Was that rotation in 1793 or 1794, rabbit?
February 28, 2015 8:45 PM   Subscribe

In Ezra Pounds' Canto LXII, there is a minor chronological error, has it been noted before concerning Pounds work?

"Fond of rotation so that to remove/" In Pounds' Canto 62, the referent to "rotation" stated here is from a letter written in 1794. But here it was written in 1793.
posted by clavdivs to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't offer a specific answer, but there is an explanation.

We know that Pound was working from the collected Works of John Adams edited and published by Charles Francis Adams in the 1850s -- it was the only collected edition of Adams's writings -- and that edition dates the letter to 1794. The Massachusetts Historical Society only received the Adams family papers in 1956.

So Pound was following the date used by that "editor of a early published edition of Adams manuscripts", because he had no other source for that letter and no reason to question it.
posted by holgate at 10:11 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Actually, not Pound himself: that's Carroll Terrell, who was also relying upon the 1850s Works when he wrote the Companion. The ongoing scholarly publication of the Adams family papers is a multi-decade, multi-volume process, and it took them till 2009 to publish the letters from 1793.
posted by holgate at 10:41 PM on February 28, 2015

Also, as I imagine you're aware, Pound's Cantos are chock full of errors, from simple typos EP never bothered to correct (XLIII, p. 221 of the old New Directions edition: "4736 scudi" for the correct 4737; LXVIII, 396 "some" for same), misremembered/misquoted names (XLII, 214: "Soffici" for Sozzini) and words (XLIII, 216: "civices" for cuius) to garbled Chinese names (LV, 290: "TCHUN" for CHUN, i.e. Shun) to grander errors of biography and history; I've plucked the cited ones entirely at random from the hundreds I've marked in my beat-up old copy, and of course that's only a fraction of the total (when will we get a genuine critical edition?). My point is that worrying about where a particular error came from is not the most productive use of one's time (but whatever makes you happy, of course).
posted by languagehat at 7:17 AM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Not one bit of help there Languagehat, the sourcing does not "worry me". Like your discovered errors, I just want to know if it has been noted.
posted by clavdivs at 1:16 PM on March 1, 2015

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