Roxana Preda initiated The Cantos Project in the months following the Ezra Pound International Conference in London in 2011. She solicited copyright permission from New Directions and Mary de Rachewiltz, outlining the rationale of the project and the needs it was meant to address. The primary goals of the project are twofold: maintain and develop the current and future readership of the poem through multimedia annotation; further, provide a space where the community of Pound scholars, as well as students of the poem can find the best work of the past, talk to each other and develop the scholarship of the future. The Cantos Project is an interactive, dynamic website where scholars can intervene, update existing annotation, upload essays, images and audio material, initiate discussion threads, communicate with other scholars and submit work in progress to peer review.
At the request of New Directions, Roxana assembled a board of scholars who agreed to supervise the project as a whole. This board consists of: Prof. David A. Moody, Prof. Walter Baumann, (UK), Prof. Richard Sieburth, Prof. Alec Marsh, (US), Prof. Massimo Bacigalupo (Italy), Prof. Peter Liebregts (The Netherlands), Prof. Ira Nadel, Prof. Leon Surette and Prof. Demetres Tryphonopoulos (Canada).
Roxana launched The Cantos Project website on Pound's birthday, 30 October 2014.
Organization of the site:
The scholarship and the audio-visual material is to be organized on four levels, as the pages of The Cantos Project proceed:
- Homepage level – books on The Cantos as a whole, first as a bibliography, then including links to full electronic texts wherever possible.
- Cycle level – books and articles focused on the specific sections of the poem.
- Canto title page level – articles focused on canto interpretation and relations to its sources.
- Canto lines level – multimedia annotation.
Levels of access:
- Non-registered users will be able to read The Cantos text and the annotation, look at the illustrations and become familiar with everything happening on the website, new cantos published and mailing list.
Go to mailing list.
- Contributors will be required to register and will be able to upload their own materials, whether essays, reviews, illustrations, video, or recordings. These will be moderated in each instance.
- Editors are managing the site, providing the first input and evaluating contributions. At the moment there are two editors: Dr. Roxana Preda (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Andrew Taylor (University of Edinburgh). Scholars who would like a deeper involvement with the project and wish to become editors themselves, please make contact using the tab on the homepage.
Annotation will be of two kinds:
- Brief - for readers who need essential information or a reminder. This annotation will look like an electronic card which will appear when the reader hovers over an underlined word in the poem. The advantage of minimal annotation is that s/he will not leave the page and the reading of the poem can proceed almost continuously. The annotation will disappear as soon as the user moves the mouse.
- Detailed – separate article that can be developed into greater detail by subsequent contributions.
II. The poem text:
The text displayed on the site will be that of the latest New Directions edition, so as to ensure continuity between the electronic text and the hard copy edition for the contemporary reader. Due to copyright restrictions, the text of the poem will not be available for copying.
New Directions has allowed us the presentation of six cantos at any one time. They will be available to the community for update and supplementation for a period of six months. After this time, annotation will be converted to an online companion to The Cantos in open access for scholars and students to examine and download.
Readings of the cantos will be provided from the audio button, which will enable readers to listen while following the text. It is the editors’ goal to link every poem to the old readings (now preserved at Penn Sound) and to open the way to new, contemporary ones.