Article Index

 

 

ELEVEN NEW CANTOS

XXXI - XLI

 

 

 

11 new version 3

XXXI XXXII XXXIII XXXIV 
XXXV XXXVI XXXVII XXXVIII
XXXIX XL XLI

 

The heritage of Jefferson, Quincy Adams, old John Adams, Jackson, van Buren is HERE, NOW in the Italian peninsula at the beginning of fascist second decennio, not in Massachusetts or Delaware. 

To understand this we must have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the first fifty years of United States history AND some first hand knowledge of Italy 1922-33 or 1915-33, or still better some knowledge of 160 years of American democracy and of Italy for as long as you like. 

Ezra Pound. Jefferson and/or Mussolini. Fascism as I have Seen It. [1933] London: Nott, 1935. 12.

 

Periods of American national life:

1. American civilisation, 1760-1830.

2. The period of thinning, of mental impoverishment, scission between life of the mind and life of the nation, say 1830-1860.

3. The period of despair, civil war as hiatus, 1870 to 1930. The division between the temper, thickness, richness of the mental life of Henry Adams, and Henry James, and that of say U. S. Grant, McKinley, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover.

4. The possibilities of revival, starting perhaps with a valorisation of our cultural heritage. 

Ezra Pound. “The Jefferson-Adams Letters as a Shrine and Monument”  [1937] in Selected Prose, 117.

 

Pound’s principle of historical explanation is neither Spenglerian nor Marxist; it is Douglasite. On Douglasite grounds the process of history can only be understood when the place and function of money and credit in society is understood. However, Douglas’s economic theories were not devised to explain the past; his interest was in the present and the immediate future. The notion that great historical events can be explained by the touchstone of sound monetary principles is excessively simplistic. Commitment to such a view obliges one to account for wars and economics or political collapse by ascribing incredible stupidity or boundless malice to the leaders of nations. Pound does not shrink from this necessity. 

Leon Surette. A Light from Eleusis. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1979. 166.

 

Note on the colours used in the table above: violet: companion to the canto; green - link to the poem text and annotation.