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Following the date of submission of cantos XXXI-XXXIII to Pagany, canto XXXIV was written between May and September 1931 and revised at the start of October. The two new cantos Dorothy confirmed receiving on 7 September 1931 must be cantos XXXIV and XXXV.



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




Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library Box no/Folder no


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



To Olga Rudge, [25 May 1931]

YCAL 54, 10/259

Ziao, cara


If he gits a swim he might start a Canto.


To Olga Rudge, [29 May 1931]

YCAL 54, 10/259



Mr Neumayer aint got the J. Q. Adams diary that he thought he wuz goin to get, so there is less woik for pop.


To Olga Rudge, 14 June 1931

YCAL 54, 10/262

Ziao, cara


mebbe he better have a shot at XXXIV.


To Dorothy Pound, 30 September 1931

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III

Mao –


Have chewed thru a good deal of Adams and written Neum/ to start chasing VanBuren. [....]

Will write of O.S. when I have attained greater lucidity/ now struggling with J.Q.A.//

Note: In the Diary of John Quincy Adams, Pound found intriguing acid remarks about Van Buren. He wrote a London bookseller, Neumayer, to buy books by or about him.


To Dorothy Pound, 1 October 1931

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III



Finished J.Q.A. yesterday. oggi chewed thru most of Dex Kimball on industrial economics; which Sraff now thinks he wants returned before he leaves.


To Dorothy Pound, 4 October 1931

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III

M: ao


I have now material for three more canti / which with the three in XXX that aren’t in the folio, and the 3 in Pagany; makes as you might say nine toward vol. 3 of folio. so that one might have it ready some time next year.

SHE can consider prob/ of the CAPS. at her leisure.


“three more canti” - probably Cantos 34 - 35 - 36. No 34. was about John Quincy Adams, whose Diary Pound had just read. 35 relied on his experience in Paris, 6 April-22 May 1931 and his trip to Vienna in May 1928; and canto 36 was to be based on his work on the Guido Cavalcanti edition, Rime, which he had submitted to Marsano in Genova on 13 June 1931 (letter to Olga Rudge YCAL 54 10/262).

“aren't in the folio” - cantos 28-30 were not in the folio edition published by John Rodker in London, A Draft of the Cantos 17-27. They were published in A Draft of XXX Cantos, Paris Hours Press, published by Nancy Cunard in 1930.

“three in Pagany” - cantos 31-33 were published in the American magazine Pagany in September 1931.


To Dorothy Pound, 5 October [1931]

Lilly Library, Pound Mss. III


           He has done 2nd. version of the J. Q. Adams canto. With this I see a block of four.

Have writ. Neumayer and Zuk. to dig up VanBuren’s autobiography. If by chance you see anyone or pass any other book shop, OR if it cd. be weedled out any library...

Martin VanBuren, somethingth pres. of the U. S. call it the 8th. only sometimes they count the 8 year ones double.///

With 3. in the Hours XXX, 3 in Pagany; and the 4 in prospect, one is on the way toward the 3d. folio vol. 



To Olga Rudge, [3 May 1932] Rapallo

YCAL 54, 12/312

Ziao, cara

Wot he grubbed up in Roma seems to have made a canto/ o a peu pres/ [Fr. or almost] an’ now he is waiting fer Miss Martineau (in six vols.)


To Olga Rudge, 8 Maggio [1932]

YCAL 54, 12/313

Ziao cara/


6 vols. of Miss Martineau/ rather simpatica.


To Olga Rudge, 10 May [1932]

YCAL 54, 12/314

Ziao, cara mia


And he haz finished vol. I. of Miss Martineau, a really vurry remarkable female, totin an ear trumpet thru the primaeval forest and guessin’ right every time.

Note. J.Q. Adams mentions admiringly Miss Harriet Martineau, whom he visited on 18 January 1835. See reference to her in XXXIV ll. 168-170. 


To Olga Rudge, 16 May [1932]

YCAL 54, 12/315

Ziao, cara mia.


Miss [Harriet] Martineau continues stable of inelexxhul diet.


From Harriet Monroe, 17 December 1932

CHI, Poetry: A Magazine of Verse 39/25

Dear E.P.

Your latest arrived when I was “down east” and I have had to think it over seriously.

It would please me very much to print your new Cantos, and to have you resume as for. corres. – the latter provided we are not too far apart on policies and poets. But there are certain facts to be considered. 

I feel more and more that Poetry can hardly last beyond next September, the end of our 21st year. Our guarantor list is already more than half wiped out and very few of the rest can be counted on for another year. […]

In any case, however, I should like to have some Cantos, and some status rerum contributions of prose. I shd like to have you, who were so prominent through Poetry’s first years appear prominently, though I hope not violently, in our (probably) final year.



To Morton Zabel, [undated]

YCAL 43, 57/2589

Dear Zabel,

If you mean to run straight, and if you want to reorganize the damn muggerzeen [Poetry, Chicago], of course I’ll help you.

I take it you have got final control of at least for a few issues?

to the best of my knowledge an recollection Harriet never asked for a canto, and never wanted to use ’em. The pay is DISgraceful, AND it is high time the reader was TOLD that a nations literature is MADE, and lifted to a point of INTEREST by a very few people, and that THOSE few shd/ be favoured, because IF NOT,

If they aren’t kept alive the health and vigour of the whole god damn national literature goes to hell. 


I don’t want to print any more Cantos until the Faber edtn/ of 31/41 has come out in England. That eleven is a sort of unit. Must get that INTO the mind of the reader AS a unit. AS the econ/ basis, sans which NO HISTORY.

Epic got to have HISTORY inside it. that is one essential dimension. no hist. without econ. anymore than decent poetry without music, (rhythmic validity).


Note. Though the letter is undated, internal evidence from a letter to Olga Rudge may point to a tentative date of 5 January 1933. On that day, Pound wrote to Olga: “And there is a noo amurikun weekly/ and Mr Zabel wants to reorganize//” (YCAL 54 13/333)


To Morton Zabel, 19 January [1933]

CHI, Morton Zabel Papers, 2/28

Dear Zabel

Am sending you a good fat Canto to go on with.

I shd. like you to put in an edt/ note. NOT an author’s note/ 

saying that 

obviously a full understanding of the John Quincy Adams canto: or of the poetry of the canto can only be gained by considering it in connection with the 30 or more cantos preceding and with the 60 or so that are intented to follow. 

This one goes pretty much by itself/ as far as surface meaning is concerned. There is a group of three which I can provide in the autumn. IF you stiffen up the program in the interim. 

(this one being about two thirds the length of the following three taken altogether) 

An let us hope, fer the lovov Krrist’s exotic balls 

That Harriet won’t try to expurgate Mr Washington or make him say “darn’d” about the senate; in place of what he damn well did say. etc. 

She can’t teach ’em to write/ but th bastids might az zwell learn a l’il amurkn history. etc. 


From Morton Zabel (Poetry Magazine), 11 February 1933

YCAL 43, 57/2589

Dear Pound: 

Cheers for the Canto

H.M. is in Mexico taking a couple of months off for semi-tropical wanderings. I’m writing her there that I am substituting CANTO XXXIV to lead in the April issue instead of an effusion called “Novel in Pictures” by the lily-livered Elder Olson, which I’ve been trying to fight down for the past alf year but which was slated for that issue. I’m sure this will turn out all right. Many thanks fro sending the poem to me. […]

Eliot’s been touring about the country giving speeches, but hasn’t hit Chicago. His public appearances in Cambridge were quite a miscarriage of effect. He apparently didn’t get across with the Bostonians. So the public speeches are given up and he’s doing a course in modern poetry for the Harvard lads.

I’ll let you know the arrangements for canto XXXIV as soon as I know them finally. I’ll take care of the proof carefully, since there will not be time to get it to and back from Rapallo.


From Olga Rudge, 14 March [1933]

YCAL 54, 13/339

Ciao Amore – 


She had seen Canto XXXVII so when it arrived on top of her question to him re present american bank wuzzle she thought he had sent it again as answer – 

She has with her mss - of cantos XXXIV XXXV XXXVI & now XXXVII – in case he needs same –


Canto XXXIV is published in Poetry XLII.I (April 1933): 1-10



To Olga Rudge, [5 January 1936] 

YCAL 54, 16/426



Sec. two was the enc/ slip and a bit more; something over the tongue, tho it now looks like mouth with things floating out of it. Not sure Fen/ didn’t think it wuz flame, but I dont find his nut, and Morison shows origin in tongue sign/ wich ov coure sticks out of mouth.

[slip] hsin ideogram“Man and word, man standing by his word, man of his word, truth, sincere, unwavering.” 


Fen/ – Pound had been working on a new edition of Ernest Fenollosa’s Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry to be published by Stanley Nott in London. He is sharing with Olga the meaning of the “sincerity” ideogram, which he added to Canto 34 in 1958.

Morrison – A Dictionary of the Chinese Language, in Three Parts or Morrison’s Chinese dictionary (1815-1823), compiled by the Anglo-Scottish missionary Robert Morrison was the first Chinese-English, English-Chinese dictionary. Part I is Chinese-English arranged by the 214 Kangxi radicals, Part II is Chinese-English arranged alphabetically, and Part III is English-Chinese also arranged alphabetically. This groundbreaking reference work is enormous, comprising 4,595 pages in 6 quarto volumes and including 47,035 head characters taken from the 1716 Kangxi Dictionary. However, Morrison’s encyclopedic dictionary had flaws, notably failing to distinguish aspirated consonants: the pronunciation taou is given for both aspirated táo (桃, “peach”) and unaspirated dào (道, “way; the Tao”) Wikipedia.


Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2