Article Index

 

 

CANTO XXXI

 

 

 

 

450px Thomas Jefferson Portrait

Jefferson was polumetis, many-minded, and as literature wasn’t his main job, this multiplicity is now recorded item by item in his letters, one interest at a time, and the unreflective reader gets simply the sense of leisure without perceiving the essential dynamism of the man who did get things DONE. 

Ezra Pound. Jefferson and/or Mussolini. London: Nott, 1935. 89

 

“As a monument” of I should prefer to say as a still workable dynamo, left us from the real period, nothing surpasses the Jefferson correspondence. [...]

I shall define a civilised man as one who can give a serious answer to a serious question and whose circle of mental reference is not limited to mere acquisition of profit. The degree of his civilisation will depend both on the depth of his thought and on the spread of his curiosity. [...]

Jefferson specifically wanted a civilisation in Virginia.

Ezra Pound. “The Jefferson-Adams Letters as a Shrine and a Monument.” SP 147, 148, 157.

 

RELATED CANTOS 

CANTO XXI

CANTO XXXII

CANTO XXXIII

 


 

 

CANTO XXXI – READINGS

 

 

  

 

Paul 2

Roxana Preda. Introduction to Canto XXXI.

Paul Cunningham reading the canto. Video clip on ucreate.

Readings in The Cantos of Ezra Pound. III. Cantos of the 1930s.

Edinburgh Scottish Poetry Library, 28 February 2019.

Photos courtesy of John Glendinning, 25 April 2019.

Copyright © 1934, 1968 by Ezra Pound. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

 


 

 

CANTO XXXI 

 

 

 

 

Canto 31

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.

  

 


 

 

CANTO XXXI 

CALENDAR OF COMPOSITION

 

 

 

As the correspondence with Olga Rudge attests, Canto XXXI was begun on 15 December 1930 and ready by Christmas. It was then sent to T. S. Eliot for publication in The Criterion at the end of the year. On the 1st of January 1931, Eliot, despite having requested a canto in July, wrote back to say he was not going to publish XXXI, as British readers were not familiar with the details of American revolutionary history.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Correspondence by Ezra Pound: (c) Mary de Rachewiltz and the Estate of Omar S. Pound. Reproduced by permission.

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AC

Ten Eyck, David. Ezra Pound’s Adams Cantos. London: Bloomsbury, 2012. 

L/HP

Pound, Ezra. Ezra Pound to His Parents – Letters 1895-1929. Eds. Mary de Rachewiltz, A. David Moody and Joanna Moody. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.

L/TSE

Eliot, T. S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Volume 5: 1930-1931. London: Faber, 2014.

L/LZ

Pound/Zukofsky. Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky. Ed. Barry Ahearn. New York: New   Directions, 1987.

YCAL 

Beinecke Library, Yale University. Ezra Pound Papers, YCAL 43;  Olga Rudge YCAL 54, General Correspondence. Box no/Folder no.

 

1916

To Homer Pound, [22 September 1916], London

L/HP 379

Dear Dad

[…]

Neither England nor America have yet learned the lesson of honesty from Voltaire. Jefferson probably read him, but the rest of America has absorbed only Rousseau’s rhetoric, and Montesquieu who is inexact and rhetorical though right in his general drift. 

 

1919

To Homer Pound, 13 December 1919

L/HP 455

Dear Dad

[...]

          Have been reading works of Thos. Jefferson [...]. Wider knowledge of T.J.’s life and opinions would be a good pill for the Murkhn Peepul; however the little school text books will probably go on telling the little lies some swine thinks ought to be told to the unfortunate young.

 

1920

To Isabel Weston Pound, 14 January, 1920, London 

L/HP 459

Dear Mother

[...]

          It is a great pity that Th. Jefferson is not taught in American schools. 

 

1924

To Homer Pound, c. 1 May 1924, Perugia

L/HP 528 

Dear Dad

[...]

This note mainly to ask if you know any thing about American Presidents - I have what I need on Wash. & Jefferson but that’s about all. - I don’t care a damn about their public eye wash. I want facts indicative of personality. 

Is there anything in yr. old vols. of Grant’s Life. - or Blaine’s ‘20 years of congress.’ - or did you pick up anything when you were in Washington or from T.C.P. that threw any light on Garfield - Arthur - G.C. - or whomever happened before Garfield. Lincoln?? (forget dates. Johnson, Grant,?? Hayes. - Garfield - forget if there were any others. -

Can you look over books in Phila library. -

Jefferson’s letters I have read. He was probably the only civilized man who ever held down the job.

(of course it is now accepted that Lincoln was J.Xt & not human. - so I’m not counting him.)

Tyler - Harrison lst possible Monroe. might be the brighter spots in the annals of national bad taste.

I can’t remember the names of a lot of ‘em. There was a Johnny named Polk & two bums called Adams// anny how it wd. be more interesting for you to read such of their correspondence as is printed - than to read the pollyanay de nos jours -

I believe Grover has written his own life - but suppose the book’s bunk & designed to tell the young to be industrious.

Any how the earlier occupants are more likely to be interesting.

  

T. S. Eliot to Olivia Shakespear, 3 May 1924, Milestone Cottages

L/TSE 2: 401

Dear Mrs Shakespear,

On the contrary, it is possible that Ezra may curse me. To the best of my recollection the complete works of Thomas Jefferson were left at Holland Place Chambers. Ezra had them for a long time and I think that when he went to Paris, we had some discussion as to whether he should return them to me. There are a great many volumes and my flat was already filled with books, so I think that he agreed to store them for me. At any rate I have not got the Jefferson now and I think that you will find them at Holland Place Chambers.

  

To Homer Pound, 28 May 1924

L/HP 531

Dear Dad

Re yrs. 14thinst. THAT (i.E. uninterestingness of U.S. presdts.) is PREcisely the point. – I hope, with a few well chosen phrases, to rub it in.

only I want an almost infinite number of facts to select from.

[...]

Re executives, I have one or two plums. Geo. W’s death – Jefferson trying to get a gardener who cd. play the french horn in quartette after dinner. (wanted to import one along with a clavicord) Shd. like something of the Lincoln family that hadn’t been worn to death & that didn’t feature J. Christ too heavily – also Grant.

The row of duds begins early with Mr. Adams.

 

 From Dorothy Pound, 29 July 1924, London

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III 

Have found the ten vols. of the good Jefferson in two brown paper parcels on shelf over front door! Am glad to have tracked them down. That will have to wait until Sept. when either O.S. or self will look up – Tell me again what you want beside the French horn gardener.

 

From Dorothy Pound, 30 July 1924, London

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III 

I feel Jefferson deserves yr notice! But imagine that he will go into Cantos (& be the more pleased)

 

To Dorothy Pound, 4 August 1924, Paris

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III 

Mao

[…]

In the Jefferson I want his account of Washington’s sidestepping the question about Xtianity. I think you might bring back a few vols, and let me read em in Italy. There shd be room for em in the box. Must stir up the box maker.

Bring a few vols, say 3, of the letters. If not too much trouble.

 

From Dorothy Pound, 6 August 1924, London 

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III 

Dearest Ming 

[…] 

I can’t possibly bring over any Jefferson, as my luggage is reduced to one suit-case: but I’ll post them to you. 

 

To Dorothy Pound, 6 August 1924

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III

General clearance 

[…] 

Post Jeffrsn that’s O.K. 

 

To Dorothy Pound, 30 August 1923

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III

It is the Jeff. correspondence, not the FREE PRESS that I want. Thanks for the Wash. matter.

 

To Homer Pound, 25 October 1924, Rapallo

L/HP 545

Dear Dad:

[...]

Must start on another LONG hunk of Canti, like the Sigismundo having used up the chop-chop in the five now drafted. (2 of which I have sent you.

As you say U.S. presidents do not present ALL the features required for the full mind. Am using a bit of Jefferson in the XX or thereabouts.

 

To Isabel Weston Pound, 12 November 1924

L/HP 547

Dear Mother,

Have come on notice of a volume of Dolly Madison’s letters. Also some ambiguous remarks about John Tyler’s daughter in law, no name given; having written letters to her sister.

Presumably using name Tyler.

Can you get hold of either volume, and send it me if it contains anything of interest.

Am, as I wrote father some time ago; looking for material for American History, NOT doctored to suit text books. 

Old T. Jefferson has some excellent passages. The Tyler administration shd. be entertaining. Have got one good line from T.C.P. re/ the cost of shooting Indians. 

The way the notice of Tyler matter is worded, D. Maddison might have married Tyler’s son; and there may be only one book. Have vague impression that she was Mrs. Maddison … however … even that wouldn’t have prevented her making a 2nd. splice.

 

1925

To Homer Pound, 28 November 1925, Rapallo

L/HP 583

Dear Dad:

[...]

Oh well. I still hope that no democrat will ever sit in the Whitehouse.

But I wish they’d make Tom Jefferson’s works compulsory in the schools 

[...]

Very hard to get a just formula: BUT if the res publica means anything at all it ought to mean “The Public convenience.”

that is what Jefferson and Co, tried to make it mean. And no nation has ever so betrayed itself  (save possibly in a complete collapse under invasion) in so short a time as America during the past ten years.

A law that has to enforce itself by illegal means is an abomination.

The anonymous tyranny of anonymous non entities working by paper forms, has NONE of the advantages of individual tyranny, and I imagine it has ALL of its evils. (though I may exaggerate in this latter).

[…]

The nation, I meen the peepul are what? 60% solid bone, 15% criminal, and 5% cranks. The five percent run the show for the profit of the 15%

or do I exaggerate. are there 19 just men in the Gomorrah. 

 

1930

From T. S. Eliot, 7 July 1930

L/TSE 5:240

Dear Rabbit,

I have been in treaty with Mr Louis Zukofsky (like everybody whom I have endorsed for a Guggenheimer he has failed) about publication of an Essay on yr. Cantoes & have agreed with him amicably to publish as much of same as will fit in comforamably to a No. of the criterion; but I think & he thinks too in that kase it wd. be decent of you to let appear one (1) cantoe either simulataneousley prior or subsequent or compline; I think pertikerly (pronunciation of H. M. Goereg Vth) as you have given cantoes to Hound & Horn (Hornhound) which cant pay very much more than I do (I know Kirstein & Bandler) you might consider this careful ley even privately printed cantoe might serve. please reply by return of Poste. 

Notes

Eliot published Zukofsky’s essay on the first 30 cantos: “The Cantos of Ezra Pound (One section of a long essay).” The Criterion 10 (April 1931) 424-440.

Pound had published cantos XXVIII-XXX with Hound and Horn in April 1930.

 

From T. S. Eliot, 7 July 1930

L/TSE  5:290

Hon. Rabbit,

Re yours of the 11th ultimo from Venice, I would remind you that the reason I have never enquired for cantoes for publication in Criterion is that I believed that your price would be too high. We have one price only: £2 per 1000 words for prose and £1:1 – (one guinea) per page for verse, high and low being treated alike. 

I should like a contoe for December (i.e. by middle of September) either to accompany or to precede the Zukosky, preferably the former. 

No objection to synchronization with Hornhound, but I wish they would stop printing articles on Humanism.

 

To Olga Rudge, 29 July 1930

YCAL 54 9/221

Ziao Cara

[…]

Have finished one Frobenius and entered another.

Am gittin on wiff pome.

 

To Olga Rudge, 9 August 1930 

AC 17

have compulsed one vol. Adams letters

Note: we do not know what exactly the volume was. It may have been volume IX of Adams’s Works, as Pound later stated he was waiting for another eight from London. 

 

To Olga Rudge, 10 August 1930 

AC 17

At last, sheets of XXX to sign. It has at any rate got to the binder. He is plugging along with Adams letters.

 

To Olga Rudge, 1 November 1930

YCAL 54 9/235>

Ziao, amure

[…]

In fact he has chawed thru a nuther large hunk of Ad’s Jeff and the effek on his forms of xpression is such as warrants it onlikely that he will for the oncoming 86 hours be capable of terminating any sentence until it have run its leisurely course to at least one hunderd or over an hundred words. an thass thett.

Note: “From its first appearance in August 1930 until the spring of 1931, John Adams’s name appears almost as regularly as that of Thomas Jefferson in Pound’s correspondence. In these months, his reading was divided between the volume of Adam’s letters mentioned above, the Adams-Jefferson correspondence and portions of the twenty volume Lipscomb-Bergh edition of the Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Pound read the latter only very partially, focusing particularly on Jefferson’s correspondence.” AC 17-8.

 

To Louis Zukofsky, 18 November, 1930, Rapallo

L/LZ 74

Z//

[...]

The Reznikoff I was in act of placing or trying to place elsewhere. However I will recall it. Am trying to write Cantos 31 to 35 and am not anxious to disguise myself as my grandson. 

 

To Olga Rudge, 15 December

YCAL 54, 10/239

Ziao, cara

[…]

Gt. prog. with XXXI. i;e; he has decided there is something he can leave OUT.

[…]

Tempo mejo oggi. Mebbe he take a heave at actually typin some pome.

 

To Olga Rudge, 16-17 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/239

Ziao, cara

[…]

He started on Mr. Jefferson. an thass that.

 17 December

Ziao

He continuatin to jab jab on his machine. & scuttering away on Jeff’s letters.

 

To Olga Rudge, 18 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/240

Ziao.

[…]

Has found Mr Jeff. still yet again kussin the Brish. press “infamous fountains of falsehood”.

thus farr…..

 

To Olga Rudge, 20 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/240

Ziao

[…]

Some of ole Granpap [John Adams] letters to Jeff. in vol XIII very hefty. Kept him up till 11.30

 

To Olga Rudge, 22 December 1930 

YCAL 54, 10/240; AC 21

Old Adams vurry fine. Takin the paint off the lot of ‘em; T. Jeff and Lafayette included.

and redder than anything

before 1917.

 

To Olga Rudge, 24 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/241; AC 18

About to end of his volume of OLD Adams. but eight more in London to be sent out. […]

The fruits of the Adams will be gathered in time. He not going to anticipate them.

 

To Olga Rudge, 26 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/242

Ziao,

The enc. for her virchoos.

and she please return it within 24 hours, because he has to send out the copy.

he will bring it back with him; perzoomably.

Note. “The enc.” is the finalised canto XXXI, which Olga comments on in the letter below.

 

From Olga Rudge, 28 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/242

Amor – Ciao & Graty

The Canto here this a.m. but she keeping till domani as He said she might have it 24 hours – no – He said “within” 24 hrs – referred to letter – yeow.

It seems full of plums and nutty bits to her – and some she can’t understand which prob. doesn’t surprise Him – she doesn’t see any misspellings – she supposes its Mr Jefferson spelling M. Carré – Quarée? she doesn’t understand “turn ‘though’the Potomac” or maybe she does – on second thoughts – I make only one “r” in harangued – “a public blessing” – letter misplaced.

Ciao caro – she knows he not aiming at being open to the “meanest intelligence” – mah – but is it because she cant count or is it a misprint – but where do the 2 millions in the 72 come from or perché & how?

tobacco            9

manufacture  6

king                30

collect             25
                       ——

                        70

She probably thick headed – anyway he said he would bring it back with Him – 

 

To Olga Rudge, 29 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/243

Ziao, ma chere,

Shd. be Th(r)ough (not though)

on r in harangue and two, we believe in herring which was not in question. Jeff’s spelling Quarée. blessing; not belsing. and the other two million. (he compliments her on her arithmetic… cheers… made up of odds and ends, mere hundred thousands here and there, below notice of pub/ accountant.

 

To Olga Rudge, 30 December 1930

YCAL 54, 10/244

Ziao, cara e BUON ANNO.

[…]

Also he’z got his canto done and ought to bouge. [Fr. “bouger,” move. Pound and Olga are arranging to meet in Venice.]

Cant get rest of the “material” ([EP’s note:] material=other vols of Jeff. correspondence etc.etc.) fer next canto for another ten days at least. also he’s done enuff woik fer the momeng.

 

From T. S. Eliot, 1 January 1931

L/TSE 5: 454-5

I enjoyed your Canto, featuring Mr Jefferson, Dr Franklin, and my uncle John, but I am not sure that it is the most suitable to impose upon the illiterate public of Britain. Would you permit me to select one out of Nancy’s book, if I give due acknowledgment to Nancy and yourself? 

I hope to publish Zukofsky's essay – or as much of it as there is room for – in March and am at present trying to find the typescript.

Notes:

I enjoyed – Eliot’s rejection of canto XXXI for inclusion in The Criterion is the most important indication we have that the canto was publication ready by the end of 1930. Olga's letter of 28 December also points in the same direction - she had a few queries, but they were not substantial enough to point to a major revision.

Nancy’s book – Nancy Cunard had published Pound’s A Draft of XXX Cantos at her Hours Press in Paris in August 1930. Eliot did not republish any canto out of that collection in The Criterion. The next canto he would publish was XXXVI, in January 1935.

Zukofsky’s essay – Eliot published a part of Louis Zukofsky’s essay “The Cantos of Ezra Pound” in The Criterion 10 (April 1931): 425-40. (L/TSE 5: 455 n.1)

 

To Dorothy Pound, [7] January 1931

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III

Possum on seeing Jeff canto wants to reprint one out of the XXX = w’ich is wot I suggested in the foist place 3 monfs ago.

 

From Richard Johns [Pagany], 5 March 1931

YCAL 43 39/1645

Is there no chance that a Canto might come my way?

 

From Richard Johns [Pagany], 4 May 1931

YCAL 43 39/1645

Today received your three Cantos which much please me. They will open the July number.

 

Cantos XXXI-XXXIII were published in Pagany II.3 July-September 1931.

 

To Dorothy Pound, 10 September [1931]

Lilly: Pound, III

3 cantos in Pagany. with only a few misprints.  & a few lost commas.

 

 


 

 

 

XXXI – BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

  

wide lrg monticello cabinet 20170620 smalling 0670

 

ARTICLES IN JOURNALS AND COLLECTIONS

  1. Bell, Ian F. A. “The Paralyzed History of Canto XXXI.” Ezra Pound and History. Ed. Marianne Korn. Orono: National Poetry Foundation, Univ. of Maine, 1985. Print. 75-82.
  2. Bell, Ian F. A. “‘Speaking in Figures’: The Mechanical Thomas Jefferson of Canto 31.” Ezra Pound: Tactics for Reading. Ed. Ian F. A. Bell. London: Vision, 1982. 148-186.
  3. Eiselein, Gregory. “Jefferson in the Thirties: Pound’s Use of Historical Documents in Eleven New Cantos.Clio. 19.1 (1989): 31-40. 
  4. Fender, Stephen. “Ezra Pound and the Words off the Page; Historical Allusions in Some American Long Poems.” The Yearbook of English Studies  8 (1978): 95–108.
  5. Knight, Robert M. “Thomas Jefferson in Canto XXXI.” Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship 5.1 (1976): 79-93.
  6. Selby, Nick. “Revolutionary Figures in Canto XXXI.” Ezra Pound and America. Ed. Jacqueline Kaye. New York: St. Martin’s, 1992. 114-131.  

 

BOOK SECTIONS

  1. Cookson, William. “XXXI-XXXIV. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams – John Quincy Adams.” A Guide to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. London: Anvil, 2009. 47-8.
  2. Coyle, Michael. “The Prose of the Pagany Cantos of 1931.” Ezra Pound, Popular Genres, and the Discourse of Culture. University Park, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1995. 99-113. 
  3. Davis, Earle. Vision Fugitive: Ezra Pound and Economics. Lawrence KS.: UP of Kansas, 1968. 122-3.
  4. De Rachewiltz, Mary and Maria Ardizzone. “Commento: XXXI.” Ezra Pound I Cantos. A cura di Mary de Rachewiltz. [Bilingual English-Italian edition]. Milano: Mondadori, 1985. 1522. 
  5. Furia, Philip. Pound's Cantos Declassified.  University Park and London: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1984. 51-3.
  6. Ickstadt, Heinz and Eva Hesse. “Anmerkungen und Kommentar: Canto XXXI.” Ezra Pound. Die Cantos. Tr. by Eva Hesse and Manfred Pfister. Eds. Manfred Pfister and Heinz Ickstadt. Zurich: Arche Literatur Verlag, 2013. 1237-40. 
  7. Kearns, George. “Reading Canto 31.” In Ezra Pound. The Cantos. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989. 8-14.
  8. Kearns, George. “Canto 31. ”Guide to Ezra Pound’s Selected Cantos. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 1980. 80-91.
  9. Makin, Peter. “Politics and Mobility: Cantos XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII.” Pound’s Cantos. London: Allen & Unwin, 174-78. 
  10. Moody, David. Ezra Pound: Poet. Vol. II: The Epic Years 1921-1939. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. 160-2.
  11. Pearlman, Daniel. The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1969. 137-51. 
  12. Sieburth, Richard. “Notes: Canto XXXI.” Ezra Pound New Selected Poems and Translations. Ed. Richard Sieburth. New York: New Directions, 2010. 317-8.
  13. Surette, L.  A Light from Eleusis. A Study of Ezra Pound’s Cantos. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1979. 135-37.
  14. Terrell, Carroll F. “Canto XXXI.” A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley: California UP, 1993. 119-124. 
  15. Wilhelm, J. J. Ezra Pound The Tragic Years. 1925-1972. University Park: The Pennsylvania State UP, 1994. 98-99.

 

DIGITAL RESOURCES

  1. “XXXI.” A Canto a Day. Blog. 1 March 2009. Free online.
  2. Grieneisen, Jeff. “The Ezra Pound Project: Canto XXXI.” 10 December 2004. Free online
  3. Guidi, Paolo. “Canto 31.” Etching. 6 November 2012. Free online.
  4. Sellar, Gordon. “Blogging Pound's The Cantos: Canto XXXI-XXXIII.”  gordsellar.com, 6 August 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2015. Free online.

 

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2