From the War of Secession up to now, the economic history, I might almost say the history of the United States has consisted in a series of stock exchange manoeuvres in New York and Chicago; attempts to impose monopolies, corners, variations in the prices of the shares of new industries and of the means of transportation. In the beginning they speculated on the value of land [...] Then they speculated on the values of the railroads.
Ezra Pound. An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States. SP 170.
Victor Bérard discovered that the geography of the Odyssey, grotesque when referred to a map, was minutely accurate according to the Phoenician voyagers’ periploi. The image of successive discoveries breaking upon the consciousness of the voyager is one of Pound’s central themes of the New Learning. The voyage of Odysseus to hell is the matter of Canto I. The first half of Canto XL is a periplum through the financial press; “out of which things seeking an exit,” we take up in the second half of the Canto the narrative of the Carthagenian Hanno’s voyage of discovery. [...] The periplum, the voyage of discovery among facts, whose tool is the ideogram, is everywhere contrasted with the conventions and artificialities of the bird’s eye view afforded by the map. Forms grow out of data. They are not to be imposed upon data.
Hugh Kenner. The Poetry of Ezra Pound. 102-3.
Hanno’s periplum has transitional significance for the poet voyager in more ways than one. It is a voyage of colonization and conquest – specifically, of African territory. Not accidentally, it directly introduces the Mussolini Canto, Canto 41. It appears that the long-pursued Italian policy of African colonization, given new impetus under Il Duce, is here glorified by a classic prototype wherein Hanno too sets up house among the Libyans and attacks the Ethiopians. Of course, the objection here might be raised that since this canto was published in 1934, Pound could not have known of Mussolini’s conquest of Ethiopia in 1935. The answer is that anyone reading newspapers during the period could easily have foreseen Mussolini’s Ethiopian venture, even though he may not have been able to predict its date.
Daniel Pearlman. The Barb of Time. On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. 166.
CANTO I [Odysseus’ voyage]
CANTO XVIII [the state money of Kublai Khan; the greenback]
CANTO XXIV [Niccolò d’Este’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem]
CANTO XXVIII [Atlantic voyages by sea and air]
CANTO XXXVII [from the Bank War to the Federal Reserve; idea of national bank in public ownership; greenbacks as non-usurious state money]
CANTO XXXVIII [financial manipulation in times of war; William D’Arcy and British colonialism; American stockbrokers and shortselling; Hanno’s expedition to Africa versus Frobenius’s.]
CANTO XXXIX [Hanno versus Odysseus: sailing after knowledge?]
CANTO XLV [usury]
CANTO XLVI [usury and the civil war]
CANTO L [usury and Napoleon; the rise of the Rothschilds; war and the gold market]
Ezra Pound and Dorothy Pound. Canto XXIX. In Shakespear’s Pound: Illuminated Cantos.
Nacogdoches, TX: LaNana Creek Press, [Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing], 1999.
Photo reproduction courtesy of Walter Baumann.
CALENDAR OF COMPOSITION
From this short calendar of composition, it emerges that Pound began canto XL in April and finished it by August 1933.
Correspondence by Ezra Pound: (c) Mary de Rachewiltz and the Estate of Omar S. Pound. Reproduced by permission.
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
Ezra Pound and James Laughlin: Selected Letters. Ed. David M. Gordon. New York: Norton, 1994.
Beinecke Library, Olga Rudge Papers, YCAL 54 Series I. Box no/Folder no
To Olga Rudge, [12? April 1933]
YCAL 54, 13/343
He done what may be anuther 1/2 canto.
To Olga Rudge, [15 August 1933]
YCAL 54, 14/353
He hazza vague idea he has busted the bak of Canto XL. and that the matière is mostly down/ tho needin squeezin.
To Olga Rudge, [18 August 1933]
YCAL 54, 14/354
Ziao, cara ’mure
He hasnt reread it; but thinks the pieces of XL probably make a canto.
To Olga Rudge, [24 August 1933]
YCAL 54, 14/355
Ziao; cara amure
Pluggink along with preparativi for XLI/ tho havent read over the draft of XL, a dunno quite how much it needs to drug it inteh shype.
To J. Laughlin, 22 January 1934
ALL right/ copies of 35/36 discovered.
That dry twig, [Harriet Monroe] in Chicago is rooting on 37.
38 you have.
39 can’t be released save in vol/ 40 and 41... waal we’ll see how the club furnishing holds out.
XL – BIBLIOGRAPHY
ARTICLES IN JOURNALS AND COLLECTIONS
- Casillo, R. “Nature, History, and Anti-Nature in Ezra Pound’s Fascism.” Papers on Language & Literature 22.3 (1986), 284-311.
- North, Michael. “Towers and the Visual Map of Pound’s Cantos.” Contemporary Literature 27.1 (1986): 17-31.
- Terrell, Carroll F. “The Periplus of Hanno.” Paideuma 1.1 (Spring 1972): 223–228.
- Walkiewicz, E. P. and Hugh Witemeyer, “A Public Bank in Canto 40.″ Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 19.3 (1990): 91-8. Go to article.
BOOK SECTIONS AND CHAPTERS
- Baumann, Walter. “Periplum.” The Rose in the Steel Dust. An Examination of The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Bern: Francke, 1967. 60-6.
- Casillo, Robert. The Genealogy of Demons. Anti-Semitism, Fascism, and the Myths of Ezra Pound. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP, 1988. 150-4.
- Cookson, William. “The Voyage of Hanno.” A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2009. 56-7.
- Davis, Earle. Vision Fugitive: Ezra Pound and Economics. Lawrence KS.: UP of Kansas, 1968. 62-7; 128-30.
- De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: XL.” Ezra Pound. I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1527-8.
- Fang, Achilles. “Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos.” 4 vols. Diss. Harvard U, 1958. Vol I: 62-4.
- Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto XLI.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. 1253-4.
- Kenner, Hugh. The Poetry of Ezra Pound. Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1951. 102-3.
- Liebregts, Peter. Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2004. 225-6.
- Moody, David. Ezra Pound: Poet. Vol. II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. 177.
- Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1969. 165-6.
- Sicari, Stephen. Pound’s Epic Ambition: Dante and the Modern World. New York: SUNY Press, 1991. 54-7.
- Surette, Leon. A Light from Eleusis. A Study of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979. 140-1.
- Stock, Noel. Reading the Cantos. A Study of Meaning in Ezra Pound. New York: Pantheon Books, 1966. 30-1.
- Terrell, Carroll F. “Canto XL.” A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 162-6.
- “Canto XL.” A Canto a Day. Blog. 12 April 2009. Go to site.
- “Ezra Pound. Canto XL.” The Coffee Philosopher. Go to site.
- “Hanno’s periplus.” Wikipedia.
- Guidi, Paolo. “Canto XL.” Etching. 27 February 2013. Go to site.
- Sellar, Gordon. “Blogging Pound’s The Cantos: Cantos XL-XLI.” gordsellar.com, 31 August 2012. Go to site.