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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.

Andrew TaylorThe 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 2020. 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.

RoxanaThe 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, 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.

Permission to proceed was graciously granted by New Directions in February 2012 and formally reinforced in March 2013. The copyright negotiations 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.

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)




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 will be shown in full text at any one time. As work on the cantos proceeds, the canto text with annotation is replaced by a Companion page. 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.

rsz a draft of xxx cantos title page 

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.
  • Section level – Commentaries and 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.
  • Canto title page level – Commentaries, readings, calendars of composition, illuminated title pages of early editions and bibliographies. Excerpts from Pound's sources, as well as references to works used in annotation will also be listed at this level.
  • Canto lines level – multimedia annotation. Within the glosses, we find links, images, maps and other supporting materials.The annotation will look like an electronic card which opens when the reader hovers over an underlined word in the poem. The advantage of annotation for the readers is that they will not need to leave the poem page - reading the poem can proceed almost seamlessly. The annotation will disappear as soon as the user moves the mouse. To ensure full verifiability, the annotations 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).


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, events, reviews, existing discussions.
  • Editors are managing the site, providing the first input and evaluating contributions. Scholars who wish to have a deeper involvement with the project and would like to become contributors or editors, please contact Andrew Taylor or Roxana Preda through the website contact form.