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Manifestations of Arthur Waley: some bibliographical and other notes

Francis A. Johns


IF Ezra Pound's assertion that the great ages of literature are always allied with great ages of translation is true, then those interested in the work of what Cyril Connolly called 'the Modern Movement' would have ample justification, like Connolly in his book, for including in their collections Arthur Waley's translations together with the other works of outstanding originality that appeared between 1880 and 1950. Though Connolly chose as one of his hundred 'key books' A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems for bringing Chinese civilization into English poetry, he noted Waley's subsequent achievement in bringing Japanese civilization to Western readers with the monumental rendering of Genji Monogatari. If the dual accomplishment amply justifies the attention of the collector interested in recording the development of the taste of that time, this translator of genius also has another, if lesser, place in the record, as a poet in his own right. Edmund Blunden numbered him among the poets, for example, and W. B. Yeats included his work in The Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936), as did Philip Larkin in The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse (1973).

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