CANTO III

CALENDAR OF COMPOSITION

 

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

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

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

 A 

“Annals.”Variorum Edition of Three Cantos. A Prototype. Ed. Richard Taylor. Bayreuth: Boomerang, 1991.

L

The Letters of Ezra Pound 1907-1941. Ed. D.D. Paige. London: Faber, 1951.

 

1922

 To Dorothy Pound, 23 August 1922

Lilly Library, Pound mss. III, Box 1, TLS

Mao:

[…]

Have ground out a couple of articles. also got vague idea for further Cantos.

[…]

Find Gabriele’s “Notturno” much less impossible than one wd. have thought.

 

1923

To Kate Buss 12 May 1923

L 256

[...]

The three Mts. is following this prose series by a dee looks edtn of my Cantos (about 16 of ‘em, I think) of UNRIVALLED magnificence. Price 25 dollars per copy, and 50 and 100 bones for Vellum and illuminateds.
           It is to be one of the real bits of printing; modern book to be jacked up to somewhere near level of mediaeval mss. No Kelmscott mess of illegibility. Large clear type, but also large pages, and specially made capitals. Marse Henry [Strater] doing these; and the sketches already done are A-1. 
            Not for the Vulgus. There’ll only be about 60 copies for sale; and about 15 more for the producers.

 

To Dorothy Pound, [13 July 1923]

A 20

Am rewriting the first three cantos; trying to weed out and clarify; etc, a BHLoody JHobb.

 

To Dorothy Pound, [17 July 1923]

A 20

also have been trying to rewrite Cants I. II. III. so haven't been back to museum myself.

 

From Dorothy Pound, [21? July 1923]

A 21

Are you wise to be already revising the first Cantos? Don't kill them.

 

To Dorothy Pound, [23 July 1923]

A 21

Re Cantos, I shdnt, have started revising if it hadn't been for the edtn? de LOOKS; probably no harm, I have now a sense of form that I hadn't in 1914, (very annoying, in some ways). Also I shd have rested a few months before tackling it. May save time in the end. Anyhow, anything I leave out can be restored later from earlier edtns, if needed. With sense of form, very difficult to get it all in, hodge podge, etc,

 

To Dorothy Pound, [25 July 1923]

A 21

     Have started some sort of revision; cuts down the opening to two cantos instead of three, beginning with Odysseus descent into Nekuia, and doing the Browning item after that, with Bacchus ship as second canto. & then the miscelany. & then 4. 5 etc. Also various repetitions, even in later cantos, can go. Mostly its too cluttered.

 

From Dorothy Pound, 28th [July 1923]

A 21

     HE not entirely rewrite those early cantos: or HE'll lose the life in them: She's coming back soon to put a stop to it!

 

To Dorothy Pound, [1] Aug. [1923] 

A 21

     Ugh, have got draft of first three cantos done.

 

1931

To Olga Rudge, 22 June 1931

YCAL 10/264

Ziao, maure//

[…]

Carnev/ has sent in shot at Canto III but haven’t had time to look at it.

 

1935

From Pound’s correspondence with his Italian translator, Carlo Izzo. 

“Assai maggiore interesse suscito comunque nel Pound la traduzione dei pochi versi tratti dai Cantos (II e III), la quale dette origine a discussioni, equivoci, chiarimenti preziosi. Si comincio con lo Stretti al quarto verso del III Canto: avevo intuito che forse si tratava di un riferimento alla famosa canzone La spagnuola, molto popolare al principio del secolo, ma preferii [127] chiedere spiegazioni. In data 19 ottobre 1935, da Roma, il Pound mi scrisse questa cartolina:

Known to Italians as “La Spagnuola” this celebrated warble was known to the ignorant foreigner not by the title on the printed MUSIC, but by the more intelligible refrain, as sung:

Strr/ètti/Strééé … Ti

nel ezstasai’ damn or

Ya spaniolar sa ’mar cosi

wookah! wuukaaah, la nott Edi! (7)

ys E. P.

Segui la più complessa questione della frase “in the Morosini”. Per quanto mi scervellassi, non mi riusci di capire che cosa quella frase potesse significare: non mi constava, nè mi consta, che normalmente si possa indicare così, in inglese, un palazzo; se mai, una nave: e tradussi « nella Morosini », tanto più che una nave di quel nome faceva servizio a quel tempo tra Venezia e la costa dalmata. La risposta non si fece attendere:

 

44 Corso Umberto, Roma                           17 nov. 1935

Dear izz

VERY GOOD; much more satisfactory to translate my good poetry, than the early stuff (chiara indicazione del valore attribuito dal Pound alle sue varie opere: evidentemente The Return occupava nella sua stima un posto intermedio tra Night Litany e i primi Cantos).

“Morosini” means palazzo Morosini (?)

? ? ? nel

not female. I dare say her ossature might shine up; but haven’t made any direct observation.

worried by FLUTTUANO

sounds wavy/ viscous.

The FLOAT shd. imply calm. vol-plané, or stationary independence of material gravity,

no god damn spiritist seance wobble.

I suppose capezzoli, ate (sic, per “are”) the points of a laydy’z buzzum?

good word if that’s what it means. (Quest’ultima frase appare cancellata con due freghi, e, sotto, il commento O. K.: evidentemente il Pound s’era informato e aveva avuto conferma). [128]

Like the translation very much. great deal better than the others. (La lode non andava a me, ma, semmai, al miglior materiale che avevo scelto). 

Back before dew was shed/ means before ANY DEW existed, not merely early in the morning (8 ).

Ez. P.

 

Chiarii che l’espressione “in the Morosini” m’aveva fatto pensare a una nave, e spiegai quale. Risposta:

 

400 Corso Umberto,                                    Roma 19 nov. (1935)

Dear Izz

Thank God alll (sic!) chance of confusion with that damn tin steam boat is removed.

By all means Ca’ Morosini (mio suggerimento in chiave veneta) or even Palazzo to keep the eye of the imagination in order. (Conservai “Ca’ ”, in quanto tale forma contratta ha a Venezia un significato che “manteneva in ordine l’occhio della fantasia” secondo il desiderio del Pound).

librano bothers me. prob. I dont know what it means.

galleggiare is float like a cork. How a god floats I don’t know. even nuotare nell’aria gives frog like notion.

/ / Ca’ Morosini; when you were in knee breeches, one gondoled on the Grand Canal and the ceilings were LIT from lights in the Palazzi/ now none of the blighters can afford to live in and light up their houses.

Back (dovevo aver dato, in un primo tempo, un’interpretazione erronea) = way back in 1860 where the Eyetalyan purrfessors are/ “BACK in 1895 where the eyetalian licherchoor is … (lascio al Pound la responsabilità delle sue affermazioni).

Back refers to time past/ = in the past, “in the dark backward and abysm of time” etc.

If the idea of gondoled seems to contradict the statement of high price of gondolas/ then also from the vaporetti one saw the lit cross beams/.

cassetoni, perhaps better, but I think (segue un rudimentale disegno di quattro righe orizzontali e cinque verticali sovrapposte a grata) whereas the rafters are more general on Venetian ceilings (seguono altri due disegni di rettangoli striati da linee parallele, orizzontali in un disegno e verticali nell’altro).

any how (e questa era didattica: monito a me di scrivere [129] con gli occhi aperti sulla realtà) a ship. let alone a tin ship cant have real ones ( 9).

yrs. EZ. p.

 

Segui una cartolina sempre dallo stesso ind indirizzo di Roma, e con il timbro postale del 23 novemhre, la quale diceva: 

approve all suggestions

“aleggiano” good

and the mai, looks right to me

I misread librano as libErano/ but the hover wasn’t what I meant, I meant a calm unwavering.

in haste (10) Ez/P

 

Noterò che il Pound, come un mio amico danese anni dopo, prohabilmente non senti la derivazione di “aleggiare” da “ala” – altrimenti, io credo, avrebbe senz’altro rifiutato la parola – ma pensò a un “alleggiare”, con due “elle”, che è della lingua arcaica, e evidentemente, corrispondeva, a parer suo, alla sensazione di “indipendenza dalla forza di gravità” che egli aveva voluto rendere con “float” in inglese. Forse approfittai dell’equivoco per viltà: pigrizia, intendo dire, rassegnata certezza che non avrei saputo trovare di meglio” (126-9).

 

REFERENCE

Izzo, Carlo. “23 Lettere e 9 cartoline inedite.” Nuova corrente 5-6 (Gennaio-giugno 1956): 123-154.

 

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