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Ezra Pound

Ezra Pound (1885–1972)
Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti
Galley proofs with autograph corrections [1912], 64.7 cm
The Carter Burden Collection of American Literature. Gift of the family of Carter Burden, 1998; MA 6096
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In 1912 Ezra Pound published an edition of work by thirteenth-century Italian poet Guido Cavalcanti, whom he greatly admired. This long sheet is a galley proof from that project; Pound's extensive handwritten corrections and revisions show the young writer at work fine-tuning his translation. Pound's finished product was sharply criticized. One reviewer wrote, "Either Mr. Pound knows very little about the Italian language, or he is totally lacking in that critical judgment necessary to the translator." Pound was not discouraged. In addition to writing his epic poem, The Cantos, translation became his chief literary activity. Pound returned to Cavalcanti in his Canto XXXVI, which is in part a translation of Cavalcanti's canzone "Donna mi prega."

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.