Article Index







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




Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time. On the Unity of Ezra Pound's CANTOS. New York: Oxford UP, 1969.


Moody, David. Ezra Pound: Poet. Volume II. The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014.


Pound, Ezra. The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound to John Quinn 1915-1924. Ed. Timothy Materer. Durham NC: Duke UP, 1991.


Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound to His Parents – Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A. David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.


Eliot, T.S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Vol. 2. 1923-1925. Eds. Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton. London: Faber & Faber, 2009.


Pound, Ezra. Pound, Thayer, Watson and the Dial. Ed. Walter   Sutton. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 1994.


Pound, Ezra. Pound/Williams. The Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. Ed. Hugh Witemeyer. New York: New Directions, 1996.


Rainey, Lawrence Scott. Ezra Pound and the Monument of Culture: Text, History, and the Malatesta Cantos (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.


Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound Poetry and Prose. Contributions to Periodicals. Eds. Lea Baechler, A Walton Litz and James Longenbach. New York: Garland, 1990.


Rainey, Lawrence Scott, ed. A Poem Containing History. Textual Studies in The Cantos. Ann Arbor: The U of Michigan P, 1997.


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

 Note on colours: 

green - Timeline of research trips.

violet - process of composition, from draft to finished poem.



Around 15 May 1922, Pound sees the Tempio Malatestiano for the first time (MC 27).

The first two drafts of the Malatesta Cantos, A and B, are written by hand in Sirmione between 9-20 June, 1922 (MC 29, 233). To prepare them, Pound is reading Heinrich Leo. Storia degli stati italiani, 1840, 1842 (MC 119).

Draft A - 99 lines; Draft B - 15 lines (MC 29).


To John Quinn, 20 June 1922

BT 302

Have had busy spring [...] and have blocked in four cantos - (Including the "Honest Sailor", which I hope I haven't spoiled). At work on the "Hell" canto, chiefly devoted to the English.


30 June - Pound is in Milan and leaves a standing order of books connected to Rimini with the bookseller Hoepli (MC 123).

Pound returns to Paris on 2 July 1922 (MC 119).


To John Quinn, 4 July, 1922

Lilly Library Pound mss. Box I. Quinn, John 1922. (Copy from Beinecke).

Paris quite cold after Italy. My time is still at your disposal after the fifteenth of this month: though I dare say you’ll find the Catskills more handy. Still, having got the Morand translations off my hands (Miranda comes tomorrow for a last shot, and then Ouvert la Nuit, last pages go to publisher). And having got five cantos blocked out, I am about ready for the vacation I did not have in Italy. Am feeling damn fit.


To Felix E. Schelling, 8 July 1922

SL 180, L 247


Perhaps as the poem goes on I shall be able to make various things clearer. Having the crust to attempt a poem in 100 or 120 cantos long after all mankind has been commanded never again to attempt a poem of any length, I have to stagger as I can.

The first 11 cantos are preparation of the palette. I have to get down all the colours or elements I want for the poem. Some perhaps too engmatically and abbreviatedly. I hope, heaven help me, to bring them into some sort of design and architecture later.


From T.S. Eliot, 9 July 1922

L/TSE 1: 538

Caro Ezra,


I don’t ask for Cantos simply because I know you can get more money from the Dial, and I don’t want at present to use things which appear previously in the Dial, and it is difficult to arrange for simultaneous publication in a monthly and a quarterly. Otherwise they would be most particularly sought after.


Stage 1 of composition - Paris, July-December, 1922.

On 17 July he starts his research at the Bibliothèque nationale. He is reading a chronicle of Ancona (MC 119); [Lazzaro Bernabei. "Cronache anconitane" MC 292];

On 19 July, he is reading Pietro-Maria Amiani's History of Fano (1751).

He also discovers Yriarte and Hutton (MC 120).


From T. S. Eliot, 19 July 1922

L/TSE 1: 548

Cher Ezra,


I hear good report of the progress of Cantose. If the Dial refuses please let me inspect, but probably unwise to make the paper too conspicuous at first, if the rape of the bishop is an integral part.


To Dorothy Pound, 20 July 1922

Lilly Library, Pound mss. III, Box 1 

Hems. also to tea and fed me dinner. They brought a friend (printer) who seems to want to privately–print the hell cantos.


He [Hemingway] is thyro-centric, and must have a triple barrel thyroid. Sigismundo somewhat different… ma… All I have found out about S., or rather the two thing [sic] of interest are the popes coming down on the family for back rent when the brothers first came into possession; and later that S. refused to limit the amt. of money females shd. spend of jewely [sic] on ground that it contributed to “splendore and magnificenza” of the city. He seems to have giv. the papal army (much larger than his own) the hell of beating, in the sixteenth year of his age. This big book on Fano seems to think he was merely engaged to the Carmagnola; the Este girl his second. was one of a lot of quadruplets, two of whom died.


To Dorothy Pound, 21 July 1922 - Paris

Lilly Library, Pound mss. III, Box 1, TLS (quoted in MC 120, 123)

I shall write to Neumayer [the London bookseller]; but can you go into Ellis, Bond St. Quairitch [sic] just by your club, and Sunderland or Sutherland (branch office Piccadilly) (haven't their precise addresses), and ask them for, or ask them to track
    Yriarte “La vie d’un condottiere italien au XV siecle”
     pub. in 1882 (in Paris, editeur I think, Rothschild,
    now out of business, and book epuisé).

No rush, just when you happen to be passing the shops.

Hoepli has found a book on ole Sforza, and got the one on the politic of Pio II contra I Malatesti.


To Dorothy Pound, 22 July 1922 - Paris

EPP 41, 352 

I don’t at present see that I shall get around to any music this summer. There is a lot of Sig. to do.


To Dorothy Pound, 23 July 1922

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

Neumayer has the Yriarte book, so you needn’t hunt for it at the other booksellers. I shall want you to send him a cheque for it, fifteen bob unless another bookseller here, offers it to me tomorrow a.m. (the Paris bookseller has till tomorrow. I am sending this at once to save bothering with Quaritch.)


To Dorothy Pound, ca. 24 July, 1922

Lilly Library, Pound mss. III, Box 1 TLS


Usual flood [Watson, Natalie, Hems, Leger, Mme Picabia, Man Ray]


Please send Neumayer cheque for 15/ shillings, or give it him when you pass his door.

            F.B. Neumayer, 70 Charing X. Rd. W.C.1

say it is for my Yriarte book (book not here yet.) Have finished the S. part in the big two vols on Fano. 


To Dorothy Pound, 29 July 1922 - Paris

MC 123

Three vols. on Sig arrived this a.m. from Milan, one evid. exc., but apparently mostly political; nothing yet about la vie intime at Rimini.

The three vols are the two volume biography of Francesco Sforza, by Ermolao Rubieri and  Pio II e la politica italiana nella lotta contro i Malatesti by Giovanni Soranzo (MC 123).


Pound rewrites drafts A and B into a new version C1, which he soon modifies into new drafts C2 and C3 (MC 120)

3 August, 1922, Pound obtains Charles Yriarte’s book, Un Condottiere au XVe siècle (MC 41).
“Pound’s researches changed radically after he finally obtained his copy of Yriarte’s book on 3 August 1922. His intense reading of the book is registered in numerous forms: 150 entries of marginalia and submarginalia in his own copy of the book, over 120 reading notes collected in six manuscripts, and eight draft fragments translating various poems that Yriarte had attributed to Sgismondo” (MC 121).

Through Yriarte he discovers Clementini (Raccolto istorico della fondatione di Rimino e dell’origine, e vite de’ Malatesti) and Battaglini (“Della vita e de’ fatti di Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta Signor di Rimino”).
“Pound’s notes on Clementini extend over a period of several weeks; they are contained in six sets, and cover hundreds of entries” (MC 123).


To John Quinn, 10 August 1922

L/JQ 217-18, BT 302

Dear Jawn:


Am reading up historic background for canto IX. Don’t know that it will in any way improve the draft to the canto as it stands; shall probably only get more bewildered; but may avoid a few historic idiocies or impossibilities.

Authorities differ as to whether Sigismund Malatesta raped a german girl in Verona, with such vigour that she ‘passed on’, or whether it was an Italian in Pesaro; and the pope says he killed her first and raped her afterwards; also some authorities say it was Farnese and not Malatesta who raped the bishop of Fano, and in fact all the minor points that might aid one in forming an historic rather than a fanciful idea of his character seem ‘shrouded in mystery’ or rather lies.

I suppose one has to ‘select’. If I find that he was TOO bloody quiet and orderly it will ruin the canto. Which needs a certain boisterousness and disorder to contrast with his constructive work.

Francesco Sforza, whom I had first cast for the villain seems also to have had a good reason for etc. etc.

At any rate I have had some interesting hours of research or at least reading; which are probably of no practical use. I come out rather like Ole Man Comley,1 who used to shoot his gob, and take a new chaw off the plug, saying ‘Boys, NEVer chew terbacca!’ No, Mr. Quin, don’t you never try to write an epic, it is too bloody complicated.’


There’s one spot re/ Malatesta that you may like. He was in Rome toward the end, whole existence of his state depending on negotiations, and he had about made up his mind to murder the pope (Paul II, who however was sly enough not to receive him in private, but surrounded by a gang of cardinals whom he cd. trust.) Malatesta spent most of his time in the papal library, and when they asked the librarian, Platina, what they talked about he said

“We talked about books, and fighting, and unusual intelligence, both in the ancients, and in men of our own time, in short the things one wd. naturally talk about.”

Hang it all it's a bloody good period, a town the size of Rimini, with Per Francesca, Pisanello, Mino da Fiesoli, and Alberti as architect. The pick of the bunch, all working there at one time or another. 

Note. 1. Ole man Comley – Pound cites his anecdote about his Jenkintown neighbor in Canto 28 (Timothy Materer).


To Isabel  P0und, 20 August 1922 - 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs | Paris VI e.

L/HP 501

Dear Mother,


Have various materials for my Malatesta lying about.


“Soranzo, on the other hand, offered a different dichotomy that reshaped his entire conception of Sigismondo’s fate. One can sense its first effect among the reading notes that Pound began taking (ca. 10 August) as he started perusing Soranzo in earnest. Among them is one on the oration delivered in January 1461 by Andreas Benzi [...]. Pound became aware of Soranzo’s earlier articles from 1909-11, references that he followed up while reading Clementini at the BNP. In the middle of his notes on Clementini (ca. 25 August) appears a sudden rupture: in large letters that consume the entire page, Pound records the 1910-11 articles and their BNP shelfmark. His eagerness is almost palpable. Their effect, in combination with Soranzo's book, was decisive. [...] Soranzo, we have seen, had dismissed all the accusations, stressing that every testimony adduced by Pius 'derived from malicious gossip that was current among the vulgar, or from public rumor, very unstable grounds for accusation’” (MC 124).


To Dorothy Pound, 29 August, 1922 - Paris

Lilly Library, Box 1 correspondence, TL (Partly quoted in MC, 124)

Have been doing more Sigismondo. Most of the crimes seem to be in an accusation drawn up by papal lawyer when Pius II wanted to grab Rimini for his nephew. If you are in Charing X. Rd. Stir up ole Neumayer to hunt for Rimini stuff. I shd. Like the Hutton vol. if he can find it.

“Influenced now by Soranzo and Clementini, yet still responsive to the tradition that he had already registered in his earlier drafts, Pound needed time to resolve his doubts. In early September he wrote another draft (D1) welding together all the conflicting views” (MC 124).


To Homer Pound, 2 September 1922 - 70 bis, N.D. d C. VI [Paris]

L/HP 501

Dear Dad,

Am plugging along on my Malatesta canto, may run into two cantos; the four to follow it, are blocked in.


To Dorothy Pound, [nd. Approx 10 September 1922]
Lilly Library, Box 1 correspondence, TL


         She tell him what train she is coming by.

I think at least those Renaissance latin poets may be some use. re/ Sigismundo etc. At any rate will you bring the two vols. of Toscanus, and the one cube of Gherus. The little parchment covered books.

Have done one long day and one short one in Bib.Nat. etc. trying to get over there now.


To John Quinn, 21 September 1922

BT 303

I have been plugging on at the cantos, almost without interruption.


To Homer Pound, 3 October 1922 - 70 bis N.D. de C. Paris VI

L/HP 502


I am plugging along on my Malatesta cantos; will take years an [sic] years and years at the present rate. For the rest vide Dial. also Three Mts. Press, as per announcement sent you.


To Isabel Weston Pound, 25 December 1922 - 70 bis N. D. d C. [Paris] VI

L/HP 505


Have got three of the Malatesta cantos into some sort of shape; attempt to avoid going away with huge mass of notes. Dont know how many more will be needed to deal with S.M.; sevral cantos blocked in, to follow the Malatesta section.



Stage 1 of composition ends on 4 January 1923, when Pound sends a provisional manuscript (W) to Sibley Watson, the editor of The Dial in New York, advising him that he intends to continue his research and make what he hoped to be minor changes to the poems. On the next day, he travels to Italy and stays first in Rapallo (MC 229-30).


Round of research in the Italian archives. Ezra and Dorothy spend January to mid-April in Italy.


To Sibley Watson, 4 January, 1923

L/TW 255-56

Dear Watson,

Seats for Rapallo reserved, and bar accident I ought to leave tomorrow. As I can’t take typewriter in knapsack I think it advisable to send you the four Malatesta cantos. I intend, or intended to continue research on the subject; but it very probably won’t change much of the actual text.

I don’t want you to show the manuscript to anyone yet. Possibly not even to Seldes, unless that seems too secretive on my part.

I shd. very much like to know, from you, who presumbaly have not mugged up the history of Romagna, whether I have made the main points of the story CRYSTAL CLEAR.

The other question, is yr. attitude toward simultaneous publication in the Criterion. Eliot has asked me for Cantos, several times, and I have not promised them to him. Wd. the July number suit you? Or do you want to split the “incident”. I DONT see how the four/// cantos can be separated, riven in sunder, without considerable damage and diminution of interest. (AND they are no longer than W. Land or the Player Queen).

I don’t think, either, that I ought to give preface, or defence of the form. For a work of this length (i.e. the ten thousand or more cantos as a whole, I think I have a right to rhythm units, longer than the single octo or octodecasyllabic verse.

Besides the Ship canto (VIII) is supposed to have given the lecteur (for the nonce) his melodic apricot.

I don’t want the double space between words, used in this lot of cantos. I DO want the misspellings in the documents, letters, etc. kept VERY carefully. Also the abbreviations. And where they are written on another line [“an”  and “line” elevated] the top line letters shd. be in smaller case. [...]

Use your judgment re the fragment of canto XIII. Print it if you think it helps to clarify the story. (Might not be a bad scheme to print always (from now on) few lines of next installment. As word is occasionally printed at bottom of page, and then repeated  at top of next page. (no charge)

5 Jan.


There may be a few revisions; but I think (rereading it, half in suit case, and in some confusion) I think it will stay pretty much as it is, unless I find some disconcerting document during the next twelve weeks.

ONLY I dont want this mss. shown to the prophane, If I do make any emendations, that’s my affair.

It seems to read easily. That’s something.

I shd. be glad to know if you personally ed. stand any more archaeology at this point in the poem; or if you think any one cd.

(I may want to make a few alterations in XII, but I can send script for that from Italy; that will be clearer than trying to hold back the XII, now.

And DO if you have the patience. Write me a list of the events, that you gather from the story. Also any doubts or obscurities. Anyone here from whom I might get an honest opinion, has heard me talk about S.M. [Sigismund Malatesta] and therefore comes to the cantos with a damaged instead of a perfect ignorance. : or some fortuitous, unfair interest in the subject, apart from that shoved at them by the page.

Guess that’s all, for the moment. Happy New Year.


To Homer Pound, January 1923 - Hotel Mignon, Rapallo

L/HP 506

Dear Dad,


Am chewing along on Malatesta - also tennis - also Salel’s ‘Iliad’ which I found in Paris in Dec. after six years’ wait.


“For the first four or five weeks Ezra and Dorothy were in Rapallo, at the hotel Mignon, Pound ‘chewing along on Malatesta’ and playing tennis with a young American called Strater and Dorothy doing some drawing. For a week or so in February they were joined by Hemingway and his wife Hadley, and the four of them toured Sigismondo’s old battlefields in Tuscany, such as Rocca Sorano near Siena. ‘Geographical verification’, Pound called that, ‘cross country in wake of S.M. to see how the land lay’. The Pounds went down to Rome, where Ezra wanted to verify details in ‘documents preserved in the Vatican concerning Rimini and other towns in central Italy’, and they were there from 17 February to 1 March. On the 2nd he was in the archives in Florence consulting La Guerra dei Senesi col conte di Pitigliano, which he would cite with shelfmark in canto 10” (EPP 46).


Tour details as follows (MC 128):

7-11 February – trip to Pisa. Pound meets Nancy Cunard and they examine Mino da Fiesole’s bust of Isotta (MC 133).

12-15 February – Ortebello

15-16 February – Rome

17 February – 1 March – Vatican Library, where Pound reads Pius’s Commentaries and Benzi’s oration.


To John Quinn, 17 February 1923

BT 303

Have blocked in 4 cantos on Malatesta and am now verifying last details (Vatican Library this A.M.), also geographical verification, cross country in wake of S.M. to see how the land lay. [...]

Trust, or rather hope, you’ll like my version of the Honest Sailor, which comes in canto XIII (to follow the Malatesta Cantos)...


Dorothy goes on a tour of her own with Stella Bowen so that communication is established by postcard (EPP 47).


7-8 March – Bologna: "Somewhat full day. Three libraries - all voluble - all amiable." (Ezra to Dorothy, 8 March EPP 47, 353)

9 March – State Archive in Modena.

10 March – Cesena, where he met the librarian Manlio Dazzi who also took him to a concert he had organized (EPP 47; P&P VII: 66)

12 March – Rimini


Sibley Watson to Scofield Thayer, 10 March 1923

L/TW 260-61

Dear Scofield,

Pound recently sent me a rough copy of 3 more proposed cantos (about 10 pages), saying that Eliot wanted to run them simultaneously in July and asking if they were comprehensible to one who knew nothing of the history of Sigismund Malatest[a]. I replied “all right”, but as it was a rough & tentative copy there is still time to refuse to publish them if you would assume the burden of the refusal. I do not especially care for the Cantos (though these last 3 are not bad), but my position is that publishing Pound’s poetry is one of the things the Dial is known for and expected to do, and many people like or pretend to like the cantos better than we. Only yesterday I had a letter from an intelligent young man, criticising Edmund Wilson for repeating his remark about “Mr. Eliot’s imitator, Mr. Pound” and speaking highly of the cantos. Bizarre work by one who is famous for being bizarre is not unacceptable even to reactionaries. I therefore feel we should be making a mistake in not going on with the cantos to the extent of 10 or even 20 pages a year.


To Dorothy Pound, 13 March 1923 - Rimini

PCH 91

Blood And Thunder

Library here closed at least until the 20th as the damn custode has flu, and the boss is too lazy-or has to teach physics elsewhere.

Am going to San Marino by the trenino in a few minutes and shall try to fill in time in Pesaro, Fano, etc. till the bloody custode recovers. IF he recovers.


13-20 March – San Marino, Pennabilli, Pesaro, Fano, Urbino as follows (PCH 91)

13-14 March – San Marino

15 March – Pennabilli

16-17 March – Fano

18-19 March – Pesaro

19-29 March – Urbino

20-27 March – back in Rimini. Reads Broglio’s Cronaca universale. He also examines Pius’s oration Discipula veritatis (MC 129).

30-31 March – Pound is in Venice. 

Note: Source for the March chronology: EPP 46-48.


To Dorothy Pound, 21 March - Rimini

Lilly Library Pound mss. III, Box 1 (partly quoted in PCH 91; EPP 47)

Palace Hotel Rimini



Back here in comfort after laborious week.

Pesaro shd. be profitable & any how glad to have got hold of Gemistus– 

I go to library here at 10.00 this a.m. Hotel keeper ready to sack the place & have up the mayor if it isn't open; he is a noble fascist [...]

Will now try the library.


To Dorothy Pound, 24 March 1923, Palace Hotel Rimini

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

Myao :

The bull Discipula Veritatis (vs. Sig) is labeled EP 1053.

I was lable earlier cataloging some time ago D.P. I. B. 199.

An eagle (aquilla gentile) lit on his tent pole the night before his last victory over the papishes  (at least he told the troops that in the morning.)

I got inside the rocca the other day. = nothing left but large stair-way up one tower.


Vast conference of authorities to know whether mrs Sforza’s maids rode white horses or Shetland ponies.//

Clementini *for one*

Tonini             “tother

Broglio, that they wore green habits. Thus agreeing with C= But that the horses were ===== unintelligible scrawl = white [or covered with white]. This with T.

Basinio seems to have been well acquainted with Greek & all the court writers. Baso , Gemst; Valto seem to have been much more suave & cultivated than one might have thought.


To Dorothy Pound, 25 March, 1923

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


Here are some cesenatic beasts for her.

Don’t know that there’s anything else to report.

I am aiming to arrive in Milan about the 4th (fourth ). That ought ?? to be sure enough to dodge the fair=


Sun here very pleasant = only the library cold as hell.

There is nothing here but the Tempio =


Wish I had typewriter instead of evening clothes.


Too bad Basinio didn’t write the chronicle. as his study of greek had vastly clarified his handwriting. beautiful autograph mss of his pome here. = and also all the wills and testaments of the family back to 1100 odd [or at any rate copies or parchments dating from a long time back.]


Scofield Thayer to Sibley Watson, 27 March, 1923

L/TW 264-66

Dear Watson,

Your letter of March 10th. this moment received. I personally abhor Pound’s cantos as I abhor his Paris Letters. My feeling toward Pound is shared by pretty much everybdy of intelligence I know. You and Eliot remain notable exceptions. Cummings, to name one out of hundreds, considers Pound mad — “getting more Idaho day by day.” I gather that <as> Pound is to Americuns in general so is Malatest to Idahouns [sic]. I am always glad to expose my body to offensive and offended contributors. I am willing to have you pass the buck, forward the cantos when they come to me for my approval. And since you from the rough copy feel that these last three cantos are better than their predecessors, I am willing to be shown, and if I am capable of finding virtues in these cantos I shall return them to you instead of to Mr. Pound. If on the other hand I find them in my opinion wholly without aesthetic value I shall feel it my duty to my pocket book as well as to my reputation as editor to send them back to Pound. Shall we then leave it so? Only you should let Pound know that you are sending the cantos to me before publishing and that therefore you will have to have them in New York three months before July if they are to appear in the Criterion in July. I should certainly not take them if we had to publish them even one month later than the Criterion.

I wholly agree with your “intelligent young man” à propos “Mr Eliot’s imitator.” I was surprised you allowed that to slip in an otherwise blameless éloge.

I suggest you have some special paper prepared for your own use and that in the upper right hand corner in Early Provencal Type you expose your [letter’s] best sentence: “Bizarre work by one who is famous for being bizarre is not unacceptable even to reactionaries.”


28-29 March - Ravenna

To Dorothy Pound, 28 March 1923 - Ravenna

Lilly Library, Pound mss. III, Box 1, ALS (partially quoted in PCH 93; EPP 47)

Triumphal exit from Rim.

   The Grand Cord. Mauriz.

    Reggio Commissario descended on the librarian (who may die of the shock.)

    Very sympathique  the Gd. Cord.

Spent two hours before dinner looking for Prof. Muratori who is loose on the town with some blooming Monsignore. & neither in bib nor a casa.

3 (Three) white cats in one Rim. window.


Two amiable ecclesiastics in Tempio this noon (one from country) a little puzzled by my farewell to eight aliophants – but decided it wasn’t “contra la fede”

This is the only part of the world where ch. dont seem to have ruined its representations.

Very old one this p.m walked to show me Muratori’s casa had been chaplin [sic] to U.S. navy.

Marvelous bishop of Penna Billi ( ? already described.) & snuff taking abbé (or canon or summat at 5 next a.m. Descending by same autobus.


Also one I haven’t seen who says he will try to clfy some stuff for me in Rim. archiv. notariale.


Venice 31 March (Saturday) - ca. 2 April (Tuesday) 


To Dorothy Pound, 31 March 1923, Saturday, Venice Yolanda

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


The library here is shut till Tuesday. Am rather glad as it gives me a chance to sleep & I was more tired than I had thought.

Muratory wd have kept the Ravenna place open for me – but I had got the cream of their stuff – the old archivist doing most of the work & drawing me a ox cart (plaustra) with TWO wheels = lest I shd. make the mistake of thinking a 4 wheeled vehicule cd. have lived through at Quattrocento road=


Tempio has about the best bells there are, I shd. think =?? Sig’s canon founders.=


I don’t mind prolonging Milan or doing the Brera = after I have done the library. Have cards to both Soranzo and Grigioni both of whom I want to see.


Bookseller with cult of Tempio & knowledge of latin = wanted to know why elephants.

Chez lui Divus “Iliads” to match the Odyssey I got in Paris 13 years ago. He had just put it on the shelf seven hours before.


9-11 April – Milan, where Pound does research in the Archivio di Stato (MC 129).

Pound returns to Paris around 11 April 1923 and revises the draft he had sent to Sibley Watson in January (MC 198).  A final draft, X, is now ready to send to The Dial on 24 April.


To Sibley Watson, 26 April, 1923 - Paris

L/TW 264

Dear J. S. W.

I sent off the Cantos, day before yesterday. Hope they have arrived, right side up.

Despite the Dial’s objection to the younger generation, I think the enclosed is fit to print.


Note: This letter is dated March 26 in L/TW and the location is Paris. This indicates that the date is too early - Pound was in Rimini on March 26 and his work on the Malatesta Cantos not yet finished. I have therefore followed Moody (EPP II: 48) and adopted 26 April as the date when Pound sent the Malatesta Cantos to Watson.


Sibley Watson to Kenneth Burke, n.d. [5-10 May, 1923]

L/TW 274

Dear Burke,


Pound’s cantos enclosed. Have copy made & send copy to Thayer. keep original. Wrote Pound Thayer wanted to see them before they go in i.e. he may not let them go in.


To Isabel Weston Pound, 11 May 1923 - 70 bis, Paris

L/HP 511

Dear Mother


S. Oiseau is preparing a de looks edtn, of Malatesta at 25 dollars a shot; with still more valued edtn at 50 bones, Streater at work on special capitals.

Samle pages will follw in due course. Several copies already sold. [sic]


From T.S. Eliot, 14 May 1923

L/TSE 2: 135

Dear Ezra,


I shall see whether I can press for subsequent publication with any success. (Am anxious to publish & damn the Dial. Does not affect it so far as I am concerned.)* Thirty pages is rather a lot, but perhaps we could use slightly smaller type without affecting the rates of payment. The payment must be increased to select contributors for select work. Anyway, I will write you about this again.

* Note in the volume: Scofield Thayer [main publisher of the Dial] was deeply sceptical about EP’s Cantos, which were due for simultaneous publication in The Dial and C[riterion] but were never in fact published in the Dial. Making use of the famous phrase “Publish and be damned” attributed to the Duke of Wellington when threatened with blackmail), TSE plays the two magazines off against each other. 

** “Damn the Dial” could also be a reference to the very recent negotiations to merge the Dial and the Criterion. Eliot’s proposal was rejected by Scofield Thayer with Watson’s agreement (L/TW 267-71)


Around 18 May, Pound submits the final draft of the Malatesta Cantos to The Criterion.


From T. S. Eliot, [27 May 1923]

L/TSE, 2: 141

Dear E

I cabled to say we will print poem in July & it will come to about £20. That is the best we can do, esp. as it is appearing in the Dial. I object strongly on tactical grounds to yr. first line. People are inclined to think that we write our verses in collaboration as it is, or else that you write mine & I write yours. With your permission we will begin with line 2. No time to write more, still having a hell of a time.


Verso: I have got Richard [Aldington] to assist, do proof, run exchanges, write letters, & help generally. He is the only person in England I could think of & I believe will be extremely useful in many ways.

I like Cantos immensely, exc. four details of personal fancy. Certainly a great pioneer invention in method.


Note: TSE is referring to the line beginning the present canto VIII, which quoted from The Waste Land: "These fragments I have shored against my ruin." Pound agreed to remove it for the Criterion printing, but restored it in A Draft of XVI Cantos and all subsequent printings. See the Malatesta Cantos in the Criterion.


To John Quinn, 29 May 1923

BT 303


Have been snowed under, or at least working on my Malatesta Cantos steadily and without let up from middle of Feb. until about five weeks ago.


To Sibley Watson, 29 May 1923

L/TW 262

Dear Watson:

The relation between your letter of Feb. 4th and Mr. Burke’s of 19th May, is such that I must ask you to return me my manuscript (Cantos IX-XII).

Yours very truly E. Pound


From Kenneth Burke, Editorial Assistant to The Dial, 7 June 1923

Lilly Pound mss., Box 1 1923

My dear Mr Pound:

I am very sorry to have to inform you that an unfavourable decision has been reached in the matter of your Cantos IX to XII. I hope that the delay, which I explained in a previous letter, has not caused you any inconvenience. The manuscript is returned herewith, and we wish to thank you very much for your kindness in letting The Dial examine it.


To Sibley Watson, 18 June 1923, Paris

L/TW 278-79

Cher Monsieur:

I should be very glad if you wd, return also the earlier draft of cantos, sent you some months ago.

As for Mr. Burke’s solicitous remarks, you might point out to him, or to yourself, that it will now be too late for me to arrange simultaneous appearances for America (vide last line of yr, February output) as the Criterion seems to be going ahead with the July arrangement. At least I have corrected their proofs and received statement to the effect that it is appearing in their next number.

I trust you enjoy inflicting this financial loss (admittedly problematical) mais tout de même.

Je vous en felicite.

Ezra Pound

I believe that “duplicate copies” made for distribution to various editors should be either destroyed or returned to the author, though precedent may be lacking.


From Richard Aldington, editorial assistant to The Criterion, 18 June 1923

Lilly Pound mss., Box 1, 1923

Dear Ezra,

Thanks ever so much for replying so promptly and precisely. […]

I noticed the “immovations” and altered it. I also queried “all though” and “boy pony” and will correct them in sheets. I shall do my best to carry out your topographical wishes, but we are very pressed for space and I must keep the Cantos down to 20 pages (which is one fifth of the whole number) for, as it is, I have to drop Ford and another short article. Unless we can enlarge the paper, contributions will have to be kept to 5,000 words and under. You may be surprised to know that the Cantos run to over 8,000 words.

This number is being born in disorder, for Tom had been too agitated and occupied with Mrs T.’s illness to do anything and I only got a grip on it a few days ago. Moreover Cobden Sanderson is very nervous and inefficient, has no system and worries. I am making an effort to get this producing part of the thing straight, so that Tom is not worried by it and contributors don’t have to be harried in this absurd way. By the time the next number comes along, let’s hope it will all be running smoothly.

Tom went down to Oxford on Saturday to lecture and I’ve not yet heard from him.

Once more, many thanks for your promptness. We can go straight a-head with paging now. The whole thing is ready except Yeats’s proof and T’s editorial.


To Homer Pound, 21 June 1923 - 70 bis N. D. des C. [Paris]

L/HP 515

Dear Dad


Will send you a copy of July Criterion, as soon as I get it. It is to contain the Malatesta.

Other cantos lying here on desk unfinished. Including Hell and the Honest Sailor.


To Sibley Watson, 27 June 1923 - Paris

L/TW 279-80

Dear Watson:

Your note, letter, letters, enclosures, blood money, to hand

Am relieved and pleased to know that you are not particeps injuriae.

There were two letters from Burke; I wrote you on receipt of the first of them. That you have answered.

I wrote again on receiving B’s second. That outbreak of mine you needn’t answer; or rather, say it is covered by your answer to my answer to B’s initial effort.


As to your Kaiserial: Northcliffian colleague Monsieur T

oh well; if you remember our conversation when the Brancusi photos came back; you will remember that you invited me to write to the N.Y. office.

I have not written to T since then, and had no communication from him till he fired me from Paris correspondency. That ukase arrived a day or so  AFTER  I had shipped you the final version of the Cantos.

When Burke wrote, therefore, that T wished to inspect said Cantos; the intentions toward sabotage were fairly apparent, and questions of literary opinion ceased to be relevant.


You will, presumably, find the present draft of Cantos in July Criterion. if you haven't already returned the earlier draft, you will be able to see that the three months sweat in Italy was not wasted. And that the skeleton had been brought to life.

and so forth.


From T.S.Eliot, 23 July 1923

L/TSE 2: 178

Mon cher


The Criterion Cantos I am afraid are not perfect in typography owing to the muddle in which this no was produced. I am asking C. S [Cobden Sanderson] to send you ten copies.


To Dorothy Pound, 30 July 1923

Lilly Library Pound mss. III, Box 1, TLS



Criterion has come, Sigismundo very satisfactory, everything else in number is punk.

Yes, you might get the Gregorovius but not the Yriarte, at least not yet, he is too inexact, writes in french, did the big red book on Sidg.


Re Cantos cant spoil the sheep for a haporth  o’ tar.


Really must try to write to Thomas re/ Criterion. Don’t know that it worth while, or that I need worry, but ……..


Note. Pound is responding to Dorothy’s enquiries in her letter of 28 July: “I have been reading the Cesare Borgia & shall send it to you later on. [Cesare Borgia. A Biography, by William Harrison Woodward. London: Chapman, 1913] […]. I think I had better buy Lucretia Borgia by Gregorovius [,] Woodward often puts it in notes. There is also a Cesare B. by Yriarte. What language is he? Shall I get that? I find the Borgia Pope Alex VI most interesting.”


To Homer Pound, 1 August 1923 - 70 bis, N. D. de C [Paris]

L/HP 517

Dear Dad


Cantos IX to XII are in July Criterion. Am revising the earlier one for S Oiseau’s edition.


To Sibley Watson, 4 August 1923 - Paris

L/TW 281

Dear Watson


The cantos in the Criterion seem to me rather an advance on anything I had done before [“up to the present” crossed out] The blood money is very acceptable. I want time to work in; almost all forms of remunerative action seem to me infernal interruptions and almost unpardonable waste of time. One wastes quite enough time through innate inertia and natural stupidity, without adding to that amount. Ergo my thanks.


To John Quinn, 11 August 1923

BT 303

Cantos are in criterion for July. More being prepared for Three Mts, edition de luxe.


From T.S. Eliot, 3 September 1923 - 9 Clarence Gate Gardens

L/TSE 2: 207

My dear Ezra

Enclosed is returned to you for full particulars. I am not sensitive enough to grasp the meaning. Wasn’t cheque enclosed or isnt it enough. If latter will do what I can, but must have more tha a hint.*

* Note in the volume: “In response to TSE’s question [...] EP wrote ‘Answer to first question is emphatically in the negative. £18-o-o is insufficient payment for 11 months work.’” (L/TSE 214).


From T. S. Eliot, 14 September 1923 - 9 Clarence Gate Gardens

L/TSE 2: 214

Dear E. P.

Very well. Please tell me what - within possibilities - you consider a reasonable payment. I remember wiring to you that it would be ‘about £20’.  It was £18. I can go the extra £2 but I dont think we can go beyond. As you did not demur at the time I presumed that you were satisfied. Remember that it is not a question of absolute values at all but of what we can afford. Otherwise it would be £50.



From T.S. Eliot, 30 April 1924

L/TSE 2: 386

Dear Ezra


I also inform you that for about four people there is money enough to pay for their best creative work at double rates. That is, for any stuff like the ‘Malatesta [Cantos]’ I should be able to pay you at the verse rate equivalent to £20 per five thousand words prose. I count each page of verse as four hundred words which is about what it would be if it was prose. This is on condition that the contribution is not printed in English in any other periodical in England, America or elsewhere for three months after its appearance in the Criterion. What have you got, or what will you have?



To Henry Allen Moe, Guggenheim Foundation, March 1925

MC 70

       Incidentally I mean[t] to cite chiefly /re Eliot, a letter of Sigismund[o] Malatesta’s which I have quoted at length in my VIIth [sic] Canto (Canto VIII, in the Malatesta Cantos, Criterion, I think Aug. 1923) Canto VII in the Three Mountains Press Edtn.

        I take Malatesta as a prime example of a man who wanted civilization in a small town, and GOT the goods delivered. He had Pisanello, Pier della Francesca, Battista Alberti, the architect, Mino da Fiesole, four certainly of the best men of the time down in Rimini. This letter is to Giovanni dei Medici, persumably re/ Pier Francesca; and says he wants the master painter for life, with a set provision, security to be given, and ends up[:]

affatigandose per suo piacere o no,
So that he can work as he likes or not.

Malatesta got the goods. And he was enough of an artist himself to know that you can’t always tell when an artist is loafing. Real work may be done on tennis court or in trolley car, and sham work at desk.


To William Bird, 24 August 1925

L 273; SL 200

Deer Bull: If you will go thru the archives of the late Mme Rosen, o.b.e., I think you will find a Xtrak from the fascist organ of Rimini stating that the opus is a CAPOLAVORO magnifico.

It was carried thru the village, not on a triumphal ox-cart draped with scarlet, but at any rate with due order by il Commandante. (I declined to see the sindaco, but expressed no unwillingness that he shd. gaze on the edition.)

Marchetti stated that he had shown my poem ‘anche a Domini Deo.’

The copy was placed in the Malatestiana at Cesena by my own honourable hands with fitting inscription, and various of the studiosi were later assembled (in my absence) and those who cdn’t stumble thru English ’ad it hexplained. Dazzi very much surprised when I said Hell cantos wd. not travel thru American post. (That shows what a proper Dantescan education will do for a man. He said no modem Eyetalian wd. have the guts to do’ em. That they were of a vigore propriamente Americano.)

They really need the GERYON to elucidate ’em. I read Dazzi the Sidg., the Hell and the new typescript (Geryon) XVIII and XIX (which you may sho’tly see).

The copy was not sent from yr. office to Cesena; that is prob. why you have no official record. Copy sent here, and I toted it over.

Thanks for the Malatesta Roma and Japan sheets recd. Am sending the Roma to il Commandante; and ascertaining whether the museum is ready to frame and hang the vellum. If it ain’t, they will do very nicely here. Amglad to see the vellum, with space enough to see the proportion; couldn’t get full effect in print shop. I see some reason for the vellum edtn. I also see that the Whatman takes a better imprint than the Roma, but the stink!!!!!!! and the transparency of the paper seem to me to make it most ondesirable sort of paper to print anything but obstetric woiks on.



To Dorothy Pound, 10 October 1931

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III


The glad tidings are that Carnevali has got to Canto VIII (first Sidg) and has I think done it in a satisfactory manner. Good effect of putting in Eng/ what I had left in Ital/ etc.

Shall go thru it with Gino prob. doman/


To W. C. Williams, 14 November 1931

L/WCW 110, 111

I fergit whether [sic] you read wop and receive the Indice. Emanuel has did my canto VIII into the lingua Toscana or Bolognese or whatever he talks up in Bazzano. In fact he has done the precedin’ 7 but the VIII wuz the first one he seemed to come through with. Feel he had better go on to finish before one bothers about revisions.

Note: Canto VIII was translated by Emanuel Carnevali and published in the Indice, a magazine in Genoa, on 10 November 1931 (Witemeyer L/WCW 111).



To Olga Rudge, 26 February [1932]

YCAL 54, 12/305



Carnev’ trans/ Canto XI, good or goodish. needs only few corrections.



To the New York Evening Post, New York (8 May 1933) 9

“Leaving aside all questions of poetry, AS AN HISTORIAN I strongly object to having three years of research based on original documents in ten different archives placed in same category as Hutton’s facile romanticism and ready acceptance of shallow myth. I am very glad to publish my indebtedness to Soranzo, for both his big volume and his almost unobtainable monograph on the faked trial; to Carlo Grigioni for the publication of a few inedited documents, and to Iriarte subject to correction and verification (vide Canto XVIII, lines 6 to 13).”

Note: In spite of Pound’s protest, the publishers of the New York Evening Post managed to slip a typo in the canto number: the lines 6-13 refer to canto VIII, not XVIII. (This letter to the editor, which is not included in P&P, was received courtesy of Archie Henderson. Roxana Preda)



The Fifth Decad

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Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2