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The Poetics of the Ideogram

Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Hermeneutic Interpretation

Songping Jin

Ezra Pound’s poetics of the Ideogram are here examined as a consistent and congruous poetic system for the presentation of interrelated texts, and for hermeneutic use in poetry and literary criticism. Viewed through the classical Chinese traditions of poetics and exegesis, the term «ideogram» refers in this study to a structure of signification in literary texts having primary, literary meanings on the surface, and metaphorical transformations underneath. An ideogram may be a Chinese written character grafted into poetry as a visual design, a multi-level structure of a metaphor, or a juxtaposition of a series of texts. In poetry, ideograms serve as an initial basis for exegesis and plural interpretations. Grounded in both Western literary theory and Classical Chinese poetics, this book is a systematic and exhaustive analysis of Pound’s poetic methods derived from ideograms as they are demonstrated in the construction of poetry.
Contents: The Interpretative Fragments – Hermeneutic Ideograms: Rhetoric, Metaphor and Interpretation – Visions and Fusion: The poetic Methods of the Ideogram – Play of Intensification: Epiphonema, Oriental Masks and Noh – Tiresias’ Mind: Reading Ideograms in the Early Cantos – Observation of Scenes: Nature’s Epiphanies in the Later Cantos.