ON THE CANTOS PROJECT
Ezra Pound started writing The Cantos around May 1915 and stopped by 1959. After that date, uncollected fragments of the poem continued to be published, Drafts and Fragments (1968), Posthumous Cantos (2002, 2015) and Sero te amavi (forcoming). The first collection of drafts and fragments (1968) is now included within the body of The Cantos proper, having received Pound’s authorization, and is considered the poem’s epilogue.
The Cantos Project is a digital research environment (DRE) dedicated to the study of Ezra Pound’s monumental long poem. The project is edited by Andrew Taylor and Roxana Preda at the School of Literatures Languages and Cultures of the University of Edinburgh and is funded by the Leverhulme Trust until June 2021. This generous funding will permit Preda to create annotation for the first 60 cantos, corresponding to the early and middle periods of Pound's creative output.
The primary goals of the project are twofold: maintain and develop the current and future readership of the poem through multimedia annotation; further, provide a space where the community of Pound scholars, as well as students of the poem can find the best work of the past, study the poem individually or in a classroom, and develop the scholarship of the future. The project brings together everything we know at present on each canto - it is a collection, evaluation and assessment of our whole research on the poem since its beginnings to the present day.
Permission to proceed was graciously granted by New Directions in February 2012 and formally reinforced in March 2013. The copyright negotiations initially established that only six cantos would be available for display at any one time. These terms were renegotiated in April 2017, when New Directions allowed Andrew and Roxana to present twelve cantos at any one time.
The Cantos Project is peer-reviewed by a board of scholars, who agreed to supervise the project as a whole. The editors submit each annotated canto to the scholarly board before publishing on the site.
This board consists of:
Prof. David A. Moody (UK)
Prof. Walter Baumann (UK)
Prof. Richard Sieburth (US)
Prof. Peter Liebregts – (The Netherlands)
Prof. Alec Marsh (US)
Prof. Massimo Bacigalupo (Italy)
Prof. Leon Surette (Canada)
Prof. Demetres Tryphonopoulos (Canada).
Prof. Ira Nadel (Canada)
Prof. Peter J. Makin (Japan)
ORGANIZATION OF THE SITE:
I. THE POEM TEXT
The text displayed on the site will be that of the New Directions 1998 edition so as to ensure continuity between the electronic text and the print edition for the contemporary reader. Due to copyright restrictions, only twelve cantos can be shown in full text. As work on the cantos proceeds, the canto text with annotation is replaced by a Companion page where only annotation is displayed. On each title page of a canto section (like, say, that of A Draft of XXX Cantos) the current situation will be displayed by a colour scheme: Violet for links to Companion pages; green for cantos in full text with annotation; and orange for cantos that are not yet annotated. The violet and green links are active, the orange ones are not.
Audio readings of the cantos will be provided from the audio player on the title page of every canto wherever possible. It is the editor’s goal to link each poem to Pound’s readings (now preserved at Penn Sound) and to open the way to new, contemporary ones.
The scholarship and the audio-visual material is to be organized on four levels, as the pages of The Cantos Project proceed:
- Homepage level – books on The Cantos as a whole, first as a bibliography, then including links to full electronic texts wherever possible. Primary and secondary bibliographies of the poem; General sources. These are in the top menu.
- Section level – This is the gate to the volumes of cantos as they were published in 1925, 1928, 1930, 1934, etc. Here the reader may find the diagram of the annotation progress, secondary bibliographies, links to cantos in periodicals and calendars of first editions as gleaned from Pound's correspondence. As Pound published his cantos serially, section by section, the first editions have stories of their own, which are revealed in the Calendars.
- Canto title page level – On these pages, the focus is on the individual canto - commentaries, readings, calendars of composition, illuminated title pages of early editions and bibliographies. Excerpts from Pound’s sources, as well as the companion to the canto and references to works used in annotation will also be listed at this level.
- Canto lines level – Here the reader encounters the poem itself together with the new multimedia annotation. Within the glosses, we find links, images, maps and other supporting material.
The annotation will look like an electronic card (a pop-up) which opens when the reader hovers over an underlined word in the poem. The immediate advantage of this technique for readers is that they will not need to leave the poem page to get at the extra information – reading the poem can proceed almost seamlessly. The annotation will disappear as soon as the user moves the mouse or clicks outside the text in the blank space of the screen. To ensure full verifiability, the annotation is fully referenced.
As the work proceeds, the glosses will remain on the site in Companion pages to be consulted or downloaded (links on the right, at canto title page level). Pdfs in the top menu.
Levels of access:
- non-registered users will be able to read the cantos text and the annotation, look at the illustrations and become familiar with everything happening on the website.
- registered users – after login, readers might follow work in progress, and have acees to zones of the site that are not yet published.
- superusers - this level of access is restricted to the editors managing the site. Scholars who wish to have a deeper involvement with the project and become contributors or editors, please contact Roxana Preda through the website contact form.