Benedict’s “Conversatio Morum”, Ezra Pound’s “Make it new” & Confucius’s “日日新”

Posted by on Aug 17, 2010 in Otherhood | No Comments

I discussed the panoply of translations of Benedict’s vow Conversatio Morum. I wonder if the intent of Coversatio Morum, is similar to the Confucian 茍日新,日日新,又日新. “If you renew yourself for one day, you can renew yourself daily, and continue to do so.” [1. “The Great Learning 大學”, Translated by A. Charles Muller]

Ezra Pound fixated on 日日新 [2. Confucius: the Great digest, the Unwobbling pivot, and the Analects By Ezra Pound, Confucius (p.36)], which he turned into his famous mantra for modernism: “make it new!”

“Pound received the notion that ideas need to be constantly renewed from ‘Da xue’ [Confucius’s ‘Great Learning’]. He first translated this notion as ‘renovate’ (TH, 12), then as ‘As the sun makes it new / Day by day make it new /Yet again make it new’ (Con, 36). Besides entitling his 1934 collection of essays Make It New, Pound frequently utilized this notion in his prose, such as Jefferson and/or Mussolini (112-13) and Guide to Kulchur (278), as well as The Cantos (LII/265, XCII/649, XCIV/662).” [3. Notes to “Ezra Pound and Confucianism: remaking humanism in the face of modernity By Feng Lan”]

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