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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
James McDougall <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Dec 2004 13:47:08 -0500
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- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
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>The confusion arises because the character qing [or
>ch'ing according to the Wade Giles phonetic system],
>(?) especially as it is used in classical
>Chinese does not have a ready equivalent in English. A
>direct translations of blue into Chinese would be lan
>? , a direct translation of green would be lu
>? , and a direct translation of black would be
>hei ?. Qing can be any of these colors, so all
>the translations are correct.
>For example qingtian ?? means blue sky,
>but qingcai ?? means green vegetables,
>and qingwa ?? means frog (all the same
>qing). A cliche in the language of landscapes,
>qingshan lushui ????,
>means "blue mountains green water," but the qing here
>suggests instead of a topaz blue that
>blackish-verdant color of rocks and trees. Qingnian
>??(green years) means youth, and
>qingchun ??(green spring) means
>puberty/"youthful vigour,"--in Li Bo's version the
>overtone of youthful vigor is probably implied,
>especially because plum blossoms flower in the
>winter/early spring, and are symbolic of beauty that
>blossoms out of difficult conditions, likewise, alas,
>the beauty of the Merchant wife's address.
>I'm not sure whether Pound knew all this or not, but I
>think there is an intentionality to the "blue" which
>is disjuntive of his audience's expectations. More
>importantly, the connotation of qing to youth in
>Chinese is used optimistically as a potentiality
>through which the more mundane seasons of life can be
>realized. In English "green" in the same context
>negatively suggests an inexperienced hack; and I think
>the "blue plums" are emblematic of the way that Pound
>tightly reins in connotation to control tone and
>Graduate Assistant
>University of Florida
>Department of English
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