An instructive interlude interviened. Through J. Laughlin's young friend and neighbor, Gavin Borden, heir to a mid-western milk fortune and founder of Garland Publishing Inc., negotiations for a Variorum Edition of The Cantos began. The assumption was that I provide photo-ready copy and might expect $100.00 towards an illustrative image or two. Anything more than that would come out of my own pocket. Although not altogether worldly, I did realize that they offered little or no investment and expected to take 95% of whatever slight profit might ensue. I, on the other hand, looked forward to the inclusion of image files including samples of presumed setting copy, selected quotations (including Pound's doodles) from unpublished letters, and reproductions of de Lux editions. Interim Gavin died, sadly and prematurely. Latterly,however, I declined to sign such an absurd contract. So much for 'Elsie' the Borden Cow.

Pesce d’Oro was a far more straightforward affair. I first met Vanni and Lena Scheiwiller , as well as Eva Hesse and Mike O’Donnell, over Pascal Lamb in 1982. From the very beginning Vanni lent himself wholeheartedly to the project and welcomed a free run of his archive, as well as direct contact with the present director of the Stamperia Valdonega di Verona.

Winning the trust of Pound’s correspondents who still held private archives (and then there were many) also required a good deal of patience and perseverance. Instead of the workman-like grasp of the material at hand which had convinced publishers, the key was to make a convincing show of personal integrity and discretion. That, of course, took much longer and there are many stories to be told – all amusing – but far too personal to be published. I was privileged to meet a number of extraordinarily interesting people who, in the end, became friends, and either found myself on hands and knees, groping under beds for shoeboxes stuffed with yellowing envelopes or sorting out documents from dust-laden brown-paper, grocery bags.

Interim, funding for the project had become precarious, and I squandered a couple of years getting together a copper-bottomed application to the National (US) Dis-Endowment for the Humanities. On being turned down I invoked the Freedom of Information Act and found that the minor, academic minnows called in to advise government – to a man, and they were all old men – thought The Cantos incoherent (certainly not acceptable poetry) and that the nation should not subsidize research into the literary work of a traitor. They obviously were not aware that no trial had ever taken place, accept, of course, in their own minds. Naming and shaming isn’t worth the effort. Enthusiastic support, however, had come from my nominee, Frank Kermode.

The next application (more years wasted) was to the Deutsche Forschungsgemainshaft (German Research Council). That too was depth charged. Sometime later in Munich, having invited a colleague to lunch in a sun-flooded, urban courtyard, he told me – over the coffee and brandy I was paying for – that he was the assessor who had turned down the proposal because he couldn’t read (follow) the format. [see Variorum Edition of ‘Three Cantos’, A Prototype (1991).] Other colleagues reported that they had managed, but I realized that only a screen-readable, hypertext edition could possibly pass muster. Easy accessibility is vital as there are certainly many within our community who are likely to duck anything which seems difficult.

The project went on, however limpingly, with occasional travel grants from the DFG to give papers at international conferences; journeys which could be extended out of my own pocket for a month or two in order to glean various archives (both public and private) for relevant information from unpublished correspondence. The Deutsch Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic-Exchange Council) also facilitated attendance at a familiarization program at the Institute des Textes et Manuscrits Moderne, University of Paris (Sorbonne). Research grants were also given by Rare Book and Manuscript Libraries at the Beinecke, Lilly, and Ransome Center. A sabbatical fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge helped a good deal, as did academic exchanges at the University of Connecticut (Storrs) and Lampeter College, University of Wales.

By 1995 a mocked-up (overhead projection) for the windowing system of a hypertext variorum was completed, and I gave that presentation at three different venues within months of one another. The effort, however, was doomed to end in disaster. At the Brantôme International EP Conference, colleagues were largely enthusiastic, but I stupidly chose to offer the piece to Paideuma, thinking that it would thus reach a wider circle of Pound scholars than Text, Transactions of the society for textual scholarship. Paiduema sat on the article for an interestingly long time, and when the guest-editor of the J. Laughlin, commemorative issue asked me to contribute, I made it a condition that my earlier article be published in the same edition. The editors in Maine balked, presumably because typesetting was too awkward, but Emily Wallace valiantly persisted. The eventual publication was dated 2002 although it actually appeared in 2004 – nine years of deliberate obfuscation after submission. The Transactions of the Society for Textual Scholarship for the New York conference at which I gave the same paper came out in 1997.

For the presentation at The Centre for English Studies, University of London, in that same year (1995), I had invited a senior editor at Cambridge University Press with whom I had earlier spoken of the project. As hypertext, he now took definite interest, and I met his computer consultant at the New York,Textual Scholarship  Conference. Following long and detailed negotiations   , a contract for the first thirty cantos was finally signed, but the computer guru conspicuously neglected to guru.

It is well to keep in mind that I was at university before ever using a dial telephone and only came to terms with main-frame computers in 1972 at the University of Ife, Nigeria (then still using punched cards). Actually I had had prior acquaintance with ‘calculators’ as cryptographer in the U. S. Navy, but that’s not quite the same thing. The more sophisticated main-frame at Bayreuth in the early eighties quickly gave way to PC’s, but the procedures remained pretty much the same. I already had a collation program and command of editing procedures. There followed a brief affair with TUSTEP, a program for text processing developed at Universität, Tübingen: it was rather elephantine and couldn’t produce hypertext presentation. Trying it out, however, meant remarking extensive data, and the Bayreuth, home-made system was far more user friendly. George Landow’s hypertext software (Brown University) looked attractive, but required changing over to Apple, and there was no consultant available who might mediate between my data and an eventual integrated design.

CUP’s offer of technical assistance (Peter Robinson, and his ‘Collate’ program, first located at Oxford and then De Montfort University, Leicester) was seductive, even though it, too, only functioned on MacIntosh. At least there would be help in fitting the disparate parts and pieces together. The first step, however, marking-up data in SGML posed significant personal problems as co-operation from CUP' consultant was consistently avoided. Robinson, the man, is not particularly obstreperous – over-worked perhaps, certainly over-reaching, and infinitely ineffectual. Years passed before I finally pried free the formatting ‘commands’.

Repeated requests for demonstration CDs to be given at various International EP conferences were ignored. That at the Sorbonne in 2001 gave rise to the next-to-the-last straw. On the morning of my flight from Nürnberg a diskette arrived by snail mail, inscribed: “Pound. Variorum Prototype. note; we have not [underlined twice] tested this on our windows platforms. It should be reliable on NT/98/200. We are not certain of 95.” The diskette proved to be resolutely inaccessible by experts on the spot, and I was forced to cancel the presentation. Two days later at London University I was scheduled to speak before a wider audience of textual critics and had with me a scathing denunciation of CUP's geeks. Robinson appeared, smiling beatifically, with a demonstration CD and offered a rather lame presentation of my material. I had rewritten my paper on the spot, naively believing that he was finally willing to play a significant role in the project.

The hopelessness (and humiliation) of the situation was confirmed later at a conference in Innsbrück which turned on theory and Practice of Textual Criticism in honor of Hans-Walter Gabler. The meeting was by invitation and beautifully organized. Instead of twenty-minute presentations, one after another, participants were asked to send, in advance, a précis of their on-going concerns, and an informed audience would then discuss issues in forum. I presented details of my impasse with CUP. Robinson arrived the day after the panel on which I was scheduled to sit and without having bothered to make an advanced submission of his own or even reading mine. He greeted me warmly and tried to shake hands. On returning to Bayreuth I broke the fantasy contract. Obviously I would never be in control of my own work, and the promised assistance of a consultant betrayed.

The real problem was not so much Robinson’s insouciance as the failure of Kevin Taylor (then Manager of Reference and Electronic Publishing) to rein in his well-paid employee. As is perfectly clear from existing correspondence, Taylor was wholly dependent on Robinson’s presumed technological expertise and dared not direct his consultant. My research had been effectively blocked for over ten years and at a rather critical moment. In order to give more time and effort to editing a Variorum Edition, I had taken early retirement on April Fools Day, 1999.

One continues, however, to elbow forward even if flat on the ground. The only viable plan was to salvage what one could and go on. Two avenues were still open: one, to complete and re-edit the Annals – mostly documentation from various archives and unpublished letters which charter the epic's creative progress and publishing history – which could be published separately (some 1,500 pages long). The other was to work out and pull together various aperçus as to structure and prosody derived from total emersion in the poem(s) for more than ten-thousand hours over something like thirty-five years. Thus 'Mindscape' and 'Soundscape' presented below. Both efforts have gone on simultaneously and are nearing fulfillment, but any number of obstacles had to be overcome. More still, loom large.

A brighter side to this sad story is that Eva Hesse’s invaluable archive has been made available (another long tale). That material fills a serious gap as to both Pound's own explanaition of intended meaning and the machinations of the 'correction committee'. On the other hand a golden opportunity was also lost, and at about the same time. Walther Sigfried de Rachewiltz invited me to look through annotated editions of Cantos which he had inherited from his grandparents. A treasure trove, but I misunderstood him and mistakenly thought it undiplomatic to take notes immediately. The volumes were eventually sold, separately, at auction and have gone underground for the time being, as have a number of other known witnesses.

More to the point, I made a strategic mistake in trying to enlist young Poundistas as co-editors of the Variorum, presuming that one among them might produce, gratice, the required hypertext platform which would eventually make the project publishable. The first effort in that direction involved software designed at the Institute of Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia, which owes everything to the interest of Jerome McGann and is light-years in advance of Robinson’s ‘Collate”. However seductive, on its own, that program may be, it does not provide a platform for integrating the various elements of a variorum: variant readings, provenences, bibliographies, stemmae, documentation (Annals & Index), image files of de lux editions, etc. The collation of witnesses and base text had been wrapped up, many years ago and does not need to be repeated. Only a professional programmer/designer can produce the required platform, and that begs big money. As a pensioner, I am in no position to apply for public funding, nor even a travel grants for gratuitous conferences . The project is now considered a personal hobby-horse and I am expected to support it personally.

In the case of Annals I had already done that, paying more than a thousand euro to have the  existing files re-formatted consistantly, so that I migh publish the data. Various quotations were, after all, entered electronically by many different hands, and formatting became garbled. 'Mindscape', on the other hand, was fairly straightforward, but 'Soundscape' presented serious problems. To begin with a set of special character sets for the unconventional scansion system had to be created. My elder son found a programmer/designer in Düsseldorf, Christiane Erdmann, who rose to the occassion, but that cost almost more than I could manage. Later she set up the present, and rather elegant, website, which set me back another bomb, but was well worth it. The problem, however, was that there was no way for me to edit the material on-line, and she had no knowledge of English. Again, disempowered. Ultimetly I was introduced to a programmer living in Berlin, who was not only a native -speaker but also a Poundista, Alexander Pestell, and was finally enabled to add missing essays and edit the lot myself. That also meant yet another fiscal setback, but not a major devistation. I can only hope that he will undertake the creation of another website ariorum.cantos/>> before the end of 2013.

The point of all this exercise was to publish enough material to warrent a grant sufficient to pay for the creation of a Hypertext platform which might produce a complete Variorum Edition. The data is all there, and has been for years, but there is no external interest in making it public. I even failed to find old fashioned publishers for 'Mindscape' and 'Soundscape' which led to the present website – a personal Salon de Refusé. The editors of EPIC Proceedings (2011) declined to print 'Nō Drama and Pound's 'Four Plays Modelled on the Noh', presumably because a long cherished factoid was challanged, and criticism of Pound's fell far short of mindless hagiography. Unlike Cathay (1915) Pound never claimed that he had actually translated 'Noh' or Accomplishment (1916). The title page reads "By Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound." while the editor's "NOTE" (p. v) begins: "The vision and the plan are Fenollosa's. In the prose I have had but the part of literary executor; in the plays my work has been that of translator who has found all the heavy work done for him and who has had but the pleasure of arranging beauty into the words." Over the years, the ambiguity, and obvious exaggeration, of that statement has been sadly misunderstood and a false interpretation perpetuated ad infinitim. The assertion that his 'Four Plays' are actually 'Modelled on the Noh' can, and should be, guestioned – that is, of course, if scholarship be not betrayed.