanter. Now you might think it odd that it should take any time to find the drawings, but the truth was I suspected they was part of the scenery of old Possums winter nest;  he collects papers of all kinds to keep his circulation dormant which he hibernates. It was only while I was so busy tearing through his impedimenta that his secretary dug into the hole that Cetus uses, and you wouldn't believe me, but the drawings had all the time been under my own thumb – successfully concealed unde a wrong entry – the letter with which you sent them was so hyperbolic that it was considered that they was illustrations of that rayther [sic] than the text. But hurrah and hurrah and hurrah, the glory is they is recovered, and all is saved except honour.

But it wd, save Time ef yeou cd trust us to insert new blocks & correct Gk – i.e. if yeou wd send the corrected galleys.

Could yeou?


From Frank Morley, 17 March 1937

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Dear Ezro:

Aint for panthers to grovel while whales has their bellies on the deeper bottom. Nevertheless I am grateful we has picked up our errors and discovered our moans in time; fer that is the mercy.

Hurrah to you for your letter of the 14th Marzo (for one page, for 2nd page headed CORRECTIONS NECESSARY, and for completed page proofs up to p. 53). These is carefully itemised to say what has been received, so help me God, and I think we can now dress and redress Greek and idiotgrams proply. 


To Frank Morley, 17 March [1937]

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Waaal; Cetus ProboterophereS

I hadda bout got roun’ to thinkin that EF you wuz jolted you might root down into the cellarage and dug up them etceteras/

So all clear and the proves WUZ started bak to youse on Monday before the wash goil had come for the doilies.

AN I don’t see haow you can go wrong on where to putt the blockes. One going where one now IZ and the tother after all is over, namely at the END termination or finnish of the wollum.

So go wiff gawd/ and git on wiff it. I will pray fer the greek hack/cents.

MIGHT even git the greek set EVEN,



OVER the schmall caps.

Wot I fink of the compositor at McLouse’s aint fer yr/ sekkertarry’s delicate eye. Or mebbe apart from the COL





And the tattle page it aint so bad/ some of the pages are well composed. By haccident or de/sign/j


From Dorothy Cowling, 19 April 1937

YCAL 43, 35/1485

Dear Mr Pound:

Your last correction, sent to Mr. Morley, arrived in time to be made, as did your request to Mr. Eliot that the Greek be centred above or below the text. Actually we had a set of revised proofs in order to check all the corrections after they'd been made. I read the Cantos for press at this end, enjoyed them very much, and can vouch for the printer's accuracy in the revised proofs. 


To John Lackay Brown, April 1937

SL 294

Dear Mr. Brown:


41-51 are in page proof. Should be out any day. I believe they are clearer than the preceding ones. 


From Laurence Pollinger, 1 June 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra

By the bye, the FIFTH DECADE OF CANTOS is due to come out this Wednesday. Faber are sending you the presentation copies direct.


The Fifth Decad of Cantos is published by Faber & Faber on 3 June 1937.


To Olga Rudge, 19 July 1937. Anno XV

YCAL 54, 17/468



And Whale he send couple of revs/ of 5 Decad/Time and Tide proper, and Dublin Times foolish.




New York: Farrar & Rinehart, November 1937




To James Laughlin, 2 December 1934

L/JL 36


Re/ the Cantos. I dunno whether farrar is printing the next 10 AT ONCE. or NOT at all. As god damn bastards have wasted a year and half NOT printing ABC////. 10 months NOT printing Jeff/Muss Three years NOT getting an Americ/ edtn/ How to read [...] The XXXI/XLI are shot out to instruct the pore god damn bloody pubk/ in history and economics... only loophole...



From Laurence Pollinger, 21 June 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra,

A.W. [Ann Watkins] is here and I have had a talk with her. She wants to handle the U.S.A. rights of your material and is going to take back with her copy of THE FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS with a view to showing it to Johnny Farrar and other likely publishers. I am also going to the Whale to let me have an advance set of proofs of GUIDE TO KULTURE and this A. W.  will take up with the Yale people first.

My suggestion is that you should correspond direct with A.W., letting me have carbon or your letters, if that is not going to be too much of a sweat. I will then know exactly what is going on over there.


From Laurence Pollinger, 6 July 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra,

Ann Watkins learns from Farrar & Rinehart that they have an option on FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS on the same terms as those for the two previous books of Cantos: $150.00 advance against a royalty of 15%. This advance is payable on publication and if the accrued royalties mount to more that $150.00 Farrar will pay that amount. I hope this information checks with your understanding and that it won’t be long before we shall have an agreement signed by Farrar together with duplicate for your completion and return.


To Laurence Pollinger, 8 July 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Pol

I don’t remember about the option, but better I suppose to have all the poem with the same pubr/

Please let the illustrious Ann NOTE for her private but henceforth official use, that Farrar put in an incredible charge for ALTERATIONS/

there is a clause in his contract about author paying for cost of alterations over 10% of printers charge


It can’t have been that amount/ there were about five lines altered/

NOTZ for the Fifth Decad that alterations mean CHANGES made by the author from the Faber text. over and above alteration made by me in corrected copy of that text to be submitted via Ann. Or if not submitted by the time they are ready to print, then in the Faber text as printed.




About the fifth decad/ I think there was an S to be put on a noun and taken off a verb/ but can’t find it at the moment. But IF any alterations need be made in the Faber edtn. I will do it by time the agreements are ready.


From Laurence Pollinger, 12 July 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Ezra,

Thanks for yours of July 8th, in duplicate, and postcard of July 9th. Watkins will, I hope, be letting us have Farrar and Rinehart’s signed contract for THE FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS, together with duplicate for your signature and return, in the course of the next few mails. I have sent her the duplicate of your letter about the alterations, etc.


To Laurence Pollinger, n.d. [20 July 1937]

YCAL 43, 41/1737

Dear Pol/


as per post card/ yester/ the CORRECTED copy of Fifth Decad, has gone to Ann’s N.Y. office registered.


From Laurence Pollinger, 8 September 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1738

Dear Ezra,


By this morning’s mail is a note from Ann Watkins which reads: –

“We are sending you two copies of the Farrar & Rinehart contract for FIFTH DECAD OF CANTOS. We understand from the publisher that this follows exactly the previous contracts. The drawing of this agreement was held up in the F. & R. office because of vacations. We believe that you and Mr. Pound may want to eliminate the option terms as stated in paragraph 1. One signed copy is to be returned to Farrar & Rinehart. If there are no changes made, we will then send you a confirmed copy for your files.”

The two copies of the agreement are attached.


To James Laughlin, 18 September 1937

L/JL 83


I believe arrangements have bust with Farrar re/ Cantos XL/L

Can N. Dir earn anything on THAT? 

(or cash in delux 51 C



From James Laughlin, 22 September 1937

L/JL 84

[…] Most important item wd. seem to be Cantos XL-L. I await yr. instructions. If you want me to print ’em, I’ll print ’em.


From Laurence Pollinger, 7 October 1937

YCAL 43, 41/1738

Dear Ezra,

I duly received yours of September 25th and the altered and unsigned contract with Farrar & Rinehart for THE FIFTH DECAD, and immediately communicated with Ann Watkins. I hope she will be reporting that Farrar accepts all of your changes, in the course of the next few mails.


To James Laughlin, 21 October 1937

L/JL 84


If ANN Watkins 210 Madison Ave. Thinks you can do 41/51 the FIFTH DECAD better than Farrar. it is O.K. with me.




The Fifth Decad is published by Farrar & Rinehart on 29 November 1937



From James Laughlin

L/JL 89


Your decad is out and looking lousy as to book production. Why don’t you get yourself a decent publisher, like me for instance.


To Carlo Izzo, 28 January 1938

Lettere 1907-1958. Ed. A. Tagliaferri. Milan: Feltrinelli, 1980. 130.

<Beeth, nel complesso penso che la sua prima stesura sia piuttosto buona // Sí, volevo e voglio una recensione della QUINTA DECADE da qualcuno che abbia letto i primi 40, ma che scrivesse come se il lettore SAPESSE già degli altri 40 / o almeno confinasse la recensione alla Quinta Decade / con una dichiarazione di tre BREVISSIME righe nelle quali si dica che questa Decade ha una funzione in un lungo poema>

(“Well, by and large I think that your first draft is mostly good// Yes, I wanted and still do a review of the FIFTH DECAD by someone who has read the first 40 [cantos] but who wrote as if the reader already knows of the first 40 / or at least follow the review to the Fifth Decad / with a declaration of three VERY SHORT lines in which to say that this Decad has a function in a long poem”)








  presidents chamber



  1. Malm, Mike. Editing Economic History: Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos. New York: Peter Lang, 2005.
  2. Farahbakhsh, Alireza and Zeinab Heidary Moghaddam. Dominant Themes in Ezra Pound’s 1930s and 1940s Cantos (Cantos XXXI-LXXXIV). Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010.



  1. Alexander, Michael. “Cantos 18-71.” The Poetic Achievement of Ezra Pound. London: Faber, 1979. 177-83. 
  2. Dasenbrock, Reed Way: “Jefferson and/or Adams: A Shifting Mirror for Mussolini in the Middle Cantos.” ELH 55.2 (1988): 505-526.
  3. Farahbakhsh, Alireza. “The Anti-Modernist Quality of Ezra Pound's the Fifth Decad of Cantos (Cantos XLII-LI).” War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities 24.1-2 (2012): 1-15. Web. 13. October 2013. Free online.
  4. Malm, Mike. “The Abstract and the Historical: Structure in Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos.” American Poetry. Whitman to the Present. Eds. Robert Rehder and Patrick Vincent. Tübingen: Günter Narr, 2006. 71-86. 
  5. Muir, E. Rev. of Fifth Decad of Cantos by Ezra Pound. Criterion 17 (October 1937): 148-9. In Ezra Pound. The Critical Heritage. Ed. Eric Homberger. London: Routledge, 1972. 309-310. 
  6. Spender, St. Rev. of Fifth Decad of Cantos by Ezra Pound. Left Review 3 (July 1937): 358-61. In Ezra Pound. The Critical Heritage. Ed. Eric Homberger. London: Routledge, 1972. 309.



  1. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “‘Absolute Timeliness.’ The Case of the Middle Cantos.” In Forméd Trace. The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound. New York: Columbia UP, 1980. 52-100.
  2. Carpenter, Humphrey. A Serious Character. The Life of Ezra Pound. New York: Delta, 1988. 545-549.
  3. Cookson, William. A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 1985. 61-72.
  4. Davie, Donald. Ezra Pound. The Poet as Sculptor. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1964. 154-60.
  5. Davis, Earle. Vision Fugitive: Ezra Pound and Economics. Lawrence KS.: The UP of Kansas, 1968. 69-93.
  6. Flory, Wendy. Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle. New Haven: Yale UP, 1980. 142-154.
  7. Gibson, Mary Ellis. Epic Reinvented: Ezra Pound and the Victorians. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1995. 137-39.
  8. Kearns, George. “The Fifth Decad of Cantos (1937).” In Ezra Pound The Cantos. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. 40-2.
  9. Liebregts, Peter. Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2004. Section: 228-236.
  10. Marsh, Alec. Ezra Pound. London: Reaktion, 2011. 132-134. 
  11. Marsh, Alec. Money and Modernity. Pound, Williams and the Spirit of Jefferson. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama Press, 1998. 111-24.
  12. Moody, David A. “‘The Fifth Decad’: Against Usura.” Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and His Work. II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 212-34.
  13. Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time. On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. New York: Oxford UP, 1969. 167-210.
  14. Read, Forrest. ’76: One World and the Cantos of Ezra Pound. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981. 227-48.
  15. Sicari, Stephen. “The Cantos. The Fifth Decad of Cantos XLII-LI.” The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Eds. D. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen J. Adams. Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, 2005. 33-36. Print.
  16. Sicari, Stephen. “The Fifth Decad.” Pound’s Epic Ambition. Dante and the Modern World. New York: SUNY Press, 1991. 97-107. 
  17. Stock, Noel. “The Fifth Decad 1937.” Reading the Cantos. A Study of Meaning in Ezra Pound. New York: Pantheon Books, 1966. 35-60.
  18. Surette, Leon. A Light from Eleusis. A Study of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1979. 141-8.
  19. Ten Eyck, David. “Pound’s Documentary Poetics in Eleven New Cantos and Fifth Decad of Cantos.” In Ezra Pound’s Adams Cantos. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. 51-54.
  20. Terrell, Carroll F.  A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 170-99.
  21. Whittier-Ferguson, John. “Ezra Pound: Final Primers.” In Framing Pieces. Designs of the Gloss in Joyce, Woolf, and Pound. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. 115-150. 
  22. Wilhelm, J. J. Ezra Pound The Tragic Years. 1925-1972. University Park: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1994. 114-22.


A Draft of XXX Cantos

ship4 for c1