“Pound’s recent unfinished epic, three cantos of which appear in the American edition of Lustra, proceeds by a very different method than that of Joyce in Ulysses. In appearance, it is a rag-bag of Mr. Pound’s reading in various languages, from which one fragment after another is dragged to light, and illuminated by the beauty of his phrase. [...] And yet the thing has, after one has read it once or twice, a positive coherence; it is an objective and reticent autobiography.”
T. S. Eliot. “A Note on Ezra Pound.” (To-Day, 4 Sept 1918).
The Three Cantos published in the Chicago magazine Poetry in June-July-August 1917 are Pound’s first attempt at beginning the long poem he had been thinking about since 1904-1905. He was not happy with them and started changing them even before they were published. Pound discarded them altogether when he reworked the material in 1923 for A Draft of XVI Cantos (1925). But the Three Cantos stayed in print in Poetry and his volume Lustra: rather than a false start, they are the laboratory of the cantos to come. Topics, themes, and images presented here were taken up again later at various points in the poem; the last part of Three Cantos III was reworked to be included in Canto I. If Pound had been looking for a way to begin, the writing of these “discarded” cantos was his way of experimenting with available possibilities.
Roxana Preda. The Cantos Project, 2015.
THREE CANTOS [UR-CANTOS]
- Taylor, Richard, D. Variorum Edition of Three Cantos. A Prototype. Bayreuth: Boomerang Press, 1991.
- Bush, Ronald. The Genesis of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1992.
ARTICLES IN JOURNALS AND COLLECTIONS
- Bornstein, George. “Pound’s Parleyings with Robert Browning.” Ezra Pound among the Poets. Ed. George Bornstein. Chicago. U of Chicago P, 1985. 106-127.
- Bush, Ron. “The Cantos. The Ur-Cantos.” The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia. Eds. D. Tryphonopoulos and Stephen J. Adams. Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, 2005. 26.
- Carr, Helen. “The Ur-Cantos.” Readings in The Cantos. Ed. Richard Parker. Clemson: Clemson UP, 2018. 9-32.
- Fletcher, Angus. “Ezra Pound’s Egypt and the Origin of the ‘Cantos.’” Twentieth Century Literature 48.1 (Spring 2002): 1-21.
- Foster, John L. “Pound’s Revision of Cantos I-III.” Modern Philology 63.3 (1966): 236-245. Go to article.
- Giesenkirchen, Michaela. “‘But Sordello, and My Sordello?’: Pound and Browning’s Epic.” Modernism/Modernity 8.4 (2001): 623-642.
BOOK CHAPTERS AND SECTIONS
- Bacigalupo, Massimo. “Lineaments of Space: From Hugh Selwyn Mauberley to the Early Cantos.” The Forméd Trace. The Later Poetry of Ezra Pound. New York: Columbia UP, 1980. 5-51.
- Beasley Rebecca. “A Visual Poetics? From the first Cantos to Mauberley.” Ezra Pound and the Visual Culture of Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2007. 112-153. [Section: 112-144].
- A Serious Character. The Life of Ezra Pound. New York: Delta, 1988. [Sections: 287-294; 353-354].
- De Rachewiltz, Mary, Moody David A., and Joanna Moody eds. Ezra Pound to his Parents. Letters 1895-1929. Oxford UP, 2010.
- Dekker, George. “The Cancelled Cantos.” In Sailing after Knowledge. The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963. 149-154.
- Dennis, Helen. A New Approach to the Poetry of Ezra Pound Through the Medieval Provençal Aspect. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Pres, 1996. 246-261.
- Eliot, T. S. “A Note on Ezra Pound.” [To-Day, 4 Sept 1918]. The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot: The Critical Edition. Eds. Jewel Spears Brooker and Ronald Suchard. Vol. 1. Baltimore: JHUP, 2014. 749-753. Project Muse. 21 March 2015.
- Flory, Wendy. Ezra Pound and The Cantos: A Record of Struggle. New Haven: Yale UP, 1980. 102-105.
- Liebregts, Peter. Ezra Pound and Neoplatonism. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 2004. 97-131.
- Longenbach, James. “Ghosts Patched with Histories.” Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats and Modernism. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1988. 222-250.
- Longenbach, James. “Three Cantos and the War Against Philology.” Modernist Poetics of History. Pound, Eliot, and the Sense of the Past. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1987. 96-131.
- Makin, Peter. “Ur-Cantos.” In Pound's Cantos. London: Allen & Unwin, 1985. 49-54.
- Moody, David A. “'Three Cantos’: finding his form.” Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and His Work. I: The Young Genius 1885-1920. Oxford & New York: Oxford UP, 2007. 306-315.
- Ricciardi, Caterina. “Il Rinascimento dei Three Cantos.” Eikones. Ezra Pound e il Rinascimento. Napoli: Liguori Editore, 1991. 23-64.
- Robinson, Peter. “Ezra Pound and Italian Art.” Pound’s Artists. Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy. London: Tate Gallery Publications, 1985. 121-176. [Section: 124-130.] Print.
- Sieburth, Richard. [Notes to Three Cantos (Lustra version)]. Ezra Pound Poems & Translations. New York: Library of America, 2003. 1284-93.
- Surette, Leon. A Light from Eleusis. A Study of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1979. 8-15.
- Taylor, Richard D. “Reconstructing Ezra Pound’s Cantos, Variorum Edition – Manuscript Archive – Reading Text.” Ezra Pound and America. Ed. J. Kaye. London: Macmillan, 1992. 132-148.
- Wilhelm, J. J. “The Quest for the Cantos (July 1915-December 1916).” Ezra Pound in London and Paris. 1908-1925. University Park: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1990. 178-192.