Towards a Textual Biography of The Cantos



Variorum editions are very often limited to listing variant readings, but such simple compilations afford little help, towards either understanding the process of the work’s development and socialisation or evaluating the material presented. In the case of Pound’s Cantos we are fortunate to have a great mass of important ancillary information which chronicles both the poet’s business dealings with agents, publishers, editors, and printers as well as more creative collaboration with friends, family, fellow poets, and readers. The text itself was constantly being re-formed and re-created through an on-going exchange between the experience of writing and that of living, and a textual biography involves not only the life of the text, but also that of the author and those personalities whose judgements have influenced the text.


Variant Reading Definitive Text Modernist Writer Paris Review Anniversary Issue 
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  1. Charlotte Douglas, in The Futurist Moment (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1986), pp. 74–5.Google Scholar
  2. Donald Gallup, Ezra Pound, A Bibliography (Charlottesville VA: University Press of Virginia, 1983), p. 107.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1996

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