“Not study the Odes, won’t be able to use words”

1:06 PM Music: You’re probably wondering why I’m here – Zappa

Got up this morning with the intention of catching up on back issues of the New York Times. I put them in order from oldest to the most recent and started reading them.

Before too long I got distracted and played through some Bach preludes and fugues.

Then I corrected quizzes from last Thursday. Recorded them and started working on reading through 50 homework papers.

Then hooked up my healed computer.

I bought John King Fairbank‘s “China: A New
History” yesterday at a local used book store.
I go over there about once a month
because the turnover is pretty slow.
This is an extremely readable update for
Westerners about China. Apparently King
died a couple days after it was published
in 1991. I’m on chapter 3 right now and
enjoying it.

It also motivated me to look up my old
copy of the Confucian Odes. At one time
in my life, I was very interested in Ezra Pound and bought his rendition of the Odes.

Pound was a cranky old modernist and very
eccentric. His “translations” of the Odes
are very much a complete re-working
in Western forms (not to say complete
new poems) and say much more about
Pound than the Odes.

Nevertheless, I have read in them
and do have a bit of a memory of them. I’m sure I will have to do more reading if I really want to know about Confusious and the time of Imperial Confucianism (which I admit does interest me).

King makes it clear that the more the Western reader can shed some of his/her ideas the better one can get a bit closer to understanding the unique history of China.

I was sorry to find out King was dead because I am enjoying his whole approach quite a bit.

I’m trying to do a bit of reading so I will have some concept of China when I visit there in a couple of months.

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