I am very happy to announce that on Ezra's birthday this year, The
Cantos Project is officially launched. The platform now is fully
operational and awaits our scholarly input.
Please have a look at http://www.thecantosproject.org.
A few words about it:
TCP is a website that aims to fulfil a dream that scholars have had
since 1986: to have a second edition of Terrell's Companion - at best
in electronic form so errors can be corrected and information added on
a continuous basis without overwhelming the poem or the student.
Though attempts have been made along the years (we all still remember
Kybernekia) technology was not coping with our needs, nor were we
coping with what technology demanded.
My position is that we are now ready. We can do it with the platform I
am proposing. (Which I dearly hope you will like).
When I presented the project at the EPIC conference in Dublin last
year, Alec Marsh, the society's former president, generously offered
me the sponsorship I needed for it. In his vision, the Cantos Project
was to be located at the heart of the scholarly activity of the
society; it could be THE way for us to work together so as to bring
the annotation of The Cantos up to speed.
There are almost 30 years of scholarship not included in Terrell's Companion.
New Directions allows us to present six cantos on the website at any
one time. This is why TCP cannot be a digital edition of the poem,
however much we may regret this fact. (As an aside, Robert Spoo
remarked that we can apply Pound's economics to TCP: if your money is
scarce you can increase the velocity of circulation. Six cantos can
seem a lot, when the rhythm of publishing and hiding them is quick. I
found this a wonderful idea. Once the Cantos are annotated they can be
hidden and republished as often and as fast as we need.)
TCP can be our building site. We can make it our scholars' resource,
our aid in research and teaching. Even at square one, as you will see
when you look at it, the bibliographies are in place throughout the
poem, at homepage and cycle page levels. A student, say, who wants to
see relevant books or articles about a section of The Cantos or even
individual poems can use TCP even now. The book bibliography is
complete, as far as I know. The journal articles biblio is very
comprehensive and will continuously be updated. What I still have to
put in are chapters and book sections - but I will do that in the next
six months. What we want is to make TCP our ultimate reference, the
place to go. The scholarly apparatus is OURS and remains so.
What we can do: we can initiate a work stream whereby six cantos are
"live" at any given time. This means they will be online and the
annotation will be under construction. You don't need to be a
technological wizard to contribute: if working conventionally is
easier, that is possible - just drop me an email to discuss what suits
you best. When annotation is finished, the glosses will be transferred
to an online illustrated Companion, which will be a downloadable pdf,
one for every canto. Then the cantos will be "unpublished" to make
space for the next ones. This means that they are not deleted and the
annotation is not taken away from them. They are just hidden from view.
I have uploaded six cantos on the site, from Ur-Canto I to Canto III.
Canto I is minimally annotated so you can see an example. In order to
preserve the integrity of the text and not spoil the magic, the
annotation is hidden. By hovering with your mouse over an underlined
word, you will bring up an electronic card with the gloss. Move the
mouse away and the card disappears.
The system offers us the possibility of having longer glosses as well,
which we can add by the "create article" function.
See the guidelines for contributors on the site.
Terrell's Companion bears his name on the cover yet The Companion
would not have been possible without his friends and collaborators.
Hugh Kenner, Eva Hesse, Robert Gordon, to mention just the best-known
names, contributed massively to all aspects of its creation. Terrell
also used the accumulated knowledge stored in Paideuma. But he had
seven years of Paideuma behind him when he started. We now have forty
It is time we begin.
Happy birthday Ezra.
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