Abstract

Abstract:

Read in light of French philosopher Lucien Lévy-Bruhl's How Natives Think (1910), Ezra Pound's comments on Chinese language and the color red in his ABC of Reading (1934) put him in a linguistic tradition that became known as "linguistic relativism," i.e. the idea that different languages and their structures in various ways affect their users' worldviews. So does his deployment of color terms in some of his poems. In fact, both Lévy-Bruhl and Pound, as well as Ernest Fenollosa, whose essay The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry (written ca. 1903) Pound edited and published, can meaningfully be labeled linguistics relativists, rather than for example "Cratylists," which previously has been suggested in Pound's case. All in all, Lévy-Bruhl and Fenollosa aided Pound in chiseling out his specifically poetic version of linguistic relativism, as part of a project to counter abstraction by using concrete and vivid language.

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