‘China is interesting, VERY’ (Ezra Pound, 1914)

Anne Witchard

in Lao She in London

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9789888139606
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9789882208643 | DOI:
‘China is interesting, VERY’ (Ezra Pound, 1914)

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The events that would shape Lao She's emergence as one of China's most important new novelists happened in London, some 15 years before he arrived there, ‘on or around 1910’, the date to which Virginia Woolf would famously attribute the birth of modernism. This chapter outlines a trajectory of the ways in which the cultural landscape of the capital, until this point ‘extraordinarily provincial and chauvinistic’, was broadened by modernist interaction with China, taking Ezra Pound as the lynchpin of a global aesthetic exchange that, in its turn, would determine Hu Shi's prescriptions for Chinese writing after May Fourth. While China's own literary revolution would result from specific experiences of modernity that were indissoluble from the exigencies of colonialism, it was imperial expansion that gave rise to formations of artistic modernism in the West, prompted by the concentration of wealth and power in imperial capitals and a simultaneous access to subordinate ‘other’ cultures.

Keywords: Ezra Pound; Laurence Binyon; Arthur Waley; Allen Upward; Harriet Monroe; Cathay (1915); BLAST; Vorticism; Imagism; Far-san T. Sung (Song Faxiang)

Chapter.  6166 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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