Z-siteA Companion to the Works of Louis Zukofsky
CZ Works composed after LZ’s death — Introductory notes
Following her husband’s death in May 1978, Celia assembled a number of works that were both extensions of and homages to their collaborative relationship. Only American Friends was published before she died just two and a half years after Louis, but she prepared typescripts for three further works and was in negotiations with The Stinehour Press when her own final illness cut these efforts short. These works are: 1) a bibliography of LZ, which presumably would have updated the bibliography she published with Black Sparrow Press in 1969; 2) L.Z.’s notes to 80 flowers, a handful of pages combining notes by LZ with her own comments and additions; and 3) Marginalia by Louis Zukofsky. In addition, she also put together a hand-made book entitled 1939-1978, the years of their marriage, which consisted of a short quote or two from LZ’s work for each year.
As was the case with American Friends, the three works for which she prepared typescripts were intended to be published under her own imprint, C.Z. Publications, Inc., and printed by The Stinehour Press in Lunenburg, Vermont, who had produced 80 Flowers in a very limited (80 copies) letterpress edition in 1978. The latter book, printed in in a high quality but austerely plain presentation, was taken as the design model for Celia’s subsequent works. Specifically this meant a 7″ x 4¾” perfect bound book set in Monotype Bembo — further details on the paper used can be found on the end page of American Friends.
American Friends is Celia’s coronal to her husband in the form of a Zukofskian reading of and with Zukofsky. CZ initiated discussion about its printing with The Shinehour Press in August 1978, just a few months after LZ’s death, and by June the following year she received the edition of 1500 copies, most of which never made it out of the boxes.
L.Z.’s notes to 80 flowers (dated 22 Oct. 1978)
Most of LZ’s notes are dated 30 Sept. 1974, except for the final sentence which was extracted from a separate but accompanying note dated 19 Dec. 1974, just before LZ began composing the 80 Flowers poems at the very end of that year. Celia added her remarks which reveal some of the personal dimensions of the work. Celia was the gardener of the family in more senses than just the literal. She also added the catalog of brief quotations related to relevant numbers, extrapolating from suggestions in parts of LZ’s notes she did not include:
As to “40 words” cf. Old Testament; tetraktys (‘A’-19 p166 of “A” 13-21, Cape or Paris Review edtn.) Also adding integers 4 + 0 = 4. Eight lines = 2 x 4 (“two-by-fours” ‘I’s (pronounced eyes[)]’ p. 218 All, Norton Library edtn [CSP 215]). Eight 8-line songs per year would = 8² = 64, and adding integers again = 10 (years); 8 x 10 years = 80 and again adding integers 8 + 0 = 8 (cf ‘A’-8 pp53 and 98 re. the number 8, “A” 1-12, Paris Rev. Edtn or Cape Edtn).
[Michele Leggott quotes and annotates a copy of this note in her Reading Zukofsky’s 80 Flowers (1989): 13-14, although I have transcribed the note as it appears in LZ’s final notebook, which was unavailable to Leggott].
With regard to these lists of numerical quotations as suggestive paths for reading, it is worth remembering that Celia was primarily responsible for the index to “A”, both instigating the idea and carrying it out, which LZ pruned. In the surviving typescript, Celia penciled in the sources beside each quotation taken mostly from “A”, although there is no clear indication that these were intended to be included in the final printed work. I have listed the sources keyed to the current standard text of “A” on a final page for the curious reader.
The second note, from which Celia took only the final sentence, is of interest in its entirety:
Definitely use thyme: (pronounced time) and thread the play of sound on both words thru the other 80 flowers, in the opening epigraph poem. (e.g. tread a measure, tread, cf birds — grows by the rose’ (LZ) “trees budding fire . . ” (Isaac D’Israeli)) thus making with the opening epigraph, 81 poems. (Adding integers, 8 + 1 = 9, The Muses etc). Let time determine the book sequence of the 80 — and their “order”— that is the chronology of their writing. [Again, Leggott quotes this note from a later copy (17)].
LZ copied out these notes into his loose-leaf notebook and placed them before the final fair copy versions of 80 Flowers, along with a bibliography of botanical sources he used and instructions about the printing of the book. Although he explicitly noted that the plan and notes were not to be included in the book publication, he seems to have put together something of a personal augmented holograph version of the volume.
The lowercase “flowers” in Celia’s title is consistent with her typescript and is how she regularly spells the title elsewhere, although LZ routinely capitalizes the title which is how it appears in the printing of the book. Celia’s typescript has been followed in two instances where in the quotations from “A”, she has slightly deviated from Louis’ text, although presumably these were inadvertent:
from “A”-18/393, “to” has been added to the line: “eight words a line for love.”
from “A”-19/419, “holy holy” is a separate line on its own.
As one would expect, CZ’s edition of the marginalia is not scholarly and is designed to be read alongside the primary text as a companion reading. Generally speaking it was not LZ’s common practice to write comments as he read, but rather, always looking for materials for his own compositions, he marked passages or lines and then went back and copied out quotations into his working notebooks. Now and then he noted parallelisms or recurrences with other texts and authors, especially Shakespeare as one would expect. However, certain books provoked him into more extensive notations, his copy of Paradise Lost for example, and especially in his late years, perhaps feeling he had the leisure, he sometimes more elaborately annotated certain volumes.
CZ made these transcriptions in Nov.-Dec. 1979, and the four books chosen are among those LZ read or reread at the end of his life: Thomas Hardy’s The Dynasts and The Queen of Cornwall, John Dryden’s San Sebastian and Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh. Precisely when he reread The Way of All Flesh is uncertain, but it seems to have been a work of long-standing interest since almost a page of excerpts from the novel appear in Bottom, which generally includes few quotations from fiction. The other three works were read from 6 Dec. 1976 through 18 Jan. 1977. This was the culmination of a half a year of extensive reading in Hardy—The Dynasts was preceded by five novels—and also when LZ was well into the composition of 80 Flowers. The Queen of Cornwall, a one-act play on Iseult and Tristram, was included in the two-volume edition of The Dynasts LZ read, and he simply continued with it on finishing the latter.
Whatever CZ’s precise reasons for this selection, it displays the range of LZ’s book markings, from mostly simple marking of passages of interest in The Way of All Flesh to a primary focus on vocabulary in The Queen of Cornwall, with The Dynasts receiving a fairly full treatment including brief judgments on some passages and scenes. His primary authority for vocabulary and references was the ten-volume Century Dictionary, which particularly in his later years he used extensively. This dictionary leans heavily on literary examples, especially Shakespeare, for its historical examples of vocabulary usage, which LZ often notes.
For the most part it does not appear that these works figure significantly in LZ’s late work, although he may have had ideas for them in his projected further work, GAMUT: 90 Trees, for which he had already accumulated quite a few notes by the time of his death. The exception is the prominent use of The Dynasts in the first half of “Windflower” from 80 Flowers, specially details from the concluding “After Scene” entitled “The Overworld.” In the notebook in which he was gathering notes for GAMUT, LZ composed a poem, “THE OVERWORLD,” entirely carved out of this section of The Dynasts, apparently intending it as an epigraph for GAMUT but later changed his mind.
Summarizing quickly CZ’s presentation, all LZ’s notations are in italics and placed in parentheses, and in any given scene or chapter she first lists LZ’s annotations on specific vocabulary or identifications, followed by the passages and lines he marked.
Note on the text: Fortunately we can with some confidence present this book close to what CZ had in mind. In April 1980 The Stinehour Press sent three sample pages of the marginalia for CZ’s response, to which she expressed satisfaction, although at this point the correspondence breaks off before further discussions of details. She also went through a copy of the typescript indicating the page breaks she desired and making a few emendations. CZ’s general procedure was to copy out the relevant text and LZ’s notations on notecards and then type these up, although in this case she neatly copied LZ’s notations by hand in script onto the typescript. Although she originally hoped that her handwriting could be reproduced, she readily agreed to substitute italics when Stinehour pointed out the additional complexity and expense such reproduction would entail. CZ’s typescript has been followed closely and not adjusted or “corrected” against LZ’s original markings, although the texts of the books have been double-checked. The only significant touching up of CZ’s typescript has been to standardize the punctuation of abbreviations and to regularize a few inconsistencies in the presentation. Also I have opted not to underline titles in LZ’s notes, as in the Stinehour dummies, reserving underlining for instances of LZ’s emphasis. The table of contents has been added and the title page conforms closely to the design of American Friends and other publications brought out under the C.Z. Publications, Inc. imprint.
In her pencilled copy, CZ deleted one brief note from her typescript of The Dynasts notes, probably to fit everything onto the printed page: a remark on Part Second, Act II, scene iv: “(for wide screen & color today)”—one of a number of cinematic references. In LZ’s notations on “wilding words” in The Dynasts, Part First, Act I, scene iii, the final word in both his note and CZ’s transcription looks like “escape,” but it seems to me sense indicates the initial cursive “e” is a squashed “l” and LZ means “landscape.” One irregularity is worth mentioning. In the list of abbreviations appended to the marginalia on The Dynasts, CZ includes G.S. which she identifies as Gertrude Stein, although this reference does not appear anywhere in her text. The relevant point of reference is the following sentence from Hardy’s “Preface”: “It was thought proper to introduce, as supernatural spectators of the terrestrial action, certain impersonated abstractions, or Intelligences, called Spirits,” beside which LZ notes: “cf. G.S. 1951.” This actually refers to George Santayana, Dominations and Powers, on which LZ published a trenchant review in 1951, “The Effacement of Philosophy” (Prep. 54-56). To prevent readers from chasing a non-existent hare, I have deleted this abbreviation from CZ’s list.
The specific editions LZ read are:
Thomas Hardy, The Dynasts: An Epic-Drama of the War with Napoleon & The Famous Tragedy of The Queen of Cornwall, 2 vols. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1948, 1949).
John Dryden, Plays, vol. II, ed. George Saintsbury. Mermaid Series (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, n.d.).
Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh (Harper & Bros., 1950).
There is no indication that this work was intended for publication, and since it was a home-made book, it seems most appropriate to present it in facsimile (the quality of the images leaves something to be desired and hopefully this can be improved in the near future). It was previously printing in this form in an Zukofsky issue of the journal Fin, edited by Jean Daive (Fin 17, July 2003), with the following note by Mark Scroggins translated into French:
In the year after Louis Zukofsky’s death, his wife Celia made an arrangement of brief passages from his works, one or two short excerpts from each of the thirty-nine years of their marriage. This work — “1939 – 1978” — was merely a continuation of their shared creative life, which was marked by a series of collaborations: Bottom: on Shakespeare; the Catullus translation; the Autobiography; “A”-24 (Celia’s “L. Z. Masque”). Celia Zukofsky continued that collaboration after her husband’s death, in her book American Friends, in an unpublished series of “Notes” to 80 Flowers, in a comprehensive catalogue of Zukofsky’s library, and in a projected edition of Zukofsky’s marginalia. “1939 – 1978” focuses on Zukofsky’s expressions of contentment in the familial sphere; it is Celia Zukofsky’s love poem to her husband’s memory, expressed — in best Zukofskyan fashion — in his own words.