Article Index





venice time machine 1

More than any other political entity of the early modern period, the Republic of Venice shaped the visual imagination of political thought; just as she instructed Europe – and, ultimately, the independent colonies of America – in the idea of statehood, so she taught how to give that idea eloquent pictorial form, especially through the figuration of the state. [...]

Historians have long recognized the gap between the myth and the reality of Venice. They have been anxious to reveal the contradictions and hypocrisies and to use such exposures to undermine the myth, to deconstruct it and indict it as deliberately misleading fabrication. But it is precisely as a set of “fictions or half-truths” that myth presents itself as reality, “forming part of the ideology of a society.” What for the skeptical political or sociel historian may seem collective self-deception can be viewed more positively and creatively as deliberately conceived self-representation. [...]

Unique in its site, built upon the mud flats of a lagoon, rising above the waters, Venice rhetorically exploited every aspect of its singularity. [...] Unlike so many cities on the Italian peninsula, Venice was not of ancient Roman foundation, and it made much of that distinction. Emerging after the collapse of the Roman Empire, Venice claimed to be the first republic of the new era, born in Christian liberty, hence a true successor to pagan Rome. Originally subject to the authority of Byzantium, Venice gradually asserted its independence of and, eventually, superiority to Constantinople. On the western front, central to the historico-political elements constituting the myth of Venice, were events of 1177, when Doge Sebastiano Ziani (1172-78) mediated peace between Pope Alexander III and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa: from that moment on, according to the local historical vision, Venice stood on the political stage of Europe as a third sword, an equal to the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire. Beginning in the fourteenth century, those events were depicted in a series of pictorial cycles in the Ducal Palace, recorded in manuscript illuminations repainted in the fifteenth century, and preserved for us now in the canvases painted after the disastrous fire of 1577. However dubious the historical facts and their interpretation, the paintings themselves became in turn the verifying documents, pictorial scripture: as it is painted, so it was. 

David Rosand. Myths of Venice. The Figuration of a State. Chapel Hill and London: The U of N Carolina P, 2001. 1, 4, 6.



CANTO III [Ezra in Venice - personal memories]

MALATESTA: CANTOS VIII-XI [Venice, the military patron of the Malatesta family]

CANTO XVII [Venice in dreams and magic]

CANTO XXV [civil patronage of the republic: the building of the Palazzo Ducale]

CANTO XXXV [Venice and commerce: monopolies and taxes]

CANTO XLV [art patronage: Bellini, Carpaccio, Titian]








Ezra Pound and Olga Rudge in Venice


Ezra Pound Reading: 

Canto XXVI: Three segments:

from “And that year” (123) through “beards of those greeks” (124);

from “To the Marquis” through “Carpathio/pictore” (127);

from “And I came here” through “taking light in the darkness” (121)] (4:32):





Ezra Pound. From Canto XXVI. An Angle, recorded in Venice, ca 1970-71. PennSound. University of Pennsylvania. Free online.









rsz canto 26

rsz canto 26 tail



Canto XXVI in A Draft of the Cantos 17-27
London: John Rodker, 1928.
Illuminations by Gladys Hynes.

Canto XXVI in A Draft of the Cantos 17-27  (tailpiece).
London: John Rodker, 1928.
Illuminationss by Gladys Hynes.


rsz canto 26 1930

Canto XXVI in A Draft of XXX Cantos. Paris: Hours Press, 1930. Capitals by Dorothy Pound.

Note: The above images are not to scale. The 1928 edition is a folio, whereas the 1930 one is pocket-size.









According to the calendar, after a period of inactivity, but mulling over a new canto from April to June, Pound drafted canto XXVI in Venice, in the first eight days of June 1927. 



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




Moody, David. Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and His Work. 3 vols. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007-2015. Volume II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. 2014.


Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound to His Parents. Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010.


Pound, Ezra. Selected Letters 1907-1945. Ed. D. D. Paige. 1950. New York: New Directions, 1971.



To Olga Rudge, April 1926

EPP 68

“In April he wrote that he had nine cantos more or less finished–they would have been 17-to 25–‘but they don’t make a vollum’. He went on, ‘She suggest a nice simple and continuous subjeck of UNIVERSAL INTEREST, to run from 26 to 33’ which would imply he had it in mind to match the first major division of Dante’s one hundred cantos.”



To Homer Pound, 3 April, 1927

L/HP 623

Dear Dad:


Rodker is preparing to print Canti XVII-XXVI; and has the mss. for nine of them in hand. I suppose I get another one done by August, or sometime. [17-25]


To Homer Pound, 10 April, 1927

L/HP 623

Dear Dad


Suppose if I got started on another canto, or hadn’t forgotten all the moozik I learned last summer I might feel better. At present I’m feeling inactive.


To Homer Pound, 1 June 1927 Venice

L/HP 630

& extremely busy. will resume correspondence with outer world about July 4th.

Rodker waiting for Cantos.


To Dorothy Pound 1 June 1927

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1


He xtends his sympathies. Very busy. 2 libraries, resting rump this am, as seats are hard.

Dazzi very useful – the Querini very good place to work, few formalities & all removed by bibliotecarius.

[…] will feel freer when I get canto XXVI off my chest. At present it is all undigested burning swelling the in’ards.


To Dorothy Pound, 3 June 1927

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1


No fit place to write […]

Dazzi interested in giardino = yesterday some bookseller had sent in a book on the garden by F. Eden with two photos of another and 3 dachs.[?] also charming old wood cuts of Bacchus and panthers.


To Dorothy Pound, 4 June 1927, Venice

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1



Am making 1st draft of canto XXVI.

Re the damn caps

Make John take Gladys to Brit Museum (unless O.S. has the Eden Book on the garden.


To Dorothy Pound, 8 June 1927, Venice

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1



He has done one canto & got idea for another. Bunch of Grigioni documents re medicos in Quattrocento to go with one I have had a long time & that don’t fit anything else.


From Dorothy Pound, 9 June 1927, London

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1

Mao :


Olivia has Eden book – so I’ll arrange with John and Gladys Haynes to see it… will write john immediately.


Good luck on new Canto.


To IWP, 15 June 1927, Venice

L/HP 631

Dear Mother.

Great deal to do here. 3 libraries. Am supposed to have finished Canto XXVI – so Rodker will have it in time for the new vol.


From Dorothy Pound, 24 June 1927

Lilly Library Pound Mss. III Box 1



Saw Gladys Haynes yesterday here. I like her very much. She saw Eden book. & I gave her the p. card with ark. She is I believe quite a serious painter! Is also cutting wood (not wood-cuts)

She had roused up Bunting, & he had written her lots of information on “Geryon” -



To Homer Pound, 19 August 1928

L/HP 666

Dear Dad:


Have signed title pages for XVII-XXVII, suppose they will get bound sometime. etc. [...]

Nancy Cunard has taken over Bill B’s printing press, also wants to continue printing. Expecting our illustratess or capitalistress in a week or so. [Gladys Hines].



To Harriet Monroe, 24 October 1930, Rapallo

SL 229

Cheers, my dear Harriet,


I you’d read Pisanello’s letter (vide Canto XXVI) and then look at some Pisanello medals or frescoes you wd. be able to work out my opinion of Mr. Gill on the subjekk of hosses.









Querini stampalia library



  1. Barnes, David. “Canto 26.” Readings in the Cantos. Ed. Richard Parker. Clemson: Clemson UP, 2018. 227-36.
  2. Casillo, Robert. “Ruskin, Pound, and the Fate of Venetian Art.” Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies I.1 (Part 2) (Spring 1988): 89-109.
  3. Casillo, Robert. “The Meaning of Venetian History in Ruskin and Pound.” U of Toronto Quarterly 55.3 (Spring 1986): 235-260. First page.
  4. Mamoli Zorzi, Rosella. “Il rapporto di Pound con le arti visive a Venezia” [Pound’s relationship to the Visual Arts in Venice.] Ezra Pound a Venezia. Firenze: Leo Olschki, 1985. 157-170.
  5. Roessel, David. “The ‘Repeat in History’: Canto XXVI and Greece's Asia Minor Disaster.” Twentieth Century Literature  34.2 (1988): 180–190. JSTOR.



  1. Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Annotazioni XXVI.” Ezra Pound XXX Cantos. Parma: Ugo Guanda, 2012. 349.
  2. Barnes, David. “Power and Politics in Cantos XXV and XXVI.” In The Venice Myth: Culture, Literature, Politics, 1800 to the Present. New York: Routledge, 2014. 129-136.
  3. Casillo, Robert. The Genealogy of Demons. Anti-Semitism, Fascism, and the Myths of Ezra Pound. Evanston Ill.: Northwestern UP, 1988. 235-36.
  4. Cookson, William. “Venice (continued).” A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2001. 41-42. 
  5. Davenport, Guy. “Art and Tyranny.” In Cities on Hills. A Study of I-XXX of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Epping: Bowker, 1983. 231-34. 
  6. De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: XXV-XXVI [Venice].” Ezra Pound I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1517-18. 
  7. Fang, Achilles. “Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos.” 4 vols. Diss. Harvard U, 1958. Vol I: 46.
  8. Flory, Wendy. Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle. New Haven: Yale UP, 1980. 124-26.
  9. Furia, Philip. Pound's Cantos Declassified.  University Park and London: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1984. 38-42.
  10. Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto XXVI.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. Eds. Manfred Pfister and Heinz Ickstadt. Zurich: Arche Literatur Verlag, 2013. 1232-33.
  11. Miyake, Akiko. Ezra Pound and the Mysteries of Love. A Plan for The Cantos. Durham NC: Duke UP, 1991. 144-48.  
  12. Moody, David. Ezra Pound: Poet. Vol. II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. 87-88. 
  13. Ricciardi, Caterina. Eikones. Ezra Pound e il Rinascimento. Napoli: Liguori Editore, 1991.
  14. Terrell, Carroll F. “Canto XXVI.” A Companion toThe Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 103-09.



  1. “Canto XXVI.” A Canto a Day. Blog, 20 February 2009. Accessed 11 April 2018. Free online.
  2. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XXVI.” The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Etching series. 8 October 2012. Accessed 10 May 2018. Free online.
  3. Sellar, Gordon. “Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Cantos XXV-XXVI.”, 20 June 2012. Web. Accessed 10 May 2018. Free online.


The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2