Certain Noble Plays of Japan - From the manuscripts of Ernest Fenollosa
34 Pages
English
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Certain Noble Plays of Japan - From the manuscripts of Ernest Fenollosa

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34 Pages
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Certain Noble Plays of Japan, by Ezra PoundCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Certain Noble Plays of JapanAuthor: Ezra PoundRelease Date: May, 2005 [EBook #8094] [This file was first posted on June 14, 2003]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, CERTAIN NOBLE PLAYS OF JAPAN ***Etext prepared by David Starner, Marlo Dianne, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading TeamCERTAIN NOBLE PLAYS OF JAPAN:FROM THE MANUSCRIPTS OF ERNEST FENOLLOSA,CHOSEN AND FINISHED BY EZRA POUND,WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATSINTRODUCTIONIIn the series of books I ...

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CERTAIN NOBLE PLAYS OF JAPAN: FROM THEMANUSCRIPTS OFERNEST FENOLLOSA, CHOSEN AND FINISHED BYEZRA POUND, WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
Etext prepared by David Starner, Marlo Dianne, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts** **eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971** *****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, CERTAIN NOBLE PLAYS OF JAPAN ***
INTRODUCTION
Title: Certain Noble Plays of Japan Author: Ezra Pound Release Date: May, 2005 [EBook #8094] [This file was first posted on June 14, 2003] Edition: 10 Language: English
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And yet this simplification is not mere economy. For nearly three centuries invention has been making the human voice and the movements of the body seem always less expressive. I have long been puzzled why passages, that are moving when read out or spoken during rehearsal, seem muffled or dulled during performance. I have simplified scenery, having 'The Hour Glass' for instance played now before green curtains, now among those admirable ivory-coloured screens invented by Gordon Craig. With every simplification the voice has recovered something of its importance and yet when verse has approached in temper to let us say 'Kubla Khan,' or 'The Ode to the West Wind,' the most typical modern verse, I have still felt as if the sound came to me from behind a veil. The stage- opening, the powerful light and shade, the number of feet between myself and the players have destroyed intimacy. I have found myself thinking of players who needed perhaps but to unroll a mat in some Eastern garden. Nor have I felt this only when I listened to speech, but even more when I have watched the movement of a player or heard singing in a play. I love all the arts that can still remind me of their origin among the common people, and my ears are only comfortable when the singer sings as if mere speech had taken fire, when he appears to have passed into song almost imperceptibly. I am bored and wretched, a limitation I greatly regret, when he seems no longer a human being but an invention of science. To explain him to myself I say that he has become a wind instrument and sings no longer like active men, sailor or camel driver, because he has had to compete with an orchestra, where the loudest instrument has always survived. The human voice can only become louder by becoming less articulate, by discovering some new musical sort of roar or scream. As poetry can do neither, the voice must be freed from this competition and find itself among little instruments, only heard at their best perhaps when we are close about them. It should be again possible for a few poets to write as all did once, not for the printed page but to be sung. But movement also has grown less expressive, more declamatory, less intimate. When I called the other day upon a friend I found myself among some dozen people who were watching a group of Spanish boys and girls, professional dancers, dancing some national dance in the midst of a drawing-room. Doubtless their training had been long, laborious and wearisome; but now one could not be deceived, their movement was full of joy. They were among friends, and it all seemed but the play of children; how powerful it seemed, how passionate, while an even more miraculous art, separated from us by the footlights, appeared in the comparison laborious and professional. It is well to be close enough to an artist to feel for him a personal liking, close enough perhaps to feel that our liking is returned. My play is made possible by a Japanese dancer whom I have seen dance in a studio and in a drawing-room and on a very small stage lit by an excellent stage-light. In the studio and in the drawing-room alone where the lighting was the light we are most accustomed to, did I see him as the tragic image that has stirred my imagination. There where no studied lighting, no stage-picture made an artificial world, he was able, as he rose from the floor, where he had been sitting crossed-legged or as he threw out an arm, to recede from us into some more powerful life. Because that separation was achieved by human means alone, he receded, but to inhabit as it were the deeps of the mind. One realised anew, at every separating strangeness, that the measure of all arts' greatness can be but in their intimacy.
III
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