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The Modernist Response to Chinese Art: Pound, Moore, Stevens
by Zhaoming Qian
University of Virginia Press, 2003
Paper: 978-0-8139-2176-1 | Cloth: 978-0-8139-2175-4
Library of Congress Classification PS310.A76Q53 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.5209357

"[A] richly illustrated and convincingly argued book.... Qian has opened wide the gates of understanding and appreciation to a subject few had the linguistic and cultural background to explain. Highly recommended."


What role did Chinese art play in the poetic development of Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and Wallace Stevens? How could they share Chinese artists' Dao, an aesthetic held to be beyond verbal representation? In this sequel to his critically acclaimed study Orientalism and Modernism, Zhaoming Qian investigates the ways in which these three modernist poets received Chinese artistic notions and assimilated them into their literary masterpieces. With forty rare and previously unpublished photographs presented with accompanying analysis, this study reconstructs the three poets' dialogue with the Chinese masters.

In addition to examining Canto 49, "Nine Nectarines," and "Six Significant Landscapes," by Pound, Moore, and Stevens, respectively, Qian provides indispensable historical and cultural material never before recorded in a single work. The Modernist Response to Chinese Art pays long-overdue attention to the role of several early collections of Chinese art in England and America; it clarifies some common misconceptions about Confucianism and Daoism; it identifies in the modernist poets both linkage to and revolt against their predecessors'--and peers'--hegemonic Orientalism; and it intensifies awareness of modernist Orientalism not as a monolithic and constant conception but as a slippery and shifting process.


Zhaoming Qian, Professor of English at the University of New Orleans, is the author of Orientalism and Modernism: The Legacy of China in Pound and Williams and the editor of Ezra Pound and China.