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Ezra Pound and Chinese Landscapes

Kent Su

The book explores the intersection of Modernism and China, shedding light on the relationship between Chinese culture, philosophy, and texts, and their influence on the American poet, Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Focusing on Pound’s seminal work, The Cantos, this book addresses a critical gap in the field by examining the philosophical and aesthetic significance of Chinese landscapes within the poem. Despite Pound’s central role in intercultural exchanges between East and West, the exploration of Chinese landscapes in The Cantos remains largely unexplored.

Drawing from Taoist and Confucian elements, this book delves into Pound’s depiction of Chinese landscapes and seeks to understand their profound impact. It uncovers how Pound’s interpretation of these landscapes, despite never having visited Asia, was shaped by his engagement with various primary sources, including paintings, translations of Chinese texts, and family heirlooms. By closely analyzing these materials, the book investigates the extent to which Pound’s evocation successfully captures the aesthetic sensibilities and philosophical traditions of ancient Chinese poets and painters.

With a multidisciplinary approach, the book not only contributes to the understanding of Pound’s work within the broader context of Modernism but also provides valuable insights into the rich interplay between Eastern and Western artistic traditions. Through meticulous research and analysis, it illuminates the nuanced connections between cultural influences, artistic expressions, and the poetic legacy of Pound, ultimately deepening our appreciation of the cross-cultural dialogue that shapes the literary landscape.

About the Author

Kent Su is an Assistant Professor at Shanghai International Studies University, where he engages students in the realms of modernist art and poetry, ecology, Chinese philosophical traditions, comparative literature, and transnational studies. His second project examines the influence of Pound's poetic legacy on the works of Kenneth Rexroth, J.H. Prynne, and Gary Snyder. Exploring their deep inspiration from Eastern philosophical traditions and the organic unity of Chinese landscapes, his research elucidates their ecopoetic sensibility and holistic worldview. These poets' profound connection to literary, philosophical, and political ecology reflects an emerging environmental consciousness.

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Published: September 2024


ISBN: 978-1-63804-111-5

ISBN: 978-1-63804-112-2




Ezra Pound Center for Literature