D. Sources of Influence and Transmission

22. Sansom, George. Works 1910~63.

    A redefinition of European and American understanding of Japanese history and culture, George Sansom, ca. 1935.  

Sansom is important to this study more for his general importance in redefining Western understanding of Japanese history and culture than for specific cross-textual relations, yet tentative evidence may be cited that his work has at least indirect effects on several of the writers under study here. Pound and Yeats would have been aware of Sansom’s ‘Translations from Lyrical Drama: ‘Nô’ (Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan 38 [1910]: 133-76) while they were preparing their own versions and adaptations of the form, since the work is among those cited in Stopes’s ‘English Bibliography of the Nô’ (see D23), and a quarter of a century later Kitasono (BK176h), in response to Pound’s request for a ‘book on Japanese history translated from the original’, defers to Sansom’s Japan: A Short Cultural History (London: Cresset, 1931; 3rd ed. rev. 1962), a work that also was in Rexroth’s library, heavily annotated in Rexroth’s hand (see CB5). Empson confided in Sansom about his theory of the ambiguity of Buddhist iconography (see BF21b2,) and arguably adopted Sansom’s theories of the relation between Japan and China in his verse (see especially BF9d); Binyon’s sojourn to Japan was in large part arranged by Sansom, who accompanied Binyon on his travels while in the country (see BC36, 41, 43); and though the published record reveals no evidence of a personal relation between Blunden and Sansom, Sansom was resident in Tokyo during Blunden’s first two stays in the city, and Blunden’s reviews of Short Cultural History, The Western World and Japan (New York: Random House, 1949), and Japan in World History (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations: 1951) are acclamatory (see BD85, 91, 97, and 146). Sansom’s three-volume History of Japan (Cresset, 1958, 1961, 1963) confirmed his reputation and influence and insured that it would be carried into the second half of the century and beyond. See also Katharine Sansom, Sir George Sansom and Japan: A Memoir (Tallahassee, Fla.: Diplomatic Press, 1972), Gordon Daniels, ‘Sir George Sansom: Historian and Diplomat’, in Cortazzi and Daniels (CC8), and A24.














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