The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter Criticism

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American critic and poet T. S. Eliot has called Pound "the inventor of Chinese poetry" for the twentieth century. Nevertheless, he sees Cathay: Translations, containing the much anthologized poem " The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter," as more than intelligent literary archaeology of poems from eighth century China. It establishes Pound's particular literary genius "for expressing himself through historical masks" that would become the hallmark of his later major work, the Cantos. It is Eliot's critical assessment, furthermore, that the value of Pound's work in this collection is the clarity with which he presents his perception that "the present is no more than the present significance of the past." In fact, Eliot maintains that Pound's translations of ancient Chinese poetry are decidedly Modernist because they affirm the universality of human experience through time and across cultures.

Eliot grants that while Pound's style in these translations might not reflect that of...

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This section contains 516 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.