guangzhou library 




Lin Wei



This essay offers a general review of Chinese translations and studies on Ezra Pound over the period 1922-2017, following its unique tradition over the years. Throughout almost a century, Pound’s reception in China provides more introductions and studies than translations of his work. This essay starts with a survey of early studies on Pound in China (1922-1979), and an overall review of Chinese translations of Pound’s works in the hundred years in question (1922-2017). Then, taking the years 1990 and 2005 as rough boundaries, it continues to present a review of Pound studies in China since the early 1980s. Such a division of the past nearly 40 years makes it possible to keep track of Pound’s reception in China, emphasizing both the classic (popular) topics and the new trends in its various flowering periods.





Since the early 1950s, in an effort to sort materials and confirm Ezra Pound’s status in literary history, researchers have worked on a bibliography of his works. Among them, American scholars contributed the most, while New Directions Publishing, founded by Pound’s friend James Laughlin, was of great assistance by keeping the poet’s works in print. Twenty years after his A Bibliography of Ezra Pound (1963), Donald Gallup published his authoritative 1983 edition which included a chapter on Pound’s books, collections and essays translated internationally. From this chapter, we learn that until that date, Pound’s works had been translated into 23 languages. Somehow, unfortunately, Chinese was not among them.

Indeed, it was quite late that Pound was first introduced into China and from then on, introductions and secondary literature predominated over translations of his work. In the second issue of the Chinese periodical Poetry, in 1922, LIU Yanling ended his essay “America’s New Poetry Movement” with a few comments on Imagism and Pound’s impact on it. Liu wrote that Ezra assembled the Imagists, whose group made a new trend in American poetry possible, and published Des Imagistesin 1914.[1] Interested readers had to wait for further information until 1934, when another journal, Modern, published “Seven Poets among Imagists” and “Ezra Pound and his Colleagues” by XU Chi; “A General Review of Modern American Poetry” by SHAO Xunmei; and three short poems by Pound (“Meditatio,” “A Girl” and “Black Slippers: Bellotti”) translated by SHI Zhecun.[2] These three essays evaluated Pound against the background of Imagism, American poetry generally, and even the national condition of the US, thus outlining his personal career, talents (including, but not limited to poetry) and contribution to poetry.

As mentioned above, since 1922, when Pound’s name in the context of Imagist poetics began to circulate in China, there has been an obvious imbalance between translations and studies on him. According to GENG Jiyong, before 1937, only six of Pound’s poems were translated into Chinese (including the three in Modern).[3] After that, until the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 – or even before 1980s – studies of Pound in China were almost as rare. Over this period, with the exception of Western scholars’ articles translated into Chinese, Pound’s best known “appearances” in China were owing to QIAN Zhongshu’s few comments on him.[4] In his Notes on Liberal Arts (Tan Yi Lu, 1939-1941), while discussing “the affections and coloration” of poetry, Qian compared three “basic principles in the Way of setting forth pattern”[5], i.e. “the pattern of shapes,” “the pattern of sounds,” and “the pattern of the affections” with Pound’s “phanopoeia,”“melopoeia,” and “logopoeia” in “How to Read” and the ABC of Reading. Then in 1945, taking Cathayas an example, Qian stated that Pound “innovated by combining translation and composition, creating his own works based on Chinese poems.” As JIANG Hongxin sees it, these two remarks of Qian’s are significant for Pound’s reception in China, since the former “initiated a comparative study between Chinese poetics and Pound’s,” whereas the latter “was the first evaluation in China of Pound’s translation of Chinese poems.”[6] In contrast, Qian’s English article with the title “Chinese Literature” (1945) was not so tolerant. He criticized Pound’s over-emphasis on the visual, pictographic features of Chinese written characters. His incisive criticism included remarks such as: “Pound is construing rather than reading Chinese, and, as far as Chinese literature is concerned, his ABC of Reading betrays him as an elementary reader of mere A. B. C.[7]

After that, till 1962, translations and studies of Pound’s works were scarce in China. That year witnessed the publication of Selection of Essays on Literary Theories by the Modern Anglo-American Bourgeoisie, which incorporated “The Serious Artist” by Pound (1913), translated by LUO Shigang and Mai Renzeng. The title of the collection indicated just how political many Chinese scholars’ observations on Western modernism were back then. JIANG Hongxin notes that we may conduct a comparative reading between this text and YUAN Kejia’s two articles published inLiterary Review: “A Review of ‘New Criticism’” (February 1962) and “Some Comments on Modernist Anglo-American Poetry” (March 1963).[8] Apart from such political tags as “reactionary” and “bourgeois,” Yuan’s articles showed that even when conditions were not in favor of translations and studies of modernist literature, scholars in mainland China managed to be updated on Western poets such as Pound, who were “politically incorrect,” but undoubtedly eminent. For instance, both articles mentioned Pound’s fascism and treason, seeing them as manifestations of bourgeois regressive and reactionary attitudes on both literature and reality. Furthermore, the 1963 article briefly touched on Hugh Selwyn Mauberley and “Canto 45,” not only arguing that modernist poetry “reflects a severe spiritual and artistic crisis of Western capitalist society in the previous five decades,” but confirming the “Medieval scholasticism,” “Modern fascism,” “Anti-Socialism,” and “Anti-Semitism” charges against Pound.[9]

“The Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee” of The Communist Party of China was held at the end of 1978. Subsequently, the Chinese political situation changed significantly, facilitating translations and studies of foreign literature, including Western modernism. Over the 1980s, in the so-called “era of studies of Western modernism,”[10] an increased number of Pound’s poems and essays were rendered into Chinese. The translations however, did not go very far because of the simple fact that many more works by literary talents who were unknown at first but with Pound’s assistance became famous later, such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, were being translated into Chinese with far more editions than Pound’s. To their credit, after decades of being interrupted, SHEN Ao, QIU Xiaolong, ZHAO Yiheng and others translated more than 50 poems by Pound over 1980s, such as “In a Station of the Metro,” a few sections of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, and a few sections of The Cantos. The translations by the three, as well as others in 1980s, are most cited in relevant Pound studies even now. Frequently, Pound’s name and poems were merely compared with that of other modernist poets and their works, and included into collections of “American Modernist Poems,”[11] “American Modernist Poets”[12] or “Imagist Poetry.”[13] In his 1989 article, “Some Thoughts on Translating English Poems into Chinese,” YUAN Kejia observed that “selections of significant poets are fundamental in such projects as translating English poems into Chinese, which is far from sufficient right now.” Yuan ranked Pound as the first in the list: “there are quite a few whose own works are still waiting to be rendered and published in China, and personal selections of Pound [and other such poets] remain to be done.”[14] Notably, this article got rid of all the “ism” tone of his criticism of thirty years before, when the same author had discussed Western modernist literature. Unfortunately and urgently today, Chinese translations of Pound’s works are still insufficient.

The first Pound-only collection published in Chinese is A Selection of Pound’s Poems - The Pisan Cantos. The first edition by Lijiang Publishing (Guilin), came out in 1998 with an appendix consisting of 4 essays composed or edited by Pound – “VORTEX,” “A Retrospect,” excerpts of “How to Read”[15] and “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry” – and five articles on Pound by Hugh Kenner, David Williams, Charles Bernstein, Jeff Twitchell-Wass and ZHAO Yiheng and others. HUANG Yunte, the translator, is a poet and researcher himself, who accomplished this rendering along with his PhD dissertation while in the United States. ZHANG Ziqing, the proofreader, mentions in his “Foreword” that “[Huang] finished translating The Pisan Cantos, and will continue on the whole Cantos, which is such a tremendous project that few American poetry researchers might be firm enough to try.”[16] Understandably and unfortunately, no “such a tremendous project” has turned up so far. Later in 2017, via Hunan Literature and Art Publishing (Changsha), Huang published the second edition of his book, entitled The Pisan Cantos, A Selection of Pound’s Poems. He revised the main body and altered the appendix into “A Selection of Pound’s Poems” which included his translations of five Pound’s early works such as “In a Station of the Metro,” “After Ch’u Yuan” and five excerpts of The Cantos.[17] Besides the two editions of The Pisan Cantoswith “A Selection” by Huang, no collection of Pound’s own poems, essays or letters has appeared in China.

Since the 1980s, English-to-Chinese translations of Pound’s essays have been published slowly as well. Like his poems, his essays on Imagism always belong to the appendix of a selection of modernist or Imagist poems [18] or form part of a comprehensive or thematic “collection of literary theories.”[19] Relevant works include what Huang selected and translated for the appendix to the Chinese versions of The Pisan Cantos. In 2014, Yilin Press (Nanjing) brought out ABC of Readingin Chinese, translated by CHEN Dongbiao, which was the first and only Chinese version of a Pound prose volume. It is noticeable that so far, Chinese versions of Pound’s theoretical essays all concern his literary thought; while in terms of his comments on arts, politics, economics and other areas, there is no translated collection, nor a corresponding translation of an existing one compiled by Western scholars. 

In the appendixes of both of his 2014 monographs (A Study of Ezra Pound and A Study of the History of Ezra Pound Studies), JIANG Hongxin includes a chronology and a bibliography of Pound works and Pound criticism in English and Chinese. This is the most recent achievement in Pound’s bibliography published by a Chinese scholar. In addition, as a reviewer observes, “A Study of Ezra Pound offers a selection of Chinese versions of Pound’s poems. Initially, this book translates some great poems (and cites Chinese renderings of ZHAO Yiheng and Wai-lim Yip when it comes to some well-known ones); creatively, it re-translates some excerpts, providing several texts with elegant style.”[20] The contribution made by A Study of Ezra Poundexemplifies what some Pound scholars in China have done in passing during their academic research, under the conditions of such scarcity of Chinese versions of Pound’s works. Still, we look forward to more collections of Pound’s poetry and prose.





In 2007, reviewing Pound Studies in China since the early 1980s, DONG Hongchuan summarized the prevalent topics as: “Pound’s poetry and poetics,” “Pound’s translation theory and practice,” and “Pound and China”.[21] Indeed from 1980s till now, these themes are what Pound scholars in China are most interested in. The period of the 1980s was a transitional decade. Since 1990, for nearly 30 years, Pound studies in China have flourished, while before 1980, they had gone through decades of inertia. It was the effort of Chinese scholars of the 1980s to make this transition possible and smooth. Back then, they initiated the three most continuous topics of discussion and research on Pound mentioned above.

In her “Imagist Poetry’s Innovation, Limitation and Influence on Modernist Poetry” (1980), ZHENG Min started from “the relation between subjectivity and objectivity in artistic conception”; arguing that the poetics of imagism, as well as its unique concept of the “Image,” had its limitations, and outlined the ways modernist poetry continued and developed Imagist conception further.[22] Strictly speaking, this essay was not a monograph on Pound, but was aimed at the imagism overall. Nevertheless, it has influenced the general methodology of researches on “Pound’s poetry and poetics,” which is subtly similar to Chinese translations of Pound’s works. In such analysis, what makes Pound significant is not only that his poems are typically imagist, but that the poet put great passion in the development of both the conception and works of this group. In her textual analysis, Zheng explored “In a Station of the Metro,” which after nearly 40 years is still among Chinese scholars’ favorite. The poem is also the topic of many relevant articles.

On “Pound’s translation theory and practice” and “Pound and China,” Chinese scholars are likely to combine both, naturally out of academic preference and advantage. They prefer those works concerning Chinese literature, showing how Pound’s “poetic translating”[23] as well as other pieces was affected by Chinese culture. Researchers in 1980s were the heralds of this academic tradition. The most influential monograph is The Muse from Cathay (1985)[24] by ZHAO Yiheng, who insightfully argued the instrumental function of “Chinese classical poetry” and its relationship to “the anti-traditionalism of the New Poetry Movement” in the US.[25] Pound and his Cathay are the red thread in every chapter of the book. In this respect, it is not inappropriate adding a subtitle like “Taking Pound (and his Cathay) as an example” – what Zhao has achieved corresponds to the top light, rather than the follow spotlight on a stage.

In his “Ezra Pound: An Ambassador for Chinese Culture” (1986), CHANG Peiwen reviewed chronologically how Pound immersed himself in Chinese culture, correlating significant moments as Pound’s discoveries of Fenollosa’s manuscripts and the “Four Books” of Confucius. Chang’s view was more nuanced – he observed, for example, that in Cathay, the fact that Pound’s translation was far from faithful was partly owing to errors in Fenollosa’s texts.[26] At the same time, other scholars, whether from China or abroad, criticized the defects of Pound’s Chinese-to-English rendering, and denounced the poet’s language ability and translation qualification. To some extent, this was owing to these scholars’ own negligence and blindness to the process of Pound’s translation and composition. Indeed, how Chinese poems were noted down by Fenollosa and interpreted by Pound has become better-known after 2015 – a century after the first edition of Cathay– when QIAN Zhaoming, a Chinese scholar working in the US, published his Cathay: The Centennial Edition. In this book, he collected Pound’s poetic translations / compositions and included Fenollosa’s corresponding notes in the appendix, restoring the initial materials of Pound’s work.[27] This ideal condition for Pound researchers vividly manifests the value of Chang’s article of 1986, despite the delay.



3. GRADUAL ADVANCES: 1990-2005


The three most frequent topics – “Pound’s poetry and poetics,” “Pound’s translation theory and practice” and “Pound and China” – have continued till the present time, forming an almost uninterrupted academic tradition of Pound studies in China since the early 1980s. In and before 2005, they virtually dominated the field, with the last two often combined. Studies concerning his translation theory and practice have tended to take the perspective of comparative literature from the very beginning (such as parallel study and influence study). For example, relevant comparisons include that between Pound and LIN Shu (1852-1924) who rendered works of British and French fiction without knowing the languages, as well as HU Shi (1891-1962), who was an agent of fundamental change in the establishment of written vernacular Chinese.[28] Regarding studies on “the influence of translation upon his writings” in this period, JIANG Hongxin’s “Ezra Pound’s Theory of Translation” (2001) is well recognized. Noteworthy, Jiang explored Pound’s English rendering of Chinese poems and Confucius classics in the context of work in other languages and cultures. Accordingly, he showed how Pound, by virtue of translation, manifested his talents as a “poet,” “critic” and “expert in comparative literature.”[29]

In and before 2005, explorations concerning “Pound and China” were always conducted around the interaction between American modernist poetry and Chinese poetry of various eras, or simply one-way influence in either direction. One typical essay was “Ezra Pound and the Classical Canon and Confucianism” (1999) by SUN Hong.[30] This article observed how The Cantos, in terms of its structure, examples, and ways of illustration, absorbed and applied history and myth from the Chinese classics (Great Digestmostly). This innovative article was among the earliest to regard The Cantosas the main object of research and proposed a holistic view on it.

When it came to “Pound’s poetics and poetry,” in the period 1990-2005, Chinese scholars were also focused on imagism, with “In a Station of the Metro” as the sole example: according to DONG Hongchuan, the reason why this poem was so popular in China was “partly owing to our own aesthetic tradition.”[31] At this time, studies on The Cantosstarted small-scale, but made more progress in the decade after 2006. Typical articles that were not limited to a general introduction, but analyzed the poem thematically and in more depth included: ZHAO Yiheng’s “Ezra Pound the Confucian – China in His Later Cantos” (1996), SUN Hong’s “On Pound’s Epic and Confucius Classics” (1999), mentioned above, and HUANG Zongying’s “On Ezra Pound’s Lyric Epic The Cantos” (2003). Huang’s essay indicated that Pound studies in China did not keep to the comfort zone, but started to meet more challenges coming from the poet’s Western legacy. From The Cantos’ structure and theme, Huang argued the ways in which Pound revealed an “average person” within “the poet himself,” “cultural circumstance” and a “social tradition.”[32]

In July 1999, the Ezra Pound International Conference (EPIC), two decades old at the time, came to Beijing. Later, the conference newsletter[33] showed that this 18th convention gathered 17 Chinese scholars and 63 foreign ones – the home advantage of the former was not obvious at all; while the 42 conference papers were mainly about “Pound and China” (which was also the title of the conference papers’ collection edited by QIAN Zhaoming), the conference was a sign that Chinese studies on Pound were opening up to the West. Last but not the least, NING Xin’s article on “A Review of Contemporary Western Pound Studies” (2000) surveyed research on the “association between Pound’s political and economic thought and his literary composition,” “Pound and American tradition,” and “Pound and the Orient or Orientalism.”[34] This essay indicated that along with probing their own academic tradition, Chinese scholars kept updated with the English-language studies on Pound.





Before reviewing Pound’s reception in China over the past decade, it is necessary to comment on a group of scholars with a dual cultural background – those Chinese scholars working overseas. As a rule, they got their bachelor and/or master degrees in China and continued their academic education abroad. Most acquired their doctoral degree in the US, taking Pound’s work as a dissertation topic. Their academic contributions are scattered along the timeline running from 1950s till now – most carry forward the legacy of Chinese classic culture, within the tradition of Anglo-American Pound studies rather than the historical background and intellectual coherence of the People’s Republic. For example, Achilles Fang (or FANG Zhitong), who was QIAN Zhongshu’s fellow student at Tsinghua University (Beijing), gained his doctoral degree in Comparative Literature at Harvard University in 1958, with his dissertation entitled “Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos.” This treatise, comprising of 865 pages, revealed references in The Pisan Cantos in great detail, and was not published until 2016.[35] In the introduction to his A Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound (1980), Carroll F. Terrell admitted that his glosses benefited much from Fang’s unpublished dissertation back then.[36] In spite of the remarkable contribution of those overseas Chinese researchers, such as Fang, Wai-lim Yip and Feng Lan, I will not review their studies one by one.[37] It is noteworthy that when it comes to research topics, they are likely to focus on the relationship between China and Pound and their preference resembles that of Pound scholars within China.

In the group with dual background, HUANG Yunte and QIAN Zhaoming have brought especially valuable contributions. Whereas Huang concentrated on English-to-Chinese translation, Qian’s research showed great preference for the influence of Chinese art on modernist poets, particularly Pound, Williams and Moore. Before that, we may note his translations of “Eight of Pound’s Early Poems” (1990).[38] Over the period 2011-2015, he published eight articles as sole or first author, discussing how eight Chinese acquaintances collaborated with Pound. Well-known among these are ZENG Baocun’s contribution to the genesis of “Canto 49” (or “The Seven Lakes Canto”) and the fluctuating influence of FANG Zhitong on Pound’s later Cantos. In 2015, Qian collected the eight articles into Ezra Pound among Chinese Talents, publishing the book in a Chinese edition. This book and Ezra Pound’s Chinese Friends: Stories in Letters (2008), a series of stories in previously unpublished letters, each of which with a narrative or introduction by Qian, complement each other. The English materials came first and the Chinese studies followed, which, in Qian’s own words, “make available for the first time the forgotten stories of Pound and his Chinese friends” and “illuminate a dimension in Pound’s career that has been neglected.”[39] Most recently, Qian’s Chinese article entitled “A ‘Special and Local’ Expert behind Ezra Pound’s Canto 49” (2017) continued his research on “Pound and China”, from the perspectives of the Hunan background and family origin of ZENG Baosun, the “local expert,” in order to “sort out the process of Pound’s conception of this work.”[40] One detail of Qian’s essay indicates his use and appreciation of Chinese scholars’ work. That is JIANG Hongxin’s paper on “Ezra Pound’s ‘The Seven Lakes Canto’ and Song Di’s Paintings of the Xiaoxiang Scenery” in 2006, which, based on historical materials, explored the full context of how Chinese Xiaoxiang literature and artistic motifs, via images, characters and Zeng, flowed into Pound’s “The Seven Lakes Canto.”[41] Seen against the background of Pound’s studies in China, the researches of Jiang and Qian over the last ten years illustrate how discussions around “Pound and China” have become more specific and thorough.

In addition, Qian’s contribution to Pound studies in China includes his effort in Pound Society of China, established in 2008, with WANG Guiming as the president, ZHANG Jian and SUN Hong the vice presidents, ZHAO Yiheng and Qian the advisors. In 2010, collaborating with YIN Qiping of Zhejiang University (Hangzhou), Qian convened the third international conference on Modernism and the Orient. Several Pound scholars abroad, such as Ron Bush, Ira Nadel, Dan Albright, Christine Froula and Wendy Flory, attended and gave papers - twelve went into Qian’s Modernism and Orient (2012).

During the past decade, the other two permanent Pound topics in China, “Pound’s translation theory and practice” and “Pound’s poetry and poetics,” were carried on and enriched. For the former, the rise of Western sinology has offered some new perspectives. A good example is “Poetically Translating Chinese Texts into the West: Ezra Pound’s Translation of Chinese Poetry and Confucian Classics” (2015), by GENG Youzhuang. Geng compared Pound’s translation with “Chinese texts by Western missionaries, sinologists and writers in the past several centuries,” finding why Pound’s renderings are so unique: “Pound’s translations of Chinese texts, unlike other translations by Westerners, consist of three parts: his translation of ancient Chinese poetry, his translation of Confucian classics, and his ‘translation’ of Confucian ideas into his own poetic works.” By his term “poetical translating,” Geng combined Pound’s kinds of literary translations into one, clarifying his research object by explaining “what it means to translate literally versus poetically.” Regarding Pound’s practices of Chinese-to-English versions, some researchers tend to confuse the literal with the poetic. Geng’s merit was to argue that “Pound’s translation of ancient Chinese poetry can be justified based on the poetic and creative rendering of the original.”[42]

On “Pound’s poetry and poetics,” the conventional object of Chinese study, Pound’s imagism, continued in more depth in such articles as “An Analysis of and Comment on Pound’s Concept of Image” by LI Zhimin (2005). XIAO Jie published an article with a similar title in 2009.[43] The former paid more attention to theoretical analysis, while the latter to literature review, so even though both took “In a Station of the Metro” as case study, they came to divergent evaluations regarding its literary aesthetics.[44]

Studies on longer and more complex structures like Hugh Selwyn Mauberley and The Cantos gained more ground. Before 2006, few studies were conducted on these poems – both are difficult, without full translations into Chinese. Particularly in and after 2008, each year has witnessed journal articles analyzing the gist and/or structure of the overall Cantos or parts of it from various perspectives. The Pisan Cantos is discussed most, which makes HUANG Yunte’s English-to-Chinese renderings even more important – his translation is cited most frequently. The sustainability and depth of these studies have improved Pound studies in China to a large extent. Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, in particular, has enjoyed focused attention.[45]

In the early 21st century, evaluating Pound studies in China, WANG Guiming observed that one reason leading to the difficulty of this area is “the complexity of Pound’s own liberal and literary thought.”[46] For Pound studies in China, The Cantos can be regarded as the acme of such “complexity.” The Chinese studies of The Cantos indicate advances in both the research object and depth of exploration. Among others, SUN Hong and ZHU Yige stand out.

How Sun initiated The Cantos studies in China has been discussed above. After 2006, his studies have more consistently followed the American poet’s political and economic concerns in The Cantos. In his “Writing a Textbook for Princes: Ezra Pound’s Abuse of History,” Sun objected to the general assessment of The Cantosas “The Divine Comedy of the modern era,” and pointed out its structural differences from Dante’s work, relating The Cantosrather to Machiavelli’s The Prince. After an observation on Pound’s affinities with Chinese culture, Sun examined the two aspects of “Cantos LII-LXXI”: a focus on economic issues and a justification for centralism, arguing that this section of The Cantosaimed at “submitting a Princeto Mussolini in the 20th century.”[47] Zhu’s early articles had compared Pound’s and LIN Shu’s translation practices; after 2010, he dedicated himself to The Cantos, exploring various aspects, including “the aesthetic presentation of economic themes.”[48]

Previous Pound studies in China followed research dichotomies abroad, which tended to discuss his two sides separately: Pound as an eminent writer in his early life and as a politically controversial figure later. Or they just highlighted one aspect of him – the positive or negative part – and neglected the other. Mostly, what would be overlooked was the Fascist side of Pound’s career. E. Fuller Torrey cited Olga Rudge’s complaint that “Ezra Pound is no pancake!” bringing home the obvious truth that “the man and his poems are one.”[49] The focus on the political and economic concerns in Pound’s poem in the work of SUN Hong, ZHU Yige and others, indicates an attempt to rectify the earlier bias.

Since 2004, monographs and doctoral dissertations focusing on Pound have continued to come out. They undoubtedly make a great contribution to the advance of Pound studies in China, despite their limited number. In terms of their topics specifically, these monographs and dissertations show similar trends to the journal articles discussed above. Early monographs and dissertations discuss “Pound and China,” or related topics from the perspective of “Pound’s translation theory and practice.”[50] This can be clearly seen from the titles of the three earliest Chinese monographs on Pound: Construction and Reflection: A Study of Ezra Pound’s Thought on Translation(2005), by ZHU Chaowei; Ezra Pound and the Chinese Culture(2006), by WU Qiyao; and Ezra Pound and Chinese Culture(2006), by TAO Naikan.[51] Comparatively speaking, regarding the interaction between Pound / his poems and Chinese culture, the two books of 2006 discuss The Cantos in part, in addition to Cathay and other early works. Wu’s treatise mentions the process of The Cantos composition; moreover, he reserves a chapter to “Pound’s political and economic thought.” Since 2014, the two doctoral dissertations on Pound available are both on The Cantos.[52] The Cantos became the main object of textual analysis in Zhu’s Crossing Borders: A Study of Ezra Pound’s Poetic Creation (2014) and Hu Ping’s A Study of Ezra Pound’s Pisan Cantos (2017).[53] In 2014, JIANG Hongxin published his A Study of Ezra Pound, the first and currently the only monograph on Pound’s full work. QIAN Zhaoming evaluated this monograph as “a full-scale study on Pound.”[54] In his “Foreword,” Qian states that “in hundred thousands of word count, it incorporates those materials Pound studies in China need urgently: a brief biography, a collection of Pound’s poems and essay excerpts rendered into Chinese, a gloss to Pound’s poems and a bibliography of both Chinese and Western Pound studies.”[55] And A Study of the History of Ezra Pound Studies (2004), by Jiang and ZHENG Yanhong, indicates a further development on materials in Pound studies in China.

In conclusion, the overall picture for Pound’s reception in China has both merits and disadvantages. The approach based on comparative literature is a benefit, since it encourages a wide range of research objects and topics. Indeed, there are preferred zones such as imagism or “Pound and China,” as well as blind spots derived from the scarcity of translations of Pound’s poetic oeuvre, particularly the Cantos. Beginning with the more recent breakthroughs regarding a variety of topics not tackled before, we can legitimately expect to have more explorations on the influence of other cultures or languages upon Pound, apart from Chinese. Such discussions have already appeared: for instance, on the impact of ancient Rome or Japanese culture upon Pound’s specific poems and general poetics.[56]

Concerning Pound as a figure of political controversy, studies on his Fascism and his economic thought are just in their beginnings. In comparison to the scale of relevant inquiries abroad, more responsibilities are awaiting current and future Pound studies in China. Even though a tradition has been generally formed since 1980s in terms of these topics, this inheritance has not been fully realized.

Last but not the least, Pound scholars in China are supposed to become more international - that is, interact more with their Western counterparts. Chinese scholars’ participation in the twenty-seven Ezra Pound International Conferences (EPICs), except for the 1999 one in Beijing, has been rare. Their knowledge of the most recent research abroad is not always up-to-date, which is illustrated by the limited amount of book reviews in recent years. All in all, it is undoubtedly necessary and significant for Chinese scholars of Pound to conduct translations and studies in more depth. After almost a hundred years’ accumulation and the recent decade’s energy, we are confident in the future of Pound’s reception in China.  




[1] LIU Yanling, “America’s New Poetry Movement,” in Poetry1.2 (1922): 30-31. [刘延陵:《美国的新》,》,1922年第1卷第2号,第30-31]. I will give Chinese-to-English translations of titles of books, journals and essays or other publication information when first introduced into this article. The original Chinese information will be provided as well.

[2] All of “Seven Imagist Poets,” “Ezra Pound and his Colleagues” and Chinese versions of the three short poems were published in Modern [] 5.6 (1934): 874-890, 981-983, 1207. The issue focused on modern American literature with a section on a selection of modern American poems which consisted of “Three poems by Ezra Pound,” “Three poems by Robert Frost,” “Five poems by Amy Lowell” and “Two poems by H.D.” “Seven Poets of Imagists” by XU Chi was published in Modern4.6 (1934): 1013-1025.

[3] GENG Jiyong, “Modern, Translation and Literary Modernity,” in Tongji University Journal Social Science Section20.2 (2009): 76-83 [永:《<>、翻与文学代性》,《同大学学(社会科学版)》,20094月,第76-83].

[4] Two examples of Chinese translations of foreign scholars’ relevant works: Tomoji Abe, “New Poetic Groups in UK and US,” GAO Ming, trans., in Modern2.4 (1934): 550-566 [阿部知二:《英美新派》,高明代》19332月号(第2卷第4期),第550-566]; Jameson, “On Anglo-American Poets in 20th Century,” ZONG Wei, trans., in Shi Chuang Zuo15 (1942): 56-65 [詹姆女士:《二十世英美》,宗玮译诗创作》1942年第15期,第56-65].

[5] Stephen Owen, Readings in Chinese Literary Thought, trans. into Chinese by WANG Baihua and TAO Qingmei, Shanghai: Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press, 2003, p. 249 [宇文所安:《中国文:英评论》,王柏、陶,上海:上海社会科学院出版社,2003年,第249].

[6] See JIANG Hongxin, A Study of Ezra Pound, Shanghai: Foreign Language Education Press, 2014, pp. 368-369, 372 [蒋洪新:《德研究》,上海:外教育出版社,2014年,第368-369,第372].

[7] QIAN Zhongshu, A Collection of Qian Zhongshu’s English Essays, Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2005, p. 283 [钱锺书:《钱锺书英文文集》,北京:外教学与研究出版社,2005年,第283].

[8] See JIANG Hongxin, A Study of Ezra Pound, p. 371.

[9] YUAN Kejia, “On Anglo-American ‘Modernist’ Poetry,” inLiterary Review3(1963): 64, 71 [袁可嘉:《略美英代派歌》,《文学评论》,1963年第3期,第6471].

[10] JIANG Hongxin and ZHENG Yanhong, A Study of the History of Ezra Pound Studies, Nanjing: Yilin Press, 2014, p. 143[蒋洪新,燕虹:《德学史研究》,南京:林出版社,2014年,第143].

[11] Example: ZHAO Yiheng tran. and ed., A Anthology of American Modernist Poems, Beijing: Foreign Literature Publishing House, 1985 [毅衡编译:《美国诗选》,北京:外国文学出版社,1985]. This collection consists of two volumes, incorporating 18 poems - in full text or selected section - of Pound. These works include “The Return,” “In a Station of the Metro,” parts ofHugh Selwyn Mauberley, “Canto 45,” “Canto 49,” “Canto 120,” etc. See pp. 36-66.

[12] Example: Ezra Pound, et al., A Selection of Works by Six American Modernist Poets, SHEN Ao, tran., Changsha: Hunan Renmin Press, 1985 [德等:《美国代六集》,申奥沙:湖南人民出版社,1985]. This book includes 41 poems by Pound.

[13] Example: Peter Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, QIU Xiaolong, tran., Guilin: Lijiang Press, 1986 [彼德·:《意象派诗选》,裘小龙译,桂林:漓江出版社,1986].

[14] YUAN Kejia, “Some Thoughts upon Translating English Poems into Chinese,” in Chinese Translators Journal5(1989): 11-12 [袁可嘉:《关于英诗汉译的几点随想》,《中国翻》,1989年第5期,第11-12].

[15] Huang’s own note: abridged translation from “How to Read” in Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. The original title is “Language.” See Ezra Pound, A Selection of Pound’s Poems - The Pisan Cantos, HUANG Yunte, tran., Guilin: Lijiang Publishing, 1988, p. 227 [德:《诗选——比萨诗章》,黄运特子清校,桂林:漓江出版社,1998年,第227].

[16] Ibid., p. 10.

[17] Ezra Pound, The Pisan Cantos, A Selection of Pound’s Poems, HUANG Yunte, tran., Changsha: Hunan Literature and Art Publishing, 2017 [德:《比萨诗章·诗选》,黄运特沙:湖南文出版社,2017].

[18] Examples: ZHAO Yiheng tran. and ed., A Collection of American Modernist Poems; Peter Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry.

[19] Examples: WU Lifu, ed., A Selection of Western Literary Theories in Ancient and Modern Period, Shanghai: Fudan University Press, 1984 [伍蠡甫主:《西方古今文论选》,上海:复旦大学出版社,1984]; HUANG Jinkai, et al., eds., Symbolism, Imagism, Beijing: China Renmin University Press, 1989 [黄晋等主:《象征主·意象派》,北京:中国人民大学出版社,1989]; YUAN Kejia, et al., eds., A Study of Modernist Literature I, Beijing: China Social Sciences Press, 1989 [袁可嘉等编选:《代主文学研究(上)》,北京:中国社会科学出版社,1989].

[20] TAN Xiaocui, “Pound and Pound Studies in a Nutshell: A Review of A Study of Ezra Poundby Jiang Hongxin,” in Contemporary Foreign Literature1 (2015): 157 [小翠:《博中开拓——蒋洪新教授的新著<德研究>》,《当代外国文学》,20151期,第157]. In A Study of Ezra Pound, Jiang adopts many of Wai-lim Yip’s Chinese translations of The Cantos from: Wai-lim Yip, “Modernity and Poetry” (Winter, 2001, lectures at UCSD). As far as I can see, Yip’s works have not been circulated in China.

[21] DONG Hongchuan, “A Review of Ezra Pound Study in China in the Past 20 Years,” in Foreign Literature5 (2007): 55 [董洪川:《接受的另一个度:我国新德研究的回与反思》,《外国文学》,2007年第5期,第55].

[22] ZHENG Min, “Imagist Poetry’s Innovation, Limitation and Influence upon Modernist Poetry,” in Literature & Art Studies6 (1980): 133-141 [敏:《意象派新、局限及对现代派的影响》,《文研究》,1980年第6期,第133-141].

[23] “Poetically translating” is a term by GENG Youzhuang, which will be made more specific later.

[24] This book was revised and published in 2003, with a Chinese title a bit different from the original one. In this article, I will discuss the 1985 edition only.

[25] ZHAO Yiheng, The Muse from Cathay, Chengdu: Sichuan People’s Publishing House, 1985, p. 318 [毅衡:《游的神:中国古典美国新的影响》,成都:四川人民出版社,1985年,第318].

[26] CHANG Peiwen, “Ezra Pound: An Ambassador for Chinese Culture,” in Foreign Literature 5 (1986): 92 [常沛文:《艾·播中国文化的使者》,《外国文学》,1986年第5期,第92].

[27] Ezra Pound, Cathay: The Centennial Edition, Zhaoming Qian ed., New York: New Directions, 2015.

[28] Examples: ZHU Chaowei, “A Comparative Study of the Translation Theories of Lin Shu and Ezra Pound,” in Journal of PLA University of Foreign Languages 3 (2002): 78-82 [祝朝:《林德翻思想比研究》,《解放外国学院学》,2002年第3期,第78-82]LIAO Qiyi, “Pound and Hu Shi: A Cultural Approach to Poetry Translation,” in Journal of Foreign Languages6 (2003): 55-61 [廖七一:《德与胡适:歌翻的文化思考》,《外国》,2003年第6期,第55-61].

[29] JIANG Hongxin, “Ezra Pound’s Theory of Translation,” in Journal of Foreign Languages4 (2001): 77-80 [蒋洪新:《德的翻研究》,《外国》,2001年第4期,第77-80].

[30] SUN Hong, “Ezra Pound and the Classical Canon and Confucianism,” in Foreign Literature Review2 (1999): 20-30 [宏:《论庞德的史与儒家典》,《外国文学评论》,1999年第2期,第20-30].

[31] DONG Hongchuan, “A Review of Ezra Pound Study in China in the Past 20 Years,” p. 56.

[32] HUANG Zongying, “On Ezra Pound’s Lyric Epic The Cantos,” in Foreign Literatures 3 (2003): 61 [黄宗英:《嘴道出一个民族的话语德的抒情史<>》,《国外文学》,2003年第3期,第61].

[33] ZHANG Jian, “A Review of 18th Ezra Pound International Conference,” in Foreign Literature Review4 (1999): 138 [张剑:《第十八届德国会》,《外国文学评论》,1999年第4期,第138].

[34] NING Xin, “A Review of Contemporary Western Pound Studies,” in in Contemporary Foreign Literature2 (2000): 125[宁欣:《当代西方德研究述》,《当代外国文学》,2000年第2期,第125].

[35] Achilles Fang, Materials for the Study of Pound’s Cantos, Shanghai: Zhongxi Press, 2016 [方志彤:《章研究》,上海:中西局,2016].

[36] See JIANG Hongxin and ZHENG Yanhong, A Study of the History of Ezra Pound Studies, p. 171.

[37] More information about this group can be found at: JIANG Hongxin and ZHENG Yanhong, “Ezra Pound’s Affinities with China and Chinese Scholars’ Pound Studies: An Observation on the History of Pound Studies,” in Soochow Academic3 (2011): 129-133 [蒋洪新、燕虹:《德与中国的情以及人学者的德研究——德学史研究》,吴学》,2011年第3期,第129-133].

[38] QIAN Zhaoming, tran., “Eight of Pound’s Early Poems,” in Foreign Literature1 (1990): 53-55 [兆明:《德早期八首》,《外国文学》,1990年第1期,第53-55].

[39] Zhaoming Qian, ed., Ezra Pound’s Chinese Friends: Stories in Letters, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 208, p. xv.

[40] QIAN Zhaoming, “A ‘Special and Local’ Expert behind Ezra Pound’s Canto 49,” inForeign Literature Review1 (2017): 91-102 [兆明:《<49>背后的相关文化圈内人》,《外国文学评论》,2017年第1期,第91-102].

[41] JIANG Hongxin, “Ezra Pound’s ‘The Seven Lakes Canto’ and Song Di’s Paintings of the Xiaoxiang Scenery,” in Foreign Literature Review3 (2006): 31-37 [蒋洪新:《德的<七湖>湘八景》,《外国文学评论》,2006年第3期,第31-37].

[42] There are both Chinese and English versions of this article. The English one can be found at: David Jasper, et al., eds., A Poetics of Translation: Between Chinese and English Literature, Waco: Baylor University Press, 2016. Citations come from pp. 177-178, 187-188. The Chinese version is: GENG Youzhuang, “Poetically Translating Chinese Texts into the West: Ezra Pound’s Translation of Chinese Poetry and Confucian Classics,” in World Sinology15 (2015): 149-161 [耿幼壮:《何谓诗写?——·德的中国歌和儒家典翻》,《世界学》(第15卷),北京:中国人民大学出版社,2015年,第149-161].

[43] LI Zhimin, “An Analysis of and Comment on Pound’s Concept of ‘Image’,” in Foreign Literature Studies3 (2005): 97-104 [黎志敏:《德的意象概念辨析与价》,《外国文学研究》,2005年第3期,第97-104]; XIAO Jie. “The Concept of Ezra Pound’s ‘Image’ - Its Essence and Function,” in Journal of Tianjin University (Social Sciences)2 (2009): 153-157 [肖杰:《德的意象概念辨析与价》,《天津大学学(社会科学版)》,2009年第2期,第153-157].

[44] On “subjectivity” and “objectivity” in Pound’s poetics, some would discuss their dialectical relationship; for example, FU Jiangtao, “An Analysis of the Unity of Opposites Between Subjectivity and Objectivity in Ezra Pound’s Poetics,” in Journal of Sichuan Normal University (Social Sciences Edition) 5 (2010): 100-104 [付江涛:《主与客的悖——析埃·学中的一》,《四川范大学学(社会科学版)》,2010年第5期,第100-104]; some would observe them in the context of modernist poetics, for example: WU Xinyu, “From Ezra Pound’s Imagism to W. C. Williams’ Objectivism,” Foreign Literature Review1 (2009): 164-176 [武新玉:《恋父弑父:从德的意象派到威廉斯的客体派》,《外国文学评论》,2009年第1期,第164-176].

[45] Examples: SANG Cuilin, “Ezra Pound’s Mauberley: Contrapuntal Techniques and Chiasmatic Text,” inForeign Literature Review4 (2013): 86-101 [桑翠林:《德之<莫伯利>位技法与交感文本》,《外国文学评论》,2013年第4期,第86-101]; WANG Qing, “Mauberlwy’s World: ‘A Botched Civilization’: On the Criticism of Modernity in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley,” in Foreign Language and Literature6 (2013): 21-24 [:《莫伯利的世界:一个拙劣的文明”——<··莫伯利>代性批判》,《外国文》,2013年第6期,第21-24].

[46] WANG Guiming, “Ezra Pound’s Merits and Demerits to Chinese Culture,” in Foreign Literature3 (2003): 100 [明:《德之于中国文化功过论——<理解抑或解?——美国德与中国之关系的重新思考>的作者商榷》,《外国文学》,2003年第3期,第100].

[47] SUN Hong and LI Ying, “Writing a Textbook for Princes: Ezra Pound’s Abuse of History,” inForeign Literature Review2 (2011): 5-23 [宏、李英:《君主撰写教科:埃·对历史的曲用》,《外国文学评论》,2011年第2期,第5].

[48] ZHU Yige, “The Aesthetic Presentation of Economic Theme in Ezra Pound’s Cantos,” in Foreign Literatures3 (2011): 127-134 [朱伊革:《<>经济的美学呈》,《国外文学》,2011年第3期,第127-134].

[49] E. Fuller Torrey, The Roots of Treason: Ezra Pound and the Secret of St. Elizabeths, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1984, p. xix.

[50] Examples of doctoral dissertations: WANG Wen,Ezra Pound and Chinese Culture - From the Perspective of the Reception Aesthetics, Suzhou University, 2004 [王文:《德与中国文化——接受美学的域》,州大学,2004]XU Ping, Aesthetic Memory - A Close Reading of Cathay, Fudan University, 2006 [平:《品境——细读<神州集>》,复旦大学,2006]; YUAN Jing, A Study on Ezra Pound’s Translation of Shijing, Zhejiang University, 2012 [袁靖:《<诗经>本研究》,浙江大学,2012]; ZHANG Xi, On Ezra Pound’s Translations: A Skopostheoretic Perspective, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2012 [曦:《目的论视角的德翻研究》,上海交通大学,2012].

[51] Publication Information: Zhu Chaowei, A Study of Ezra Pound’s Thought on Translation, Shanghai: Translation Publishing House, 2005 [祝朝:《构建与反思——德翻研究》,上海:文出版社,2005]; WU Qiyao, Ezra Pound and the Chinese Culture, Shanghai: Foreign Language Education Press, 2006 [吴其:《德与中国文化——外国文学在中国文化代化中的作用》,上海:外教育出版社,2006]; TAO Naikan, Ezra Pound and Chinese Culture, Beijing: Capital Normal University Press, 2006 [陶乃侃:《德与中国文化》,北京:首都范大学出版社,2006]. Considering their original language and publishing area, the following two monographs are not mentioned in my review, their topics are relevant, though: SUO Jinmei, Confucianism in Pound’s Cantos, Tianjin: Nankai University Press, 2003 [索金梅:《<>中的儒学》(英文),天津:南开大学出版社,2003]; Wai-lim Yip, Ezra Pound and the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, Taipei: Taiwan University Press, 2008 [廉:《德与湘八景》,台北:台湾大学出版中心,2008]. For the same reason, the two monographs are skipped either: ZHANG Xi, On Ezra Pound’s Translations: A Skopostheoretic Perspective, English version, Shanghai: Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press, 2013 [曦:《目的与策略:德翻研究》(英文),上海:上海交通大学出版社,2013]; QIAN Zhaoming,Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams, Chinese version, XU Changsheng and WANG Fengyuan, trans., Zhejiang: Zhejiang University Press, 2016 [兆明:《方主代主德和威廉斯歌中的遗产》,徐生、王,杭州:浙江大学出版社,2016].

[52] Besides HU Ping’s 2014 doctoral dissertation at East China Normal University, another one is: GUO Yingjie, An Intertextual Interpretation of Ezra Pound’s The Cantos, Shanxi Normal University, 2016 [郭英杰:《<>的互文性阐释》,西范大学博士文,2016].

[53] ZHU Yige, Crossing Borders: A Study of Ezra Pound’s Poetic Creation, Shanghai: SDX Joint Publishing Company, 2014 [朱伊革:《跨越界限:作研究》,上海:三联书店,2014]. HU Ping,A Study on Ezra Pound’s Pisan Cantos, Shanghai: Shanghai University Press, 2017. [胡平:《<萨诗>研究》,上海:上海大学出版社,2017].

[54] See JIANG Hongxin, A Study of Ezra Poundp. 7.

[55] Ibid., pp. 4-5.

[56] Examples: LI Yongyi, “On Roman Affinities of Ezra Pound’s Poetics,” in Journal of Sichuan Normal University (Social Sciences Edition)5 (2010): 105-110 [李永毅:《论庞学的古罗马渊源》,《四川范大学学(社会科学版)》,2010年第5期,第105-110]; ZHU Yige, “On the Affinities of Ezra Pound’s Poetics and HisCantos with Japanese Noh,” in Foreign Literature Studies3 (2012): 129-138 [朱伊革:《论庞学及其<>的日本能渊源》,《外国文学研究》,2012年第3期,第129-138].