The earliest surviving Christian paintings are ideogrammic
pictures in the catacombs of Rome, dating to the 2nd century A.
A light moves on the south sky line, " function as a transition from the poetic description of Eight Views in the first part to the poet's imagination beyond the visual art through his unique ideogrammic
method, juxtaposing myths, history and folk songs into oneness in the second part.
The various national flags are listed in an ideogrammic
manner, there is no superfluous language, the tone is contemporary, and the subtext is politically subversive.
Among these, what intrigues Pound most are the ideogrammic
images, since he believes ideograms present things in visual imagery.
This work not only influenced Pound to develop his ideogrammic
method but also led him to the firm conviction that the West could not ignore Chinese history and culture because there was much to learn from it.
The image is the basic form of ideogrammic
composition; it is not simply a visual impression but a union of particulars transposed onto the conceptual plane" (xii).
Before moving on to Pound's key achievements in Cathay and Propertius, I suppose I'd better explain that the absence of the sanctified taxonomy of Poundian verse --symbolism, imagism, vorticism, logopoeia, melopoeia, Ideogrammic
Method, phanopoeia, et hoc genus omne--here is motivated by a conviction that these counters were always at best uselessly vague and volatile, at worst obfuscatory.
method as he deployed it meant that innumerable voices and scraps from all over enter the poem, and however severely Pound edited, even deformed, his sources, it was impossible to keep control over them.
Joyce's project fails to extract itself from the violence and totalitarianism of the language of mastery, while Pound's ideogrammic
method fails to revitalize sufficiently an English poetics that is informed, yet undisturbed, by the incursion of Chinese characters onto the page.
As Laszlo Gefin observes, Fenollosa's essay laid the basis of a new aesthetics, of what Pound called an ideogrammic
method: "the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated particulars capable of suggesting ideas and concepts through their relation" (27).
Peter Makin insists upon a necessary distinction between Confucian 'right naming' and Fenollosan 'ideogrammic
writing'--with the ascendancy of the former (from 1935 onwards) goes the diminution of the latter: 'The interest in right naming rises in step with Pound's need for dogmatic authority; and the interest in ideogrammic
writing falls likewise' (p.
He begins with a familiar but efficient historical overview of the Pound tradition that moves toward brief discussion of Creeley and Allen Ginsberg, whose examples illustrate the ongoing importance of Pound's ideas on craft generally; on the ideogrammic
method, condensation, sound, and form specifically; and on "poetry's social and political role" (41).