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How do I find a book? Can I borrow this item? Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Ask a librarian. Mountains that shelter the bay from all but the south wind, bare brown branches of low vines and of tall trees blurring their outline as though with a soft mist; houses mirrored in an almost motionless sea; a verandahed gable a couple of miles away bringing to mind some Chinese painting. The little town described in the Ode on a Grecian Urn.
Vision 3. Such orientalist vagueness which slips mistily from the vocabulary of painting to words recalling jewellery or porcelain makes sense, in context. Being open to the Mediterranean seems to mean being open to all kinds of cross-cultural artistic commerce: with Greece, for instance. A concern with music and China runs as counterpoint therefore to the other main context of this place, Rapallo: the art of Ezra Pound.
I shall not lack conversation. Ezra Pound, whose art is the opposite of mine, whose criticism commends what I most condemn, a man with whom I should quarrel more than with anyone else if we were not united by affection, has for years lived in rooms opening on to a flat roof by the sea. Pound had discovered Japan together with Yeats, through the papers of the sinologist Ernest Fenellosa Longenbach. Not only do these texts often partake of and rework the same material, they exhibit strong formal connections; not least when pre-empting replies, answering back, or recording conversations.
Some few of these periods occurred while in Rapallo; illness the main reason, in fact, the Yeats family headed for southern coasts. It seems almost in compensation for unaccustomed silence that after such falterings Yeats took up letter-writing with such gusto.
Yeats seemed to require such utterances as perpetual continuing dialogues. Exuberant attempts at protean selves, as a result they represent vital testing-grounds for modernism: given their vocal quality, perhaps better to say sounding-boards. They were expressions of life, because expressions of voice. Many years before he had adopted a practice for business letters of dictation to a secretary, startling his publisher A. Bullen with his frankness. As the same letter records, Pound was writing to Jean Cocteau for his version of Antigone produced in Paris with Tiresias played by Anton Artaud, set design and masks by Picasso, and music by Arthur Honegger which Yeats hoped to get for the Abbey as sequel to his recent translations of Sophocles.
It was not just Pound who could make it new. In Rapallo, as in his book, Yeats was placing himself in the company of European modernists, having inserted himself into a radical avant-garde network, while retaining a just-plausible deniability about their politics. A Packet is more circumspect and more engaging: his attitude emerges in other contemporary letters, as to Augusta Gregory April 1 :. Have you read Wyndham Lewis? My essay takes up the controversy and explains Ezra Pound sufficiently to keep him as a friendly neighbour.
Safely back in Rapallo after a summer absence, he wrote to Lewis 5 November :. I'm dictating this to my wife as my eyes are for the moment out of sorts. I wish very much I could have gone to tea with you and seen your work but my last days in London […] were as full as I dared make them considering my still rather damaged state. In a section removed from A Vision , he attempts to come to terms with the modern age:. I was wrong about Ulysses when I had read but some first fragments, and I do not want to be wrong again. Perhaps when the sudden Italian spring has come I may have discovered what will seem all the more, because the opposite of all I have attempted, unique and unforgettable.
In a literal sense this was true.
From Coole he wrote to his wife:. Many thanks for the Balzac, it comes in the nick of time for I have begun my essay on Ezra. To day I find however that the envelope with Cavalcanti written on it contains only the Italian. Balzac, however, represented familiar territory. As before the tactic often employed is intertextuality.
In Rapallo, however, in prose that comes close to poetry, Nietzsche had composed a visionary text, Thus Spake Zarathustra , propounding a new philosophy in almost religious language.
Nietzsche had composed his text walking the mountain paths of Rapallo; Pound visited the musician Olga Rudge on the same paths. This silent tribute is also an act of repression, showing his emulation and adopting of new forms and casts of thought, but also a determination to make them his own. But one thing might be noted: all was manifested in dialogue.
Indeed the very difficulty of this communication remained a theme. While the text is divided principally into three, originally an extra part was included.
The Cantos Project - Drafts and Fragments
Precise dates written beneath attach the poems to the texture of the rest; their probing questions and answers ensure poems are part of the continuing dialogue. In his opposite Yeats recognises his own image, and his partial portrait of Pound becomes an unexpected self-portrait. Nonetheless his attempts to unify these voices into a protean discourse belonging to one man, something T. Important then to pluck creative work from what appeared a necessary antagonism. Not necessarily just for Yeats, but for Pound too, as a letter written as the book was finished demonstrates 21 January :.
Now that the philosophy is finished I am writing prose drafts for poems […] the start after a long interval — is always difficult. We disagree about everything but if we have not met for 24 hours he calls full of gloomy and almost dumb aggression. A Packet , though, proceeds more by strategic uncertainty than direct contradiction. It thus opened space for new work.
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Likewise the book will not be boxed into one genre, will not properly introduce a book which is not there, will not be tied to univocal conclusions. Its appearance in represents a prod, a provocation, a revaluation. When finally published as part of A Vision , its status as paratextual paraphernalia magnifies its occult strangeness if not its dialogic texture, while muting to most readers its aesthetic purpose.
Even then its meaning cannot be circumscribed. No final answer is provided. Adams, Steve L.
Ezra Pound's Chinese Friends : Stories in Letters
Frieling, Sandra L. Sprayberry et al, editors. Macmillan, Armstrong, Charles. Reframing Yeats: Genre, Allusion, and History. Bloomsbury, Auden, W. Kroll, Paul W. Accessed 1 August You may require to add the 'aiac. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.
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