Search me. Ezra liked foreign titles.
December 16, 2008 5:18 AM   Subscribe

Des Imagistes is an online version of Ezra Pound's influential 1914 anthology of Imagist poetry, which includes work by Pound, James Joyce, H. D., and William Carlos Williams.

The anthology was placed online, apparently for the first time, by students at MIT. For those who prefer the look and feel of an old book, it is also available in convenient 21mb PDF format.

via Grand Text Auto. The quote in this post's title is from an amusing anecdote related on the anthology's wikipedia page.
posted by whir (11 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia's entry for Imagism could also be helpful here.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:29 AM on December 16, 2008

It's really interesting to see people dig into presenting poetry on the web -- as it was so often an experimental zone in print design -- and to try to get those distinctive moods and atmospheres (like high modernism). This reminds me a little of Andy Clarke's awesome experiments in typesetting The Waste Land in browser.
posted by finnb at 5:43 AM on December 16, 2008

I like kisses better than poems or flowers, but I'm pretty messed up right now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:50 AM on December 16, 2008

I plan on enjoying this all evening. Thank you so much.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:28 AM on December 16, 2008

That .pdf is a beautiful thing to behold. From the inscription on the first page, the book appears to have been the personal copy of the author and critic, Lloyd R. Morris.
posted by steef at 8:10 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is very welcome, but it can't possibly be the first online copy of Des Imagistes, seeing as how I printed a cheap paperback copy for myself back in February via Lulu via PublicDomainReprints. In fact, here it is, and it appears to be the same American edition, too. I'm just quibbling, in any case -- this is great.
posted by cobra libre at 8:36 AM on December 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

This is fantastic; thanks very much for the post. I wish more care had been taken with the online version (typos like "My heart, have you no wisdom thus to dispair?" pretty much ruin the effect), but as steef says, the pdf is beautiful. It's pretty funny to see poor Amy Lowell facing W.C. Williams across the gutter, and if you turn the page you're confronted by Joyce and Pound—those were the days!
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on December 16, 2008

"I wish more care had been taken with the online version..."

It seems like a lot of care was taken with the site. It is possible that those typos were in the original. (I'm not sure about this one. But I do know of a few typos in the original version.)

This raises an interesting question. Should those who digitize previously printed texts correct typos? What if those typos were typos in the original edition? In the translation from print to digital format, what is more important: "fidelity" or "accuracy"?
posted by spacelaredo at 1:42 PM on December 24, 2008

It is possible that those typos were in the original.

Uh, no. The original is linked right there; you can easily check against the actual book.

It seems like a lot of care was taken with the site.

What do you mean by that, other than "Gee, I like this site and I don't want to see even the slightest criticism of it"? I like it too, but it's got typos that are the product of lazy proofreading, which is what I mean about taking more care.
posted by languagehat at 1:59 PM on December 24, 2008

Touche, languagehat. The lack of proofreading is surely disappointing.

Still, my comment was *not* intended to defend the site from criticism. The mistake you cited was an example of faulty proofreading. However, consider, for instance, that in the original edition on p. 37 (19 of the .pdf), a line from Skipwith Cannell’s poem reads, “I am weary with love, and thy lips / Are night-born popies.” Popies must be a typo. On the desimagistes site, the typo has been corrected to read “poppies.” This instance brings up the question I meant to raise with my original comment. How should digital “translations” deal with errors in the original media? As someone who is interested in language and poetry, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.
posted by spacelaredo at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2009

I don't like the correction. To me, the ideal should be to reproduce the original text, just as it was. I guess you could add a page of "suggested corrections" or something, but what I want is to see the text as it was published. Naturally, opinions differ, and I'm not claiming mine is right, but it's the one I've got.
posted by languagehat at 2:18 PM on January 1, 2009

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