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Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
Safdie Joseph <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 15 Jul 1998 13:18:46 -0700
To: "kibler, robert" <[log in to unmask]>
Ezra Pound discussion list of the University of Maine <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (192 lines)
May a non-(Pound)-scholar ask an innocent question? I'm slightly amazed
that any attention has been given to the question of Pound's Taoism,
when he so clearly, in the late Cantos especially, denigrates Lao Tzu at
every opportunity in favor of the great Kung -- I mean, it's ATTRACTIVE
that folks have found a Taoist element (and, of course, there IS Canto
120) -- but seen over the course of his whole career, I think this must
be fairly insignificant, no?
Joe Safdie
        From:  kibler, robert [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
        Sent:  Wednesday, July 15, 1998 12:46 PM
        To:  [log in to unmask]
        Subject:  Re: Wai-Lim Yip
        Responding to the message of         Tue, 14 Jul 1998 10:17:55
        from Jeff Twitchell-Waas <[log in to unmask]>:
        Cheadle's book is solid scholarship, and surely needs to be on a
Pound and
        Oriental booklist (I will be finishing a review of Cheadle for
Paideuma in
        the nexct few weeks). Zhaoming Qian's work is also important,
and though he
        sees the same Taoism at work in Pound that earlier scholars had
        perceived, he is the first one to see it developing early in
Pound's work,
        and in a way other than as simply a nature motif.  Qian's
presents this
        Taoist impulse as he finds it in some of Pound's shorter poems,
such as
        Meditatio (I just cannot remember any of the others right now),
which do
        not so much deliver a Taoist sensibility as they do a sort of
        Western attempt to be 'deep' in an Asian way, ie, comparing the
        habits of men and dogs.  This really hurts his argument, however
right he
        is, and however much of an advance his understanding of Pound's
Taoism is
        over those who had seen it before him.
        > It's been quite a few years since I read Yip on Cathay, but
certainly it
        > is
        > not dismissive of Pound's translations. Yip was somewhat
handicapped by
        > not
        > having access to the Fenollosa notebooks which evidently were
tied up in
        > legal wrangling for decades. Zhaoming Qian's fairly recent
        > and
        > Modernism vigorously defends the quality and uncanny accuracy
of Pound's
        > translations as translations (not merely "versions"), arguing
that Pound
        > was able to intuit a deeper level of the poems missed by many
        > and
        > more authoritative translators (e.g. Waley). For Qian this
deeper level
        > essentially means the underlying Taoism of the poems.
        > Although my impression too is that most older Chinese scholars
        > tended
        > to take a somewhat condescending view of Pound's translations,
I believe
        > this has altered considerably in recent years. When I was in
        > China
        > there was tremendous interest and enthusiasm for Pound among
        > scholars
        > and poets. Inevitably, this is no doubt also bound up with the
        > social/cultural changes that have been taking place there over
the past
        > two
        > decades. Those of us able to attend the Pound conference in
Beijing next
        > summer ought to be able to get a better idea about all this.
        > The first complete translation into Chinese of the Pisan
Cantos was just
        > published earlier this year, edited by my good friend and
        > colleague
        > at Nanjing Univeristy Zhang Ziqing and translated by Huang
Yuete now
        > studying at Buffalo. The original plan was to bring out a
        > translation, but I'm not clear whether that's still on track.
When this
        > project was initially proposed, I didn't have the impression
        > publisher
        > fuller realized the size of what they wanted to take on.
        > To Alexander Schmitz's list ought to added at least two other
        > books.
        > Mary Paterson Cheadle's Ezra Pound's Confucian Translations
(1997) which
        > I
        > haven't read yet. And highly recommended, Robert Kern's
        > Modernism and the American Poem (1996) which takes a larger
view of teh
        > discourse of Orientalism in relation to American poetry, but
        > and
        > Pound are at the center of his study. Although Kern, unlike
Qian, is very
        > much interested in pursuing Said's critique of Orientalism as
a Western
        > discourse, he too finds it difficult to seriously fault
        > translations.
        > Jeff Twitchell-Waas
        > ----------
        > From: Lucas Klein <[log in to unmask]>
        > To: [log in to unmask]
        > Subject: Wai-Lim Yip
        > Date: Monday, July 13, 1998 6:38 AM
        > Pounders:
        > Has anyone read Wai-lim Yip's book <italic>Ezra Pound's
        > Most Chinese scholars I'm aware of seem pretty dismissive of
Pound as a
        > translator from Chinese, calling him an inventor of Chinese
poetry in
        > English--I think maybe Eliot said this and Kenner picked up on
        > not an effective translator, but I can't imagine Yip writing
an entire
        > book aimed at dismissing the subject.  And in other writings
I've read
        > Yip has at least been very aware of the poetic advances in
        > attributable to Pound, and I wonder if <italic>Ezra Pound's
        > Cathay</italic> is something known, respected, recommended,
        > Thank you.
        > Lucas
        > <underline>.
        > </underline>Lucas Klein
        > [log in to unmask]
        > <color><param>8080,8080,0000</param>A young Muse with young
        > clustered about her
        >                 ascends with me into the Jther, . . .
        > And there is no high-road to the Muses.
        > </color>
        >                 <color><param>0000,8080,0000</param>    Ezra
        > <italic>Homage to
        > Sextus Propertius</italic></color>
        > ----------