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American Modernism's Expatriate SceneThe Labour of Translation$
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Daniel Katz

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625260

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625260.001.0001

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Pound and Translation: Ideogram and the Vulgar Tongue

Pound and Translation: Ideogram and the Vulgar Tongue

(p.71) Chapter 4 Pound and Translation: Ideogram and the Vulgar Tongue
American Modernism's Expatriate Scene

Daniel Katz

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the second implication of Ezra Pound's designation of Henry James as translator: that Pound's own ‘translations’ fully imply the sort of cross-cultural investigations and displacements associated with James. It shows how Pound's translations from the Chinese and Italian are a form of negotiation with the norms of literary London and Victorian Britain. Phanopoeia seems in many ways the least useful of Pound's categories. Chinese writing would evade even the primal ‘translation’ of visual referent into arbitrary phonic signifier. Pound's insistence on maintaining a literal fidelity to Guido's precision precisely by violating the precepts of Dante Gabriel Rossetti implies a very different mapping of debt than that which obtains in the rather joyful and provocative liberties Pound takes with his Propertius. The relationship between translation, haunting and death, whose importance for Pound has been effectively stressed, will return as foundational for Jack Spicer in the 1950s.

Keywords:   Ezra Pound, Henry James, translations, phanopoeia, literal fidelity, haunting, death

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