Usurious Translation: From Chinese Character to Western Ideology in Pound’s Confucian “Terminology” View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:Chapter     


Chapter Info

DATE

2012

AUTHORS

Stuart Christie

ABSTRACT

Here I revisit the conventional argument that Ezra Pound unwittingly mistranslates Chinese characters extracted from Confucius’s The Analects and The Great Digest so as to make a specific modernist critique of banking as usury. I hope a second visit pays dividends, insofar as Pound’s mistranslations are themselves illustrative instances of a usurious translation practice. He rejects usury as an ideology, only to apply it aggressively as a semiotic practice. Remarkably, in his translations of Confucius Pound unwittingly borrows from among the six preferred modes of Chinese character construction, as promulgated by Xu Shen (許慎) and Dai Tong (戴侗), dating from ancient times. And, under the more recent influence of Fenollosa, Pound accordingly mistranslates Chinese characters by overweighting the textual construction of specific character elements he can only read iconically and by creating a basic syntax (or word order) out of their poetic rearrangement. Such a radical liberation of Chinese signs from their everyday phonetic context not only produces an inaccurate translation but also creates a literary text—a poem—that subordinates properties of the Chinese language to the ideological properties Pound would make transitive. More... »

PAGES

77-93

Book

TITLE

American Modernist Poetry and the Chinese Encounter

ISBN

978-1-349-35172-5
978-0-230-39172-7

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1057/9780230391727_4

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230391727_4

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1005579450


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