Hopefully this is not a US-Don't-Care-Other-People issue. I am a Chinese. The
original post came from Vivian in Argentina. I lived in Europe for 7 years, now am
doing business in the US. As an observer, I can say that US people, in some sense,
the government too, do care others as much as others do. Sometimes, I thought they
are even nicer.
Going back to the post. Surely everybody is encouraged to learn more foreign
languages. My post tried to link two points together:
1) Pound is great, yet he did not speak other languages as good as I assumed before;
2) I enjoy so much in reading Pound's, yet I did not speak/read English very well.
Please allow me to propose an idea that the most touching things in the world have
to be the simplest too. Therefore, even though there is a language barrier, people
can be touched deeply by seeing the simplicity, not by studying details. For
example, Pound's Chinese poems, including those before 30's when he hardly
understood Chinese, is much more Chinese-like than any Chinese writers nowadays.
However, to deliver the simplicity from one language to another language, or to show
the simplicity in a poem, is a great job. Pound is such a postman.
I think Pound himself might have emphasize this in his 123-Reading book.
Alexander Schmitz wrote:
> A bit strange, Peter Bi, to join the discussion about EP & foreign languges with
> a smart "who cares?". No?
> Admitted: a German looks at these things from a SLIGHTLY different angle, i.e.
> while the majority of Americans still seems to think that the wide world speaks
> English anyway & that the US is the center of everything anyway [which, in a
> very personal sense, keeps being true for me, and I like this thought, having
> grown up in a distinctly pro-American early post-war West-Berlin], we here in
> Europe usually are brought up with a healthy sense for what world citizenship
> really means & that the 1st step towards multi-cultural & international
> understanding is learning languages. I. e. McDonald's & Coke is NOT world
> citizenship. I cdn't say that having learned other languages than just my native
> one did me any harm. Through Pound I came to study Chinese history, culture, &
> language at the university. Through Pound I came to look into Italian and
> Provencal languages more closely. And re-activated my "school French". Etc etc.
> There cd be found LOADS of Pound quotes which preach the necessity of learning
> foreign languages. Pound, thus wd be the last to say "who cares". He was the one
> who incessantly declared war on ignorance.
> I'm very sorry, Peter Bi. But yr "who cares" in this context - EP, languages &c
> - is pure cynicism. An inexcusable misinterpretation of Poundian thinking.
> Pound wd have found other words for this, and far less polite ones.