The name of a significant book of translated Chinese poetry by American modernist poet Ezra Pound, published in London, circa 1915. It's full title was Cathay: For the Most Part from the Chinese of Rihaku, from the notes of the late Ernest Fenollosa, and the Decipherings of the Professors Mori and Ariga.

("Rihaku" is the Japanese name for the 8th-century Chinese poet Li Po (or Li Bai). Ernest Fenollosa was a friend of Pound, and a well-respected professor of Eastern Philosophy. Fenollosa was working on the study right up to his death in 1908. Mori and Ariga were Japanese professors who provided much of the original transliteration.)

The translations in Cathay are so minimalist and loose that they could be considered wholly separate poems from the original works. Still, they remain among the most-cited English translations of the ancient Chinese poets.

Ca*thay" (?), n.

China; -- an old name for the Celestial Empire, said have been introduced by Marco Polo and to be a corruption of the Tartar name for North China (Khitai, the country of the Khitans.)

Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay. Tennyson.


© Webster 1913.

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