Abstract

Abstract:

Why did Ezra Pound excise all material “re/ sound” from Ernest Fenollosa’s landmark essay “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry”? Why does Pound fail to mention a second Fenollosa essay in which the deceased sinologist “discuss[es] the sound of Chinese verse”? Pound’s editorial decision had the effect of heightening the silence of the Chinese ideogram. Through sustained close reading of the neglected 1912 Pound poem “Silet” (“He is silent”), it becomes clear that Pound’s omissions from the Fenollosa lecture were motivated by an Imagist agenda to construct a poem of ‘image and not sound.” Pound’s fascination with silence in the 1910s prefigures his eventual renunciation of speech in the final decades of his life, an event that contributed to an augmentation in his literary reputation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 1-17
Launched on MUSE
2020-10-30
Open Access
No
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