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The Buddha in the MachineArt, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West$
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R. John Williams

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194470

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194470.001.0001

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Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, and the Chinese Written Character

(p.86) 4. Machine/Art
The Buddha in the Machine

R. John Williams

Yale University Press

This chapter argues that Ernest Fenollosa's anxieties over the aesthetic tragedy of machine culture and the role of Asia's technê as an antidote to that dilemma point directly to an important complication in the traditional story about how his theories were interpreted and disseminated by his literary executor, Ezra Pound. The typical account of Fenollosa/Pound operates under the commonsensical notion that since Pound edited, published, and continually championed Fenollosa's manuscripts, the two figures were more or less of the same mind regarding the operative dynamics of the Chinese ideograph. However, when we consider the role of the machine in—and as—art, striking discontinuities and tensions between Fenollosa and Pound begin to emerge.

Keywords:   Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound, Chinese character, ideograph, machine art, Orientalism, modernism, Buddhism, Imagism, Vorticism, Charles Olson

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