‘Little Japanese Pictures’

Rupert Richard Arrowsmith

in Modernism and the Museum

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199593699
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595684 | DOI:

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘Little Japanese Pictures’

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This chapter reveals that Japanese visual art was far more important to the genesis of London's first Modernist poems than has ever previously been suspected. The contents of British Museum curator Laurence Binyon's lectures on East Asian art, which Ezra Pound is known to have attended in 1909, are made known for the first time, thanks to fresh archival discoveries. New evidence is also presented showing that Pound was a habitual attendee —often in Binyon's presence —at the Museum's members-only Print Room. This was home to Binyon's prize collection —a vast horde of Japanese colour prints that he wasted no time in introducing to Pound. Pound's Imagist poetry, along with the short verses of T. E. Hulme and F. S. Flint, are re-examined in the light of this previously unsuspected influence.

Keywords: Ezra Pound; Laurence Binyon; Chinese art; Japanese art; T. E. Hulme; Imagist poetry; British Museum; Modernism; Zhaoming Qian

Chapter.  9764 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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