Chapter

‘Kuanon of all Delights’

Rupert Richard Arrowsmith

in Modernism and the Museum

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199593699
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595684 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593699.003.0010

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘Kuanon of all Delights’

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This chapter begins by considering the renewal of contact between Pound and Laurence Binyon just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, showing that this was the main stimulus behind the writing of the Seven Lakes Canto. It next considers the widespread use of East Asian imagery in The Pisan Cantos, suggesting that Pound's obsessive recollection in them of his time in London —which he refers to as ‘a British Museum era’ —prompted the renewed use of motifs and commentaries on East Asian art viewed years before with Binyon in the Print Room. Finally, new evidence is presented showing that the primary origin of the mysterious hybrid goddess Kuanon, who appears throughout the later Cantos, was based on a seventh-century bodhisattva sculpture from Korea.

Keywords: Ezra Pound; Pisan Cantos; Japanese art; Chinese art; Korean art; Laurence Binyon; Kuanon; British Museum; Seven Lakes; Hiroshige

Chapter.  6532 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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