THE SIENA CANTOS
Cicero, in the second book of his treatise De Officiis, relates the following conversation between an unnamed questioner and Cato [...] who, when inquiry about the best policy of property management was made, answered “Good grazing.” “What was next?” “Tolerable grazing.” “What third?” “Bad grazing.” “What fourth?” “Tilling.” And when he who had interrogated him inquired, “What do you think of lending at usury?”, Cato answered, “What do you think of murder?”
If Pound’s intention for his extensive use of source documents in the Siena Cantos was to illuminate the long and difficult process through which the Monte was achieved, then this was the undertaking of a historian. Should we therefore criticize Pound for abandoning poetry in favour of economic and administrative minutiae? Not at all – what some critics have called a lack of poetry, namely Pound’s immediate approach to his sources by quoting from them extensively and in detail, is exactly what makes the Siena Cantos so thoroughly modern. They are not merely reproductive, i.e. historical excerpts without artistic shape. Of course Pound to some extent reproduced the linguistic and bibliographic codes of the original documents. However, Pound is not an editor, but a poet. And in the context of a poem, authenticity itself becomes a fiction and the historian a persona. If Pound seems to assume the role of a historian, then this role is part of an epic poem. Even his palaeographical difficulties are transformed into fiction. The reproduction of authenticity is not a scholarly act, but a poetic device. What critics actually miss is a conventional form of lyricism, not ‘poetry’ itself, as the Siena Cantos are as poetic as any other part of Pounds epic. It may even be considered a merit of the Cantos to have established a really comprehensive poetics of history which includes an archaeology of economics. Pound not only writes about the traditional heroes of history, but seeks for yet undiscovered paths leading from the past to the present. The history of the Monte dei Paschi is one of these paths. To have included economics in poetry is what makes Pound a truly modern author.
Mike Malm. Editing Economic History. Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos, 60-61.
CANTOS VIII-XI [Malatesta]
CANTO XLV [Monte dei Paschi - the anti-usury bank]
CANTO XLVI [the polar opposite of the Monte dei Paschi: the Bank of England]
CANTO LII [economics and natural abundance - the Chinese correlate]
CALENDAR OF COMPOSITION
Despite his doubts about the direction the poem was going to take, Pound finalized cantos XLII–XLIII–XLIV as a group and called them informally to Laughlin “the Sienese Cantos.” He started working on canto 42 in February 1934 and declared the group “bashed into shape” by July.
However, these cantos were not finalized before Eliot’s request for cantos (April 1936), after cantos 45 and 46 had already been published. The Siena Cantos were written in the summer of 1936, when Pound read C. F. Bell’s biography of Lord Palmerston and doing his research in the Sienese archives. He told Dorothy he had started a canto on Monte dei Paschi on 11 August. He then sent the cantos group to her for corrections on 5 and 7 September and then to The Criterion for publication on or around 17 September 1936.
Correspondence by Ezra Pound: (c) Mary de Rachewiltz and the Estate of Omar S. Pound. Reproduced by permission.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound’s Economic Correspondence 1933-1940. Ed. Roxana Preda. Gainesville: U of Florida P, 2007.
Moody, A. David. Ezra Pound: Poet. Vol. II: The Epic Years, 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014.
Pound/Ford. The Story of a Literary Friendship. Ed. Brita Lindberg-Seyersted. London: Faber & Faber, 1982.
Pound/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.
Malm, Mike. Editing Economic History. Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos. New York: Peter Lang, 2005.
Pound/Cummings. The Correspondence of Ezra Pound and E. E. Cummings. Ed. Barry Ahearn. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1996.
Hatcher, Leslie and Hugh Witemeyer. “Lord Palmerston as Factive Hero in The Cantos.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 25.1-2 (1996): 225-33.
Taylor, Richard. “Editing the Variorum Cantos: Process and Policy.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 31.1-3 (2002): 311-34. [References in square brackets by Taylor in text.]
Beinecke Library. Olga Rudge Papers YCAL MSS 54 Box no/Folder no
To Olga Rudge, 6 July 1933
YCAL 54, 14/351
IF she will give him information he can write a narticle and she must sign it.
What is needed is some fetchy views of Siena, mash of romance of Sienese history, and then exposition of how the Acad/Chig/ is flowering in them chantin’ surroundings.
At present I haven’t the necessary information/ I can mop up in some Sienese hist/ but have never specialized. The Monte dei Paschi having given dormitory is O/K/ one needs inf/ re Chigi fambly which I spose cd/ be got/
Note. Pound is planning a visit to Siena on 13 July 1933. Olga has just got her job at the Accademia Chigiana in the city (Conover 112-3).
To Olga Rudge, [28 December 1933]
YCAL 54, 14/366
Giv un a bit more leezhur an mebbe he’ll be able to remember whaaar he had to to [go] in hiz Cantoz. Time fer to load up anuther charge ov buckshot.
To Olga Rudge, 1 February 
YCAL 54, 15/375
And he has been a patuagin round/ re the XLII.
To T. S. Eliot, 23 April 
When the hell I am to get to composing again/ and get on with XLII gardnoze.
To J. Laughlin, 17 May 
As fer aht an letters/ all the letters I have done are some scribbles of XLII and prob/ will have to destroy ’em.
To Dorothy Pound, 7 July 
He trying to git on wiff a canto/ or rather a pair 43/44.
To Dorothy Pound, 9 July 
XLII, XLIII and XLIV are about bashed into shape.
To Dorothy Pound, 12 July 
Proofs of cantos 31-34 : from N.Y. self respect vastly raised/ the eleven seem to hang together O.K. and to go without hitch/ carry thru from start to finish I spose that means no one ELSE will like ’em. Have got the next three shaped [XLII-XLIV]/ you needn’t mention it till I see whether Criterion is getting ON with the Rhooze feldt article/
From T. S. Eliot, 7 April 1936
To the Worshipful Ez Po:
You look over the cantooes and see if there aint one punk enough to print in the Criterion at regular rates.
To E. E. Cummings, 26 June 1936
Waaal, I am in’erested in Claudius Salmasius and I wanna fine out a bit erbout the Monte dei Paschi. I mean more’n I know.
To Dorothy Pound, [29 July 1936]
Var 314; EPP II: 207
Main points Monte P. OK== abundance of natr & will of the whole people as basis of credit // nacherly the 10-vol bloke don’t stress that.
Find Celso Cittedini in Hist. Monte dei Paschi. - bloke who prepared a Guido Cav[alcanti]. edition for press in 1609 or there abouts & didn’t get it printed. I saw his orig. mss. in Vatican = C. Cit. had scheme for using unused tax money to buy seed, whence crop to be sold to poor below market price, (orig. tax money then restored to gd. Duke.)
To Dorothy Pound, 11 August 1936
if you want reading matter suggest you try Tuscany 1765-90 Peter Leopold & Ferdinand III.
Did I say I started canto in the M. dei Paschi?
To Katue Kitasono, 12 August 1936, Siena
Kodama, S. Ezra Pound & Japan 30
Dear Mr Katue
Thank you for your two letters. I have come here for the Palio, one of the last ceremonies left in Europe – a horse race with banners and memories. And not having a typewriter with me, I shall answer as briefly as possible.
To Dorothy Pound, 19 August 1936
Have axd P/m [Possum - T.S. Eliot] if Crit. can stand rev. of Palmerston
To Dorothy Pound, 20 August 1936
Palm 226; Var 314
for once a decent english politician [Palmerston] that don’t turn one’s stummuck
been twice a day on damn HARD Liberry seat: stuffing Tuscan hist 1765 - onward
Stuffing Tuscan hist 165 - onward - Pound’s remark shows he was doing research for canto 44 by reading volume 6 of Il Monte dei Paschi di Siena e le aziende in esso riunite. 9 vols. Ed. Narciso Mengozzi. Siena: L. Lazzeri, 1891-1925. The volume is dedicated to Pietro Leopoldo’s reign in Tuscany, 1765-1790.
T0 Dorothy Pound, 22 August 1936
I keep chewing on H. C. F. Bell’s Palmerston
T0 Dorothy Pound, 23 August 1936
The Palmerston dont leave much of the Brit. S.O.U Vikky Al. Gladst. Russel Dizzy etc. sons of bitches & Palm the only good guy in the lot.
PS Any possibility of tracing any remnants of Palmerston element in British affairs NOW... family or anything? ... interest to see if decent element prevails by heredity.
SOU – possible abbreviation for Statement of Understanding
Vikky – Queen Victoria (1819-1901, reigned 1837-1901).
Gladst. – W. E. Gladstone, (1809-98) British statesman and Liberal politician.
Russel – John Russell 1st Earl Russell (1792-1878) British Whig and Liberal politician.
Dizzy – Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Conservative politician.
T0 Dorothy Pound, 26 August 1936
A comfort to find something one can approve of
to damblast all British liberals from Cobden down
Pound left Siena for Bolzano and Venice on 2 September 1936 (EPP II: 209).
To Homer L. Pound, 4 September 1936
EPP II: 209
Waal this machine sticks but I knocked out 2 articles yester. and a canto collected from notes and a nuther canto this a.m.
To Dorothy Pound, [5 September 1936]
Var 315; EPP 209-10
Typewriter a bit groggy & want to keep on with cantos while they flow. sent you 2. yester.// & am at p.5 in another. may have scamped Leopoldo (gd. Duke Tuscany 1765) & may want to go back & fill him in.
shall send you imperfect copy 3rd of the new cantos shortly. Have writ Morley that IF criterion wants to synchronize ’em with U. S. pubctn without prejudice to the Palmerston article [...] They can have ’em.
I think technically the best I have done & AT last a block to balance the Malatesta | 3 all of a piece with sestina <under work> & seguito. Even if I don’t run to 4 the USURA wd fit it & cd. count as symmetrizing.
3d of the new cantos – canto 44, dedicated to Pietro Leopoldo and Ferdinando III.
& seguito – and continuing
To Dorothy Pound, [7 September 1936]
will put that copy of canto in shape soon – did frame for a fourth thas a.m. but must let that one set. don’t want it thinner than the other three.
Note: “the fourth” would be canto 50 (EPP II: 210).
To Odon Por, 7 September 1936
Redman 172; Malm 279
HELL, I have worked in Siena. Tuscany Lorraine Hapsburg. 1765 to 1972. P Leopoldo and Ferd. III FURER along, more enlightened than any modern state. Free trade error corrected in controll at frontier. Nap. ended state debt. taxes halved. etc. etc.
I have just done THREE CANTOS of shout about that and Monte dei Paschi so EZ SEZ and he KNOWZ.
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.
From Dorothy Pound, [11 September 1936]
Canto C arr. yesty it was sent on, [...] don’t follow para: about “horse place”? What is h-place? & what were they paid & prepared about? [XLIV: l.137]
Note. Pound sent Dorothy the Siena cantos for correction and labeled them A, B, and C. Canto C is thus canto 44.
“horse place” – the cantos alluded to the arrival of Napoleon’s sister Elisa in Florence in 1807. To show their enthusiasm, a few men disengaged the horses and pulled her carriage themselves.
To Ford Madox Ford, 11 September 1936
My dear ole Freiherr von Grumpus ZU und VON Bieberstein
Waaal I have just knocked off three more Cantos on a patch of hizzery wot the woild needz to be told and have a fourth nearly set up. and this time it is Siena. and to hell wiff the saboteurs, especially the bastids in licherary commerce.
To Dorothy Pound, [13 September 1936]
All her corrections O.K.
1) canto C. cried again [XLIV/224]
2) I suppose the bloke meant premiere journee/ [XLIV/226] all the french army spelling in Italy a bit illiterate. notice pronouns in Nap’s to the queen [XLIV/226-7]
3. be in Milan. [XLIV/226]
4) Reile is O.K. [XLIV/226] I spose he may have started as Reily. but it didn’t last.
5) Proveditore [XLIV/228], officer in Monte dei Paschi, today. or that pic[colomini]. was a few years ago. trying to keep this to right weight with enc. of Lloyds.
6) will look up palio spelling [XLIII/217]. must be TWO ll, I shd. think. otherwise wd. be PAY/ley/oh.
your other emends are O.K. and WHALE pantin to see the ms. mss. so thazall right.
WHALE – Frank Morley, editor at Faber who had requested cantos in his letter of 10 September 1936 (see above).
From Dorothy Pound, 15 September 1936
I have corrected all the typing slips in A b, and C [XLII-XLIV]
Only want confirmation about foll::–
there is no “8th” p.2 A – should (it goes 7th-9th) there be? [XLII/210]
What, for me, does “vacabile” mean? [XLII 213]
B. p.1 “alligati”? [XLIII 215]
p.3 pallio – two LLs? [XLIII/217]
What is S.O. submarine off [XLIII/218]
gabille in french only salt tax I believe [XLIII/220]
C. p.5 Reile y? [XLIV/226]
last word – provveditore_2 Vs [XLIV/228]?
OS. has liked A. & B. v. much. said the sound & movement was so smooth & nice: complained the oil story & the S.O. wasn’t quite explained enough [XLIII/218]
Note. OS. – Olivia Shakespear, Dorothy’s mother.
From Dorothy Pound, 16 September 
MSS corrected except for Palio [XLIII/217]. and O.S. has looked in dictionary re reliquy [XLIV/223]. It is either relic (the thing itself) or reliquary or reliquaire – which ill go?
To James Laughlin, 17 September 1936
L/JL 65; Var 316; Malm 279
DEAR J A S
When the Jeff is actually set up, you might ax the N.A.M. what about my reviewing Bell’s “Lord Palmerston.”
my mind is on concrete things. Have shipped the three Sienese Cantos, and have a fourth pretty well set. but a few hunks of Orient and Adonis cult already drafted must intervene. The noo triad readZ all right….
Jeff – Pound’s article, “The Jefferson Adams Correspondence,” was published in The North American Review CCXLIV.2 (1937-38): 314-24. In P&P VII: 264-71.
Bell’s “Lord Palmerston” – Herbert C. F. Bell. Lord Palmerston. 2 vols. London: Longmans, 1936. Pound read Bell in August 1936 and sent the author a letter to congratulate him on 26 August (Palm 226). See book on Internet Archive.
N.A.M. – North American Review
To Dorothy Pound, 20 September 1936
putt reliquary i.e. speel it in canto [XLIV/223]
To Dorothy Pound, [21 September 1936]
reliquary. all right with me.
vacabile is explained in text. means shares expire with death of shareholder. [XLII/213 & XLIII/219-220]
Two vv in provveditore. [XLIV/228]
I think Reile. not Rieley or Riley. [XLIV/226]
S. O. = Standard Oil [XLIII/218]
I know it is merely sole of foot seen in perspective. head invisible.
Yes. 7th 9th. (I am not giving all the 12 or 17 points. but the ones pertinent to my theme. [XLII/210]
alligati. = connected, herewith “Tied to” [XLIII/215]
will look up Palio [XLIII/217]
From Dorothy Pound, [?24 September 1936]
Feel sure I've seen Palio on posters or Baed. with 1l only? [XLIII/217]
Note. Baed. – Baedeker, the tourist guides the Pounds were routinely using in their travels.
To James Laughlin, 26 September 1936, Venice
Have sent three cantos to Harriet. supposing it to be premature to try any compressed history in N. Americ. YET. I mean in vurse.
three cantos - The Siena cantos, 42-44.
Harriet – Harriet Monroe, the editor of the Chicago magazine Poetry.
To Dorothy Pound, 27 September 
Palio. one ‘l’ contrary to all laws of phonetics & reason. and Sallustio Bandini with 2 lls, but dont think he is mentioned. if he has his front name it has 2 lls. The other Bandini cert has no prenom [XLIV/227]. The fourth canto seems O.K., no spare copy yet, and it comes in after a lot done last year. Wrote Whale I shd. prob have a bunch of ten ready fer a vol. by Jan I.
To Frank Morley, 28 September 
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.
From Frank Morley, 30 September 1936
YCAL Mss 43, 35/1484
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.
From Morton Zabel, 1 October 1936
YCAL Mss 43, Box 57/2589
H.M. died in Peru last Saturday morning, September 26th, while on her way back to the U.S. from Buenos Aires. She had stopped to see the Inca ruins at Arequipa and Cuzco, and was stricken by cerebral hemorrhage in the Andes. She was buried there on Monday,
I got back to Chicago only last week, after two months away. Your letter on W.P.A. is in the October number. The three cantos are also here, but I haven’t had time yet to calculate their scheduling in POETRY. The issues are booked to February because we’re putting on an English no. by Auden and Roberts in January, planned last spring. The three cantos are too long for a single issue but I hope we can agree on printing them in running order.
Note. H.M – Harriet Monroe, the senior editor of the Chicago literary magazine Poetry.
To Dorothy Pound, 3 [October 1936]
NO, not caulelae that is latin. [XLIII/222]
Sites is O.K. [XLIII/218] and Cancellarius. is O.K. [XLIII/219] and scarcitatem is O.K. [XLII/213]
“Soeur et cousine” is form of royalty addressing royalty [XLIV/226]. vide the Cousin in the Este patent back in canto whatever [XXIV/113]
Note. Pound refers to Charles V awarding a coat of arms to Niccolò d’Este. See OCCEP XXIV: nn.55-56.
To James Laughlin, 12 October 1936, Venice
If this catches you in time (which it wont) see the jejune Jesuit and XXXplain that three cants are a BLOCK, not divisable. and that what one pardons, rightly ole Harriet, aetatis 74, is unpardonable in a bloke of 30.
jejune Jesuit – James Jesus Angleton, who edited Furioso and arranged Pound’s visit to Yale in 1939 (Gordon 69).
To Morton Zabel, undated [12/13 October 1936]
YCAL 43 Box 57/2589
OF COURSE I want to lay my wreathe, and express a sense of personal loss. It is already the 12 of 13 Oct. so no time to elaborate. I send the enclosed by return post. […]
As to the rest of yr/ letter. It has really broken off short my note on H.M.
sorry. BUT the SHIT of Poetry’s Policy and the INFAMY of the Dial. and the curse of Moses, Christ and the Pope on the whole American shituation ONCE again.
My Propertius was bitched by being cut.
Mauberly was ruined in the Dial by cur cutting.
God eternally DAMN a country that spoils the best and supports ever third rate pimp and then ruins serious work, for a technicality.
If Ficke and Masters can be printed at length. a UNIT of the cantos can be printed together.
I believe they are going into the Criterion and shd. appear within copyrighting time in Roosevelts shitten repooplic.
A fhart for the arrangement and Mr Auden. and the half wits. They can be displaced. by the Dec. memorial number.
You might note that the WASTE land WAS decently printed together in Dial, because I acted as Fulcrum, and the insult to Mauberly served to cause clean treatment of T.S.E.
The one thing that can be done to improve Harrients record is to perceive and ADMIT that the durable and first rate stuff ultimately COMPOSES the work of an age.
If you don’t know that YET. God damn you.
From T. S. Eliot, 22 October 1936
L/TSE 8: 355
Three cantoes read. Only one query (B) “see weed” etc. To one raised on the shore of the manymermaidcrowded sea, this collocation suggest ALGAE such as a child I dried and classified on the shores of Massachusetts. Just callin it to your attention thats all in case you didnt notice it living so far inland and you may not comb any on the Ligurural beach. Otherwise, nothing for the like of me to query: I didnt know such things happened so recently as 1732.
[…] Palmberston seems more in my line, I know his face well, but what are you doin a bout that? he may turn into a 6000 word article or a cantoe before you are done with that review.
see weed - Eliot may be referring to the line “See weed sprout over cornice” (Canto 42: l.55).
From T. S. Eliot, 4 December 1936
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 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
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
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.
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 – Scofield Thayer, one of the editors of The Dial, who published only the first six sections of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley on 3 September 1920 and misprinted the title as “H. S. Mauberly”
To Frank Morley, [undated]
YCAL 43, 35/1484
My dear Morley
Your letter to me on receipt of the three Siena cantos was I think you will find a definite acceptance of them for the January Criterion/
At least if you will refer to yr/ files I think you will [find] it difficult to put any other construction on it. Or to expect me to have understood anything else from it.
Subsequent matters, and the submission of the Cantos for volume, followed that. And took that as starting point.
I am withdrawing the TEN CANTO volume until this matter is cleared up. Eliot asks me to write in direct manner.
If a thing isn’t FIXED when it is fixed; where is one?
10th Sept. You invited Cantos AND the other piece for Dec/ Criterion.
If the cantos aren’t in that is that.
To Frank Morley, 6 December 1936
YCAL 43, 35/1484
My dear Morley,
Just what interpretation wd/ you expect anyone to put on yr/ letter of 10th Sept?
Until that is cleared up I don’t see anything for me to do but withdraw offer of the TEN CANTOS as a volume.
If that letter isn’t an invitation of the THREE cantos then under discussion/ for the December Criterion; what is it?
With the chance of the music article/ which Eliot threw out without mentioning that he was throwing out the Cantos
I don’t get the three Cantos being too high a percent/
y; v; t
Harriet shat on Propertius and Thayer on Mauberley/ and the Waste Land profited by those insults/
But if you as editor sink back to the level of Monroe and Thayer/ that is that.
and no progress has been made. In criteria of editing.
From T. S. Eliot, 9 December 1936
L/TSE 8: 400
Well there certainly was a slipup in the organisation just this once, and I for one tender my humble and unreserved apologies. I would seem that the Morley failed to explain to me the terms on which the 3 cantos were received. I would only point out  that his letter to which you refer merely said that he would do what he forgot to do – tell me that the 3 cantos were submitted as a unit for the December Criterion, without definitely promising inclusion, and  my own letter of 22 October is still capable of being interpreted simply as minor comment on what I thought was simply an advance instalment of the Book.
Now, what’s undone cant be done, and the December number is in Press. But, I have consulted my colleagues and they disagree with me as to the damage of printing 3/10 of the book in the Criterion, so I would like to print this batch of 3 in the March Criterion antedating publication of the book in the same Season. That means the Wyndham Lewis article in JUNE.
Cantoes 42/44 can be set up at once and payment can be made as soon as proof arrives, if desirable.
The 3 cantoss WOULD have been in Dec. Criterion, had I known they were OFFERED.
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.
From T. S. Eliot, 22 December 1936
L/TSE 8: 417
Well Ez, imprimis
First of All, please tell me who is the old BITCH on the Monument. This is important.
Cantos shall go to Press, but first of all here am I medjin an markin to callate for advance payment towards the New Year.
Now as to Palmerston, since you will keep sendin tauntin p.c. to the Whale, referrin to my profile, well, if you Will do Palmerston, send it on appro, but you understand it cant be now till September, because, Cantos April, Wyndham July, one two three. But I dont see absolutely acceptin Palmerston without seein, it being neither your beat nor mine, but if it is up to your level, well then. But I aint commisionin Parlmerstone, no not for the Criterium. Now you couldnt ask to be spoke more fair than that.
old BITCH – Eliot refers to a passage at the beginning of canto 42. In a letter on 27 December, Pound told Eliot he could replace the taunting word by “etcetera.” The bitch on the monument is Queen Victoria.
taunting p.c. – In Pound’s banter with his editors at Faber, Eliot was the elephant and Morley the whale. He wanted to know if Eliot accepted his review of Bell’s biography of Palmerston. Here Eliot gives him the definite answer he was asking for.
To T. S. Eliot, 27 December 1936
L/TSE 8: 417n.3
“I have forgotten” but if there is the least doubt resident in yr occiput that that ‘old BITCH’ refers to a statue of Moses ‘as Mrs Siddons’ back of the Stefanskirche in Vienna you better print it ‘that etcetera’
From T. S. Eliot, 30 December 1936
L/TSE 8: 421-2
Ezz Yes Goddambit but what I wanted was a Plain Answer: was or is the Old Bitch Queen Victoria (the natural inference) or Edith Cavell or who??? Your answer too subtile and coy. Goddambt it havent you any heart towards a publisher? If its Queen Victoria its troubble: now are you aimin at sending me to Wormbwood Scrubbs or not??? I mean, if you want to get me in for a stretch, aint you the man to admit your intentions? [...]
Cards on the tabble, Ez, cards on the tabble. I play straight poker with those that plays straight with me. And what have you to gain, except as a empty political demonbstration, by having me have my hair cut for 6 months in the 2nd division, what have you to gain? It isn’t as if I was a pal of Baldwin or anybody else. Well what.
Edith Cavell – British nurse who helped around 200 Allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium during WWI. She was arrested by the Germans and executed in 1915. She has a monument in St. Martin’s Place, London.
Wormbwood Scrubbs - HM Prison Wormswood Scrubs is a men’s prison in Hammersmith, London.
Baldwin – Stanley Baldwin (1867-1947), British Conservative politician.
From Morton Zabel, 28 December, 1936
YCAL 43, 57/2589
The executors of Harriet Monroe’s estate are meeting early in January to discuss the future of POETRY, and not until they do so can I give you the final decision on the manuscript of three cantos which you sent to Miss Monroe in September.
To T. S. Eliot, 2 January 1937
L/TSE 8: 422n.1
Wot HI sez EZ EF yew dont like it; LEAVE IT OUT.
If you think some buggar will think it is Victoriar R// leave it OUT. and dont try to entice me into defining what ought to be LEFT in a beautiful penumbra/ of course IF you as a reader are asking for INDIVIDUAL light, I sez THINK fer yerself cause yer uunderstanink is quite bright enuff.
I told you to putt/ “and leave that et cetera”
which can not be identified as the Juke of Yokk on Mr Landor’s epigram.
LEAVE IT out/ I don’t want you jugged, much as I wd like to accellerate yr/ metabolism. I dont FINK that is the way.
From T. S. Eliot, 6 January 1937
L/TSE 8: 437
Wal Ole Ez thats it if you say so it is so But you are such a comicker I didnt kno but what you was pullin my leg and sendin me to Wormbwood Scrubs. So ETCETERA AND HURRAH FOR ETCETERA I didnt mean all that to be in Capitals and I know you are worried about my thyroid and thymus but I Have had injections angainst influenza.
From T. S. Eliot, 19 February 1937
L/TSE 8: 505-6
Now Ez I got a bit of good news. You was right in your suspicions about these 3 cantoes. Paging from your types. was worked out to 13pp but I have had it done again from galley and it works out nearer 20 pp. so when I confirm that from the final page proof there shd. be a modest balance in your favour to settle promptly.
The Siena Cantos published in The Criterion in April 1937
The Fifth Decad is published by Faber & Faber on 3 June 1937
To Olga Rudge, 16 June 1937
YCAL 54, 17/462
Nothing else, cept he offerin to let Possum off Palmerston, if he can fink of anything better.
The Fifth Decad is published by Farrar and Rinehart on 29 November 1937
To Raven Thomson, 3 April 1938
Dear R/ T/
My Jeff/Muss was an endeavour to break down idiotic prejudice AGAINST the Italian de facto organism.
When I got to study of Leopold and later Tuscan reforms
I saw the continuity of process rather more clearly.
Cantos being the ONLY means at my disposal to break publisher’s boycott of certain subject matter.
Not the least just poesy about flowers. This re/ both the adams and Jefferson Cantos and the Monte dei Paschi.
THE SIENA CANTOS –
BOOKS AND DISSERTATIONS
- Heffernan, T. C. City of Universals: Siena in the Cantos of Ezra Pound. Thesis. Manchester University, 1963.
ARTICLES IN JOURNALS AND COLLECTIONS
- Blanton, C. D. “Ezra Pound’s Effective Demand: Keynes, Causality, and The Cantos.” Ezra Pound in the Present. Essays on Pound’s Contemporaneity. Eds. Paul Stasi and Josephine Park. London: Bloomsbury, 2016. 201-31.
- Drummond, John. “The Italian Background to The Cantos.” Ezra Pound. Ed. Peter Russell. London: 1950.
- Gery, John. “Cantos 42-44.” Readings in the Cantos. Ed. Richard Parker. Vol.2. Clemson: Clemson UP, 2022. 9-26.
- Hatcher, Leslie and Hugh Witemeyer. “Lord Palmerston as Factive Hero in The Cantos.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 25.1-2 (1996): 225-33.
- Kimpel, Ben and T. C. Duncan Eaves. “Sources of Cantos XLII and XLIII.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 6.3 (1977): 333-58.
- Kimpel, Ben and T. C. Duncan Eaves. “The Sources of the Leopoldine Cantos.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 7.1-2 (1978): 249-77.
- Kimpel, Ben and T. C. Duncan Eaves. “Pound’s Use of Sienese Manuscripts for Cantos XLII and XLIII.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 8.3 (1979): 81-93.
- Ricciardi, Caterina. “Archives.” Ezra Pound in Context. Ed. Ira Nadel. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. 148-58.
- Winterhalter, Teresa. “Eyeless in Siena, or Ezra Pound’s Vision Through History.” Paideuma 21.3 (Winter 1992): 109-122.
BOOK CHAPTERS AND SECTIONS
- Carpenter, Humphrey. A Serious Character: The Life of Ezra Pound Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988. 546.
- Cookson, William. A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 1985. 61-3.
- De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: XLV.” Ezra Pound. I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1532-33.
- Fang, Achilles. “Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos.” 4 vols. Diss. Harvard U, 1958. Vol I: 68-74.
- Furia, Philip. “Sienese Bank Charters.” In Pound’s Cantos Declassified. University Park and London: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1984. 65-74.
- Fusi, Valerio. “Appendice fotografica. Pound e L’Archivio di Stato di Siena.” In Ezra Pound. The Fifth Decad of Cantos. La Quinta decade dei Cantos. Trans. Mary de Rachewiltz. Rimini: Raffaelli, 2006. 125-31.
- Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Siena und die Leopoldinischen Reformen.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. 1256-9.
- Kearns, George. Guide to Ezra Pound’s Selected Cantos. New Brunswick: Rutgers, 1980. 102-20.
- Liebregts, Peter. Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2004. Section: 228-236.
- Makin, Peter. “Cantos XLII and XLIII: The Bank in Siena.” Pound’s Cantos. London: Allen & Unwin, 1985. 198-202.
- Malm, Mike W. “Siena”; “Cantos 42-44.” In Editing Economic History. Ezra Pound’s The Fifth Decad of Cantos. New York: Peter Lang, 2005. 58-61; 75-9.
- Marsh, Alec. “The Monte dei Paschi: Institutional Fertility Cult.” In Money and Modernity. Pound, Williams and the Spirit of Jefferson. Tuscaloosa: U of Alabama Press, 1998.
- 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. 212-16.
- Mordini, Maura. “Appendice: Pound e l’Archivio di Stato di Siena. Note sulla storia del Monte dei Paschi.” In Ezra Pound. The Fifth Decad of Cantos. La Quinta decade dei Cantos. Trans. Mary de Rachewiltz. Rimini: Raffaelli, 2006. 119-123.
- Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time. On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. New York: Oxford UP, 1969. 167-210.
- Preda, Roxana. “The Bank as Figure: an Archeology of the Historical Discourse in The Cantos.” In Ezra Pound’s (Post)modern Poetics and Politics: Logocentrism, Language, and Truth. New York: Peter Lang, 2001. 249-67.
- Stock, Noel. Reading the Cantos. A Study of Meaning in Ezra Pound. New York: Pantheon Books, 1966. 42-3.
- Surette, Leon. A Light from Eleusis. A Study of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Clarendon Press: 1979. 142-3.
- Taylor, Richard. “Editing the Variorum Cantos: Process and Policy.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship31.1-3 (2002): 311-34
- Terrell, Carroll F. “Cantos XLII-XLV.” A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 170-9.
- Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XLII.” Etching. 22 February 2013. Go to site.
- Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XLIII.” Etching, 18 April 2013. Go to site.
- Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XLIV.” Etching. 10 October 2013. Go to site.
- Sellar, Gordon. “Cantos XLII-XLV.” Part 32 of 55 in the series Blogging Ezra Pound’s The Cantos. gordsellar.com, 15 September 2012. Free online.