BK. Ezra Pound

93. Reviews of ‘Noh’ or Accomplishment (24), 1917-18.


In addition to works noted, reviews that summarise the contents of the book or simply note its publication appeared in Athenaeum, February 1917, p. 100; New York Branch Library News 4 (1917): 135; and Monthly Bulletin of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 22 (1917): 747.

a. Asiatic Review 12, ser. 4 (1917): 71-80. Laments Pound’s editing of the manuscripts, for the material which is ‘unmistakably Fenollosa’s’ is clear, but Pound’s ‘interpolations and queries’ are just as clearly those of ‘one unacquainted with Japanese affairs’. This is first of several works concerned with enumeration of Pound’s ‘errors’, and is itself knowledgeable of the nô and of ‘Japanese affairs’. In general takes a dim view of Pound’s ‘poetical licenses’ and wishes that the work had been ‘all Fenollosa, however fragmentary’.

b. Fuller, Henry B. Dial 63 (1917): 209. Suggests a ‘complete negation of all literalism’ in the nô, and that Pound, though he may be ‘rugged, blunt, and downright’, provides at least ‘a strong sense of primary impact from a man who is duly, even vastly, concerned’.

c. ‘Japanese Mysteries’. TLS, 25 January 1917, p. 41. Finds that the ‘uninitiated foreigner is enabled by Mr Pound’s mastery of beautiful diction to appreciate the alternately wistful and proud appeal of these ghostly masterpieces’, and that ‘two points of cardinal interest are emphasized and driven home by this vivacious rendering of archaic compositions—their intense humanity and their indifference to realism’.

d. New York Times, 23 December 1917, p. 576. The ‘first feeling’ of the reviewer on reading the work ‘is that of gratitude to Ernest Fenollosa and Ezra Pound for bringing this remote but serious and beautiful art so close to us’.

e. Saturday Review (London) 123 (1917): 527. Suggests that ‘we in the West are not in a position . . . to arrive at a full appreciation of “No”’, but with the help of this work ‘we may gain some perception at least of the delicacy, the lofty idealism, and the noble hopefulness which are among [its] essential qualities’.

f. Spectator 118 (1917): 543-44. Finds that ‘Mr Pound’s translation is admirable in most respects’, but wishes that Pound ‘did not show a tendency to be influenced by the vocabulary of the Celtic drama’. For notes about Yeats’s role in this ‘vocabulary of the Celtic drama’, see especially 154 and 175.

g. Firkins, O. W. ‘Traditions and Modernites’. Nation (New York) 106 (1918): 506-7. Praise for Fenollosa’s ‘patient scholarship’ and Pound’s ‘plaintive rendering’. For Firkins, ‘the spell of these . . . dialogues subsists in the lyric modulations of their English’, for the plays are ‘like the rosy wreath which Celia returned to Ben Johnson. Who knows how much of its fragrance is assignable to the rose, and how much to the lips that have breathed upon it in its passage?’ Describes the plays in general terms, and finds Nishikigi (8) of particular interest for its ‘lyric and romantic ardor’.





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