D. Sources of Influence and Transmission

14. Brinkley, Frank. Japan: Its History, Arts, and Literature. 8 vols. Boston: Millet, 1901~02.

  Brinkley’s work known to Pound and Yeats was the 8-volume Millet edition of 1901-02, which was based on and drew liberally from Brinkley’s earlier 10-volume Japan, Described and Illustrated by the Japanese, ‘with an essay on Japanese art by Kakuzo Okakura’ (Tokyo and Boston: Millet: 1897-98), from which the images above are taken. Top left: vol. 1 of the ‘Yedo’ edition of 1,000 numbered copies; top right and bottom: cover and illustrations from vol. 1 of the ‘De Luxe’ edition of 750 copies. Details of and many illustrations from both editions may be found at George C. Baxley’s web site, clearly a labour of love, here ( ).  

The first detailed English-language survey of Japanese history and culture was in the first quarter of the century the definitive source in a European language. Volume 3 is of particular interest here, for its account of the nô and kyôgen, which in language taken over both by Pound and Yeats emphasises the ‘solemn and stately’ nature of the former, and provides a translation for the word ‘nô’ not included in Fenollosa but nonetheless made famous by Pound in his versions of Fenollosa’s work: ‘accomplishment’ (see BK24). Pound acknowledges Brinkley’s work with the nô in ‘The Classical Drama of Japan’ (BK13a) and Brinkley’s account of ‘listening to incense’ in two other works (BK17b and 77g, and see also 45a and 119). Longenbach (BK183) believes that Brinkley’s account of the nô ‘helped to shape Pound’s translation[s]’. Pound read the work while he was with Yeats at Stone Cottage, Nadel (BK198) suggests in December 1913. Brinkley’s work also is an acknowledged source of information about Japan for Binyon (see BC2, 14) and Blunden (BD20, 21). See also A24, 53, CC6.







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