Ernest Fenollosa Criticism - Essay

William Morton Payne (essay date 1894)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "East and West: The Discovery of America and Other Poems", by Ernest Fenollosa, in The Dial, Vol. XVI, No. 189, May 1, 1894, pp. 272-75.

[In the following essay, Payne determines that the poet characterizes the West as masculine and the East as feminine.]

Mr. Fenollosa's [East and West: The Discovery of America, and Other Poems.] consists of two long and very ambitious poems, and a number of minor pieces. The titular poem is a sort of versified Culturgeschiehte, philosophical and mystical, in spirit not unlike Mr. Block's "El Nuevo Mundo," which we reviewed a year or so ago. In this poem, says the author, "I have endeavored to condense my experiences of two hemispheres, and my study of their history." The poem is in five parts. The first considers the early meeting of East and West, brought about by the conquests of Alexander. Then follow "The Separated East" and "The Separated West," themes of which the author has conceived in the following terms: "Eastern culture, slowly elaborated, has held to ideals whose refinement seems markedly feminine. For it social institutions are the positive harmonies of a life of brotherhood. Western culture, on the contrary, has held to ideals whose strength seems markedly masculine. For it law is the compromise of Liberty with her own excesses, while conquest, science, and industry are but parallel channels for the overflow of hungry personality. But this one-sidedness has been partly compensated by the religious life of each. The violence of the West has been softened by the feminine faith of love, renunciation, obedience, salvation from without. It is the very impersonality of her great ecclesiastical institute which offers to man a refuge from self. On the other hand, the peaceful impotence of the East has been spurred by her martial faith of spiritual knighthood, self-reliance, salvation from within. The intense individuality of her esoteric discipline upholds the fertile tranquillity of her surface. This stupendous double antithesis seems to me the most significant fact in all history. The future union of the types may thus be symbolized as a twofold marriage." In "The Present Meeting of East and West," the author deals with "the first attempts to assimilate alien ideals," which "have led to the irony of a quadruple confusion, analogous to the disruption of Alexander's conquest." But there is to be another and more intimate union, brought about in some mysterious way by the art of music, and in a manner foreshadowed in some sort by the compositions of Herr Brahms. Here, we must confess, we are unable to follow the argument. And the poem ends with a...

(The entire section is 1096 words.)

F. W. Williams (essay date 1913)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art: An Outline History of East Asiatic Designs", by Ernest Fenollosa, in Yale Review, Vol. III, No. 1, October, 1913, pp. 197-201.

[In the following essay, Williams praises the author's scholarship, and agrees with his hypothesis that all art derived from two principle locations in the Mediterranean and the Western Pacific]

Twenty years ago the author of these sumptuous volumes, [Epochs of Chinese and Japanese Art: An Outline History of East Asiatic Design.], in a lecture before the Yale Art School, threw upon the screen a photograph of Kano Utanosuke's "Eagle on a Pine Branch." "There," he declared, "is one...

(The entire section is 2030 words.)

Henry B. Fuller (essay date 1917)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of "'Noh,' or Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan", by Ernest Fenollosa, in The Dial Vol. 63, September 13, 1917, pp. 209-10.

[In the following essay, Fuller gives a brief overview of the origins, intentions, and structure of Noh drama]

To-day's reciprocal obligations in regard to culture continue to multiply. This is one of the pleasure-pains of cosmopolitanism. Mr. Fenollosa's records of his conversations with the reviver of the classical drama of Japan ["Noh." or Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan.] tell how he gave the ancient man a brief account of the classic drama of Greece: "he already knew," adds...

(The entire section is 1058 words.)

Hwa Yol Jung (essay date 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Misreading the Ideogram: From Fenollosa to Derrida and McLuhan," in Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship, Vol. 13, No. 2, Fall, 1984, pp. 211-27.

[In the following essay, Jung examines the influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson on Fenollosa's aesthetics, and how Jacques Derrida and Marshall McLuhan arrived at the same conclusions as Fenollosa and Ezra Pound.]

The main title of this article was originally "Inventing Grammatology." Mr. Burton Hatlen, however, suggested another title: "Misreading the Ideogram." I decided to accept his suggestion partly because I remember the title of Harold Bloom's book A Map of Misreading...

(The entire section is 8082 words.)

Cordell D. K. Yee (essay date 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Discourse on Ideogrammic Method: Epistemology and Pound's 'Poetics'," in American Literature, Vol. 59, No. 2, May, 1987, pp. 242-56.

[In the following essay,. Yee explores the differences between Fenollosa's and Pound's approach to the Chinese ideogrammic method of poetics.]

Why is it that none of you study the Odes? For the Odes will help you to incite people's emotions, to observe their feelings, to keep company, to express your grievances. . . . Moreover, they will widen your acquaintance with the names of birds, beasts, plants and trees.—Confucius

For help in understanding Ezra Pound's...

(The entire section is 5690 words.)

Anne S. Chappie (essay date 1988)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Ezra Pound's 'Cathay': Compilation from the Fenollosa Notebooks," in Paideuma: A Journal Devoted to Ezra Pound Scholarship, Vol. 17, Nos. 2 & 3, Fall & Winter, 1988, pp. 9-46.

[In the following essay, Chappie relies on one of Ezra Pound's lesser-known essays on Chinese poetics to illuminate Pound's reliance on Fenollosa's notes to produce the poems published in Cathay.]

In 1918, three years after Cathay appeared, Pound published a little known, two-part essay on Chinese poetry, in which he observed:

In China a "compiler" is a very different person from a commentator. A compiler does not merely gather...

(The entire section is 13949 words.)