Pound's Translations of Confucius (4784 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Yi-Kuan Su (University College London)
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Canto XIII of Ezra Pound’s modernist epic begins with the lines “Kung walked / by the dynastic temple / and into the cedar grove.” “Kung” is the idiosyncratic French spelling of the name of the Chinese philosopher Confucius. The clarity and precision of the word “dynastic” links the poem not only to the past, but also to the perpetuating of traditions. Pound perceived himself as a devoted disciple of “Kung” and proclaimed that he had a mission to translate and transmit the moral philosophy of his master to the West: “The blossoms of the apricot / blow from the east to the west, /And I have tried to keep them from falling” (Canto XIII…

Citation: Su, Yi-Kuan. "Pound's Translations of Confucius". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 January 2018 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19500, accessed 21 June 2021.]

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