EPOUND-L Archives

- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Back door <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Dec 2004 15:36:01 -0700
text/plain; format=flowed
- Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (109 lines)
Incredible. Those posts are a bit overwhelming.
The case for one color would seem to be as strong as another,
not considering Pound's own intentions. "Without dislike or suspicion"
would suggeest innocence. Blue could also suggest the sadness of the wife's
mood, I
suppose, but that's a bit cliché. Was Pound living in Italy at that time?
There are some gorgeous Italian blue plums. They may  have suggested
something to him.

I have a Chinese friend. He may be able to help with the original.
Great thanks to all.


Dan P.

>From: "J. Mark Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: - Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine
>    <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: more on 'qing'
>Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 16:15:31 -0500
>   here's an interesting comment on that same word 'qing':
>"In what in English we still call Mandarin, but which since 1949, in China,
>has been called 'putonghua' ('the common language,' though in fact it is a
>dialect of the north), the color turquoise is known as qing lu, or
>color green," qing meaning 'natural (color)'; lu, green. Qing hai: the blue
>sea; qing shan: the green mountains; qing ye: the black night. It is as if
>things have their own 'natural' color: the green of the mountains (that
>to us, be grey, or blue), the blue of the sea (that might, also, be green),
>the gloom of a car accident that is black (but might instead be that deep
>almost sweet blue of certain paintings) when one is lying in the hospital,
>having just come close to death. So natural green would be as good a color
>any to describe those poems [of the Tang Dynasty], most them now more than
>1200 years old, but still strangely fresh, as if waiting for us to come
>them again."
>(from <Introduction to the Introduction to Wang Wei>, a book of verse
>and imitations by Canadian poets Roo Borson, Kim Maltman, Andy Patton (Pain
>Not Bread), 2000.)
>   But is the word 'qing' in the original Li Po poem?
>   J. Mark Smith
>Quoting James McDougall <[log in to unmask]>:
> > >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
> > >subjectivity.
> > >
> > >JMcD
> > >Graduate Assistant
> > >University of Florida
> > >Department of English
> > >[log in to unmask]
> >

Scan and help eliminate destructive viruses from your inbound and outbound
e-mail and attachments.
  Start enjoying all the benefits of MSN® Premium right now and get the
first two months FREE*.