Making It Old, Making It New, Making It Chinese : Transcultural Imitation and the Palimpsest of Translation in Pound's Cathay

Lynn Qingyang LIN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

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Abstract

Drawing on the abundant archival materials and insights afforded by Timothy Billings’ 2019 edition of Pound's Cathay, this article examines Pound's methods of reworking the intermediary notebooks of Fenollosa and reconstructs the multiple processes of mediation in the making of the collection. It proposes a more capacious and versatile framework than is usual for exploring the complexities of transcultural rewriting, and advances a more nuanced treatment of commonly employed categories in Translation Studies such as ‘domesticating’ and ‘foreignizing’. Two analytical concepts are developed: transcultural imitation, which describes the sources and techniques with which Pound signals a certain form of ‘Chineseness’ and mediates the experience of the foreign; and second the palimpsest of translation, which delineates the multilayered richness and prismatic pluralities of Cathay by unpacking the diverse sets of intertexts out of which it is woven. Pound, it is argued, reconstitutes ideas of China's foreignness, endowing Chinese poetry with new transcultural significance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-328
Number of pages29
JournalTranslation and Literature
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Thanks are due to Professors Leo Tak-hung Chan, Sun Yifeng, Rachel Lung, and Robert Neather for laying the foundations; to the journal’s readers for their insight and erudition; and to the journal’s editor for guidance towards further improvement. 1 Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era (Berkeley, CA, 1971), p. 199.

Publisher Copyright:
© Edinburgh University Press.

Keywords

  • Cathay
  • Ernest Fenollosa
  • Ezra Pound

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