In this Book

summary

Ezra Pound’s Cathay (1915) is a masterpiece of modernism, but also one of world literature. The muscular precision of images that mark Pound’s translations helped established a modern style for American literature, at the same time creating a thirst for classical Chinese poetry in English. Yet Pound wrote it without knowing any Chinese, relying instead on word-for-word “cribs” left by the Orientalist Ernest Fenollosa, whose notebooks reveal a remarkable story of sustained cultural exchange.

This fully annotated critical edition focuses on Pound’s astonishing translations without forgetting that the original Chinese and Old English poems are masterpieces in their own right. By placing Pound’s final text alongside the poems it claims to translate, as well as the manuscript traces of Pound’s Japanese and American interlocutors, the volume resituates Cathay as a classic of world literature.

The Pound texts and their intertexts are presented with care, clarity, and visual elegance. In addition to the Chinese poems of Cathay, the volume also includes that volume’s additional poem, Pound’s famous translation of “The Seafarer” from Anglo-Saxon, as well as fifteen further Pound translations from Chinese and his essay “Chinese Poetry.” A substantial textual Introduction elaborates the texts’ histories, and substantial prefatory pieces by Bush and Saussy discuss international modernism, the mediation of Japan, and translation. Finally, the edition supplies exhaustive historical, critical, and textual notes, clarifying points that have sometimes lent obscurity to Pound’s poems and making the process of translation visible even for readers with no knowledge of Chinese.

This landmark edition will forever change how readers view Pound’s “Chinese” poems. In addition to discoveries that permanently alter the scholarly record, the critical apparatus allows fresh discoveries by making available the specific networks through which poetic expression moved among hands, languages, and media in a multiply authored and intrinsically hybrid masterpiece.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Half Title, Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Foreword: The Archive of Cathay
  2. Haun Saussy
  3. pp. i-xx
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  1. Introduction: From the Decipherings
  2. Christopher Bush
  3. pp. 1-14
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  1. Editor’s Introduction: Cracking the Crib
  2. Timothy Billings
  3. pp. 15-32
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  1. Cathay (1915)
  1. Front Matter to Cathay
  2. pp. 33-34
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  1. Song of the Bowmen of Shu
  2. p. 35
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  1. The Beautiful Toilet
  2. p. 36
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  1. The River Song
  2. pp. 37-38
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  1. The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter
  2. p. 39
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  1. The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance
  2. p. 40
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  1. Poem by the Bridge at Ten-shin
  2. p. 41
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  1. Lament of the Frontier Guard
  2. p. 42
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  1. Exile’s Letter
  2. pp. 43-45
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  1. The Seafarer
  2. pp. 46-48
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  1. Four Poems of Departure: “Light rain is on the light dust”
  2. p. 49
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  1. Separation on the River Kiang
  2. p. 49
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  1. Taking Leave of a Friend
  2. p. 50
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  1. Leave-Taking near Shoku
  2. p. 50
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  1. The City of Choan
  2. p. 51
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  1. South-Folk in Cold Country
  2. p. 52
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  1. Back Matter to Cathay
  2. pp. 53-54
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  1. From Lustra (1916): The Chinese Poems
  1. Additions to Cathay
  1. Sennin Poem by Kakuhaku
  2. p. 57
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  1. A Ballad of the Mulberry Road
  2. p. 58
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  1. Old Idea of Choan by Rosoriu
  2. p. 59
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  1. To-Em-Mei’s “The Unmoving Cloud”
  2. pp. 60-61
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  1. Miscellaneous Poems
  1. After Chu Yuan
  2. p. 63
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  1. Liu Ch’e
  2. p. 63
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  1. Fan Piece, For Her Imperial Lord
  2. p. 64
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  1. Ts’ai Chi’h
  2. p. 64
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  1. Ancient Wisdom Rather Cosmic
  2. p. 65
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  1. Epitaphs
  2. pp. 65-66
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  1. The Little Review (1918): Two Translations
  1. Dawn on the Mountain
  2. p. 69
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  1. Wine
  2. pp. 69-70
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  1. Cribs for Cathay & Other Poems
  1. Editorial Conventions
  2. pp. 73-74
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  1. Front Matter to Cathay
  2. pp. 75-77
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  1. Song of the Bowmen of Shu (Classic of Poetry 詩經 167)
  2. pp. 78-89
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  1. The Beautiful Toilet (attrib. Mei Sheng 枚乘)
  2. pp. 90-97
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  1. The River Song (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 98-117
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  1. The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 118-132
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  1. The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 133-137
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  1. Poem by the Bridge at Ten-shin (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 138-150
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  1. Lament of the Frontier Guard (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 151-160
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  1. Exile’s Letter (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 161-192
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  1. The Seafarer (Anonymous)
  2. pp. 193-215
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  1. Four Poems of Departure
  1. “Light rain is on the light dust”
  2. pp. 216-219
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  1. Separation on the River Kiang (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 220-224
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  1. Taking Leave of a Friend (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 225-231
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  1. Leave-Taking near Shoku (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 232-235
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  1. The City of Choan (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 236-242
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  1. South-Folk in Cold Country (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 243-250
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  1. Back Matter to Cathay
  2. pp. 251-252
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  1. Sennin Poem by Kakuhaku (Guo Pu 郭璞)
  2. pp. 253-260
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  1. A Ballad of the Mulberry Road (Anonymous)
  2. pp. 261-267
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  1. Old Idea of Choan by Rosoriu (Lu Zhaolin 盧照鄰)
  2. pp. 268-276
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  1. To-Em-Mei’s “The Unmoving Cloud” (Tao Yuanming 陶淵明)
  2. pp. 277-286
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  1. After Chu Yuan (屈原 Qu Yuan)
  2. pp. 287-296
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  1. Liu Ch’e (Liu Che 劉徹)
  2. pp. 297-299
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  1. Fan Piece, For Her Imperial Lord (attrib. Ban Jieyu 班婕妤)
  2. pp. 300-303
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  1. Ts’ai Chi’h (Pound)
  2. pp. 304-308
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  1. Ancient Wisdom Rather Cosmic (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 309-314
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  1. Epitaphs / Fu I (Fu Yi 傅奕) and Li Po (Pound)
  2. pp. 315-316
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  1. Dawn on the Mountain (Wang Wei 王維)
  2. pp. 317-319
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  1. Wine (Li Bo 李白)
  2. pp. 320-324
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  1. Chinese Poetry (1918) b
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 333-336
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 337-348
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780823281398
Related ISBN
9780823281060
MARC Record
OCLC
1076879185
Pages
364
Launched on MUSE
2018-12-06
Language
English
Open Access
No
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