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19 April 2009

Canto XLI

Another one about economics, banking, trade, etc.

But here there's a reference to Mussolini, and I've looked up and found that Mussolini became Italy's prime minister in 1922. I ought to have known that, but it still surprises me that he was in power so long. The reference is this:
"Non ci facciam agannar per Mussolini"
said the commandatore della piazza
and I think the first line means 'let us not allow ourselves to deceived by Mussolini'. As for the rest it's more along familiar lines, where occasional snipes at bankers and arms dealers bubble up.

This ends the 'eleven new cantos' published in 1933. I've got further than I expected to in this survey, though it's taken longer. And I think I'll stop now. There really is no point in my looking uncomprehendingly at cantos that probably repeat and possibly develop economic views I don't really want to know about.

What the exercise has done, however, is reignite some interest in modernist poetry. So I'll keep the blog going - maybe renamed - for occasional looks at some examples. I'll leave this with Basil Bunting's On the Fly-Leaf of Pound's Cantos
There are the Alps. What is there to say about them?
They don't make sense. Fatal glaciers, crags cranks climb,
jumbled boulder and weed, pasture and boulder, scree,
et l'on entend, maybe, le refrain joyeux et leger.
Who knows what the ice will have scraped on the rock it is smoothing?

There they are, you will have to go a long way round
if you want to avoid them.
It takes some getting used to. There are the Alps,
fools! Sit down and wait for them to crumble!

1 comment:

gordsellar said...

Ha, I just discovered this.

I'm doing something more like a two-to-three Cantos a week project, though this is a few years after you did your Canto-a-day project. I'm kind of doing more of a crossword-puzzle approach, though not solely that. Anyway, just wanted to see how far you got. I myself didn't get as far the first time, when I organized a group of friends in the sleepy town of Jeonju, South Korea to study it. (Two expats including me, and one Korean-born English lit professor.) I think we stopped around Canto XXXIII or so. but I decided to take it up again, starting from the start, and I've just hit Canto XXII after three months of slow, sustained work.

From all I've read, the Cantos in the 50-60s range are a hard slog, but then the Pisan Cantos really truly pay off. (They're supposed to be the best in the book, so if you ever decide to go back to Pound... that's where I'd go.)

But I can't imagine reading this book without Terrell. Which, for me, takes the place of what Pound would have wanted us to do, which was to read every damned thing he himself had read. And who has time for that?

Anyway, my own series blogging the Cantos is here, if you're curious.