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The East Asian Influence in Ezra Pound's Pre-Cathay Poetry

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Authors
Jang, Mi-Jung
Issue Date
2011
Publisher
서울대학교 미국학연구소
Citation
미국학, Vol.34 No.1, pp. 233-255
Keywords
East Asian Orientalism in Modern American PoetryJapanese HaikuClassical Chinese Poetry“Form of Super-Position,” IntensityPrecisionSuggestivenessObjectivityImpersonality
Abstract
Since early in the twentieth century American poetry has exhibited an East Asian orientalism as an essential part of its makeup. This essay traces the East Asian influence on Ezra Pound’s poetry before the publication of Cathay in 1914. Ezra Pound began learning about Japanese and Chinese poetry even before his acquisition of the Ernest Fenollosa notebooks in 1913 and made attempts to incorporate their themes, forms, and perspectives into his own poetry. As early as 1912, Ezra Pound discerned a “form of super-position” in Japanese haiku and tried to adopt this form in his own English-language poetry. He also picked up Chinese themes from pre-exiting translations of Chinese literature, such as those done by Herbert Allen Giles, and tried to incorporate them into his poetry. He even attempted to apply the Japanese-inspired form to Chinese-inspired subject matter in three out of the four Chinese adaptations and imitations he wrote in this period (“After Ch’u Yuan,” “Liu Ch’e,” “Fan Piece for Her Imperial Lord,” and “Ts’ai Chi’h”). These efforts contributed to an enhancement of the intensity, precision, and suggestiveness of his poetry and an improvement in the objectivity and impersonality of its mode of presentation. In this way Ezra Pound’s pre-Cathay poetry paved a way for American poets afterwards to naturalize themes, subject matters, techniques, and perspectives of East Asian origin into their poetry.
ISSN
1229-4381
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/88675
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Researcher Institutes (연구소)American Studies Institute (미국학연구소)미국학미국학 Volume 34 Number 1/2 (2011)
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