COMPANION TO CANTO XXII
Annotations in the List of Works Cited:
Contributor name. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.gloss number. The Cantos Project. Web. Date of access.
Example: Preda, Roxana. The Online Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound, IV: n.13. The Cantos Project. Web. 5 September 2016.
(Contributor name, OCCEP IV: n.no).
Example: (Bressan, OCCEP IV: n.3). If no name is indicated, the gloss or translation was written by Roxana Preda. In this case, the citation will have this format: (OCCEP IV: n.13).
References to The Cantos
As The Cantos Project is numbering the lines of The Cantos, references to cantos already glossed will be by canto number and line(s), as standard with classical works. Example: III: ll.7–17.
For cantos that are not yet glossed within the project, the references will be by canto number slash page number, as standard in the research on the poem. Example: III/12. The page number refers to the American edition of The Cantos by Ezra Pound. New York: New Directions, 1998.
© Roxana Preda. Companion to Canto XXII, 17 January 2018.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Terrell, Carroll F. A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: U of California P, 1993.
Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound to His Parents – Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A. David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.
Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound’s Poetry & Prose: Contributions to Periodicals. Eds. Lea Baechler, Walton Litz and James Longenbach. New York: Garland, 1991.
- That man – Thaddeus Coleman Pound (1832-1914), Pound’s grandfather, whom he mentioned in the preceding canto, XXI: 42. Pound is quoting a relative on his mother’s side who had invested in Thaddeus’s railway (‘The Revolt of Intelligence,’ VIII (1920), see Resources).
Thaddeus was an entrepreneur and politician. He was a pioneer in the state of Wisconsin and considered a founding father of the town of Chippewa Falls, where he settled in 1857. He had various businesses: lumbering, mining and railroad building. He was also a congressional representative for Wisconsin (Wilhelm, 14; Marsh 1995: 167-68).
- that railway – The logs that were felled in Wisconsin were traditionally transported south on the Mississippi river, but as the trees were felled further north, railways became necessary for the transport of the logs to the water. Lumbering and the railways were connected businesses in Wisconsin after the civil war:
“As trees were felled further and further from rivers, steam tractors and railways became necessary to haul the logs to the water. Thaddeus brought the first railroad to Chippewa Falls in 1873, the Chippewa Falls and Western. His business failed as a result of the credit crisis of 1875, but he recovered financially and was involved in building the Grand Trunk and Soo lines” (Marsh 1995: 167; 2003: 13).
- As it costs – Excerpt from a cutting from the Chicago Tribune included in Thaddeus Coleman Pound’s Scrapbook (p. 27) which Homer Pound sent to Ezra in May 1924 (Marsh 1995: 168).
Thaddeus “was elected to three terms in the U.S. Congress (1876-1882). During his service in Washington, Pound was involved in promoting railroads, in pushing legislation to help educate the Indians and in attempts to persuade the federal government to involve itself in reservoir and irrigation projects along the Chippewa River. In 1880 his political ally, James Garfield, was elected President and […] Pound was seriously considered for the post of Secretary of the Interior.” (Marsh 1995: 167).
- Warenhauser – Thaddeus’s competitor in the lumber business.
“Friedrich Weyerhaeuser (1834-1914) was born in Germany and emigrated to America in 1852. Homer wrote that in 1925 the Weyerhauser Lumber Co. ‘is one of the largest in this Country and I understand controls and owns more timber than any other company’” (L/HP 560).
- American Curia – The American Senate.
In April 1925, Pound remarked to his father on Weyerhauser’s liberal interpretation of the legislation:
“His dealings with the govt. were purrfekly legal. The senate was fool enough to tell him he cd. have the trees, and not to specify how wide the road wuz to BEE. I remember your once saying that he et up pore ole T.C.” (L/HP 562, 63. See Calendar).
- Northwestern railway – The Northern Pacific Railroad, running from Duluth and St. Paul, Minnesota, to Seattle and Portland. It was chartered by Congress in 1864. Construction began in 1870 and lasted for 13 years (C XXII: n. 4).
C. H. – Clifford Hugh Douglas, the inventor of Social Credit. By the time of the meeting between Douglas and Keynes, Douglas had already serialized his books Economic Democracy in the pages of The New Age (June-August 1919) and Credit Power and Democracy (February 1919-August 1920). Both series appeared in book form under these titles in 1920 (Surette Eleusis 277-78).
Pound presents Douglas as an avant-garde economist who was misunderstood and rejected by the Establishment. As Douglas was a former engineer untrained in economics, the meeting with Keynes was crucial to the promotion of his theories. See also next note.
- Mr. Bukos – Pseudonym for John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946). At the time of the meeting, 1920, Keynes had had a brilliant career as an economist: after studies in Cambridge, he became editor of The Economic Journal in 1911; by 1915, he had a position at the Treasury. As its representative, he was called to participate in the WWI peace negotiations at Versailles. His book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), argued on both economic and ethical grounds against the crippling reparations that were imposed on Germany.
During the 1920s and 1930s, his ideas matured, leading to his most important book, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936). In it, despite taking a decisive critical position against the orthodoxies of his own economic education, he included a disparaging evaluation of Douglas’s Social Credit:
“Since the war there has been a spate of heretical theories of under-consumption, of which those of Major Douglas are the most famous. The strength of Major Douglas's advocacy has, of course, largely depended on orthodoxy having no valid reply to much of his destructive criticism. On the other hand, the detail of his diagnosis, in particular the so-called A + B theorem, includes much mere mystification. If Major Douglas had limited his B-items to the financial provisions made by entrepreneurs to which no current expenditure on replacements and renewals corresponds, he would be nearer the truth. But even in that case it is necessary to allow for the possibility of these provisions being offset by new investment in other directions as well as by increased expenditure on consumption. Major Douglas is entitled to claim, as against some of his orthodox adversaries, that he at least has not been wholly oblivious of the outstanding problem of our economic system. Yet he has scarcely established an equal claim to rank—a private, perhaps, but not a major in the brave army of heretics—with Mandeville, Malthus, Gesell and Hobson, who, following their intuitions, have preferred to see the truth obscurely and imperfectly rather than to maintain error, reached indeed with clearness and consistency and by easy logic but on hypotheses inappropriate to the facts” (370).
- H.C.L.– high cost of living.
In Pound’s assessment, the high cost of living was owing to Douglas’s insight, which is at the basis of his Social Credit theory, that “every industry creates PRICES faster than it distributes the POWER TO BUY” (P&P VI: 124).
Douglas elaborated his insight in the so-called A+B theorem: every price contains payments that an entrepreneur needs to make: “A” payments (for the costs of labour) and “B” payments (interest on his bank loans, expenses for materials, expenses from wastage and from “rejects”). As both A and B are parts of the price for a product, the costs for wages and salaries (the A payments) are necessarily lower than the aggregate prices, which also contain the B payments. Social credit is a sum of measures designed to correct this imbalance. Its most important are: the national dividend (a fixed sum distributed by the governement to all citizens to supplement salaries) and the just price (to fix prices adjusting them to the use value of a product plus the rate of inflation). See Douglas’s argument in Economic Democracy 63-71.
- Lack of labour – Keynes’s answer to the problem of the high cost of living is indeed conservative, and assumes that if products and services are expensive, the reason must be that the labour costs are too high. If there is a lack or a scarcity of labour, then the demand for labour is greater and the wages increase, pushing up prices.
In the canto, Pound shows that with unemployment being so high, labour cannot be expensive, on the contrary. See also his remarks of 1933, where he openly accuses Keynes of lying. (“Secret International” in Calendar.)
As seen in n.9, Douglas had a completely different answer to the high cost of living. This would have been owed to the ever-growing disparity between A payments (wages and salaries) and B payments (reflecting the cost of materials and bank credits to the entrepreneur). For Douglas and Pound, it was particularly the costs of bank credit (interest and excessive interest, usury), which raised an entrepreneur’s prices and were responsible for the high cost of living. Douglas’s theory, Social Credit, aimed to do away with these by transferring the control of finance to the community as a whole.
“The principal difference between Douglas’s analysis and that of Keynes is in Douglas’s belief that the depression of 1920 and 1921 was ‘directly and consciously caused by the concerted action of the banks’” (Surette Eleusis 85).
- Standu … d’Adamo – I. “I stood in the earthly paradise thinking of how to make a companion for Adam.”
Start of an anecdote that Pound overheard in a hotel in Sirmione where the hotel-keeper was teasing “his genteel lady-cashier” (Kenner 7, also cited in C XXII: n. 18).
According to Massimo Bacigalupo, the accent of the speaker is possibly Sardinian. He comments: “The traditional theme of the unpredictable temper of women, another example of unbeatable individuality, will be picked up in the canto’s conclusion” (2013).
- Mr. H. B. – There is a historical disagreement among translators and annotators about who H. B. might be. C. F. Terrell assumed it is Mr. Bukos, i.e. Keynes. However, if we take the date of the meeting between Douglas and Keynes to be 1920, then Keynes had not yet published a notable book on economic theory. His first breakthrough book was The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), a very timely book, which could not possibly be “out of date” in 1920. In the Lerici edition of A Draft of XXX Cantos (1961), we read H. B. is J. A. Hobson. This suggestion is more plausible, as Hobson had published his main book detailing his theory of underconsumptionism, Imperialism: A Study, in 1902. However, this would not make sense of the formulation Pound chooses in his lines. The acronym does not correspond and a book published in 1902 is quite naturally out-of-date by 1920.
A much more likely candidate for H.B. is Hilaire Belloc, the author of the book The Servile State (1912). Douglas based a number of his political insights on Belloc’s book, as keenly observed by Surette (Purgatory 22).
In 1920, Pound commented:
“Major Douglas is at least philosophically wholesome, and if his forebodings are exaggerated they at any rate show what kind of perils he would teach his audience to avoid:
‘The danger which at the moment threatens individual liberty far more than any extension of individual enterprise is the servile State; the erection of an irresistible and impersonal organisation through which the ambition of able men, animated consciously or unconsciously by the lust of domination, may operate to the enslavement of their fellows.’” (“Probari Ratio” [April 1920] in SP 209).
- the office – probably the office of the New Age, the publisher of Douglas’s books. It is likely that H.B.’s remark is an answer to a request for a review or endorsement.
- McNarpen and Company – pseudonym for Macmillan Publishers. (See Eliot’s letter of August 1933 in the Calendar).
- Palgrave’s Golden Treasury – Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1897), English poet and professor of poetry at Oxford. His anthology, The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs and Lyrical Poems in the English Language was first published in 1861 (C XXII: n. 12). Golden Treasury.
- Nel paradiso terrestre – I. “In the earthly paradise.”
- una compagna d’Adamo … volpe – I. “a companion for Adam. What to do? And then I saw a fox.”
- e pensava – I. “and I thought”
- Corre volpe … volpe – I. “Run fox run, Christ running, fox running, Christ running and he took a leap and caught the tail of the fox.”
- e di questu … rabbia – I. “And for this reason woman is a fury, a fury and a rage.”
- Meestair Freer – Pound travelled to Gibraltar with his Aunt Frank in 1902. Her name was Amelia Weston, but she travelled using her maiden name, Freer. Hence, Yusuf Benemore, who had met Pound in 1902, called him by that name.
- Years before that – The scenes from Gibraltar that Pound recounts in this canto happened in 1908, when Pound had disembarked from his ship from America for his new life in Europe. The first time Pound had been to Gibraltar was in 1902, six years before.
- the shirt-seller – the shirt-seller’s (nick)name is Ginger and appears further down, in line 86.
- Calpe Lyceo – Café Gibraltar. Calpe in Spanish refers to Mt Gibraltar. (Davis and McWhirter 159).
- Gibel-Tara – Gibraltar comes from the Arabic Jebel Taraq (Davis and McWhirter 159).
- Jeen-Jah – Ginger, probably the nick-name of a shirt seller that Mohammed was overseeing and taxing.
- Yusuf – Yusuf Benemore, a Jewish travel guide who befriended Pound in 1902 and 1908.
Pound considered Yusuf a friend who had given him vital help: he declared that Yusuf had “saved his life” (quoted in Stock 45). Pound wanted his father to look up Yusuf when landing in Gibraltar in 1928 to tell him that Ezra had put him in an edition of deluxe Cantos. (L/HP 656; Bacigalupo 2013. See also Calendar.)
- calle – S. “street.”
- Granada – Town in Southern Spain. Pound made a few days’ trip north and returned to Gibraltar.
- sh-ha-reef – A. “shareef” or “sharif” a traditional Arabic title based on the original meaning of the word, “noble” or “high-born” i.e. descending from the Prophet Muhammad.
- Edward the Seventh – King Edward the Seventh (1841-1910) King of Great Britain, 1901-1910. Gibraltar has been a territory controlled by the British Crown since 1713.
- faceva bisbiglio – I. “whispered.”
- And the judge says – Pound took the following anecdote about the application of sumptuary laws in medieval Florence from Franco Sachetti’s book Trecento Novelle, 1399. The vignette is based on Sachetti’s Novella XXXVII. See text and translation in Sources.
- lattitzo – I. “lattizo,” suckling animal resembling ermine (C XXII: n. 32).
“Antiquarian without knowing it, custodian of the museum of his heart, he searched our old chronicles for some exciting episode, some curious word. One night when he found the word “lattizzo” he ran out half-naked through the Rapallo streets yelling: “lattizzo, lattizzo!”, and his wife had a hard time bringing him back home” (Eugenio Montale Sulla poesia 449, quoted by Bacigalupo 2013).