Since it has been introduced to the list I thought I would make a few
comments on McLuhan's use of "Ideogram"
I am proceeding from only his 1948 letter to Pound.
There are two "Ideograms" in Pound studies. The Chinese Ideogram and the
Ideogramic technique. Study of the Chinese Ideogram gave rise to Pound's
concept of the Ideogramic technique. Effective use of the Ideogramic
technique can result in a literary Ideogram. A literary Ideogram and the
Chinese Ideogram are not the same but are related.
The literary ideogram results from the use of multiple Images (big I) in a
literary passage. The literary ideogram is the Image (big I) on steroids.
The Image (big I) is not necessarily a depiction of anything. It is
"charged language". If I write the word "porn" then I have written the
Image (big I). Everyone that reads the word has an immediate nonverbal
response. The Image is what triggers an emotional complex within a person
with a resultant non-verbal "understanding" as the result. I repeat the
Image (big I) is not a depiction it is a process. "An Image is *that* which
presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time"
(Pound, "A Retrospect") (emphasis mine)
McLuhan's understanding is of analogy and metaphor. This was precisely what
the Image (big I) was not and therefore precisely what the Ideogram was not.
Pound was in search of a "language beyond metaphor". He was not in search
of better means of using metaphor.
For a discussion of the Ideogramic technique see:
Gefin, Laszlo K. *Ideogram, History of a Poetic Method, Austin: Univ of
Texas P, 1982
For the kernel of Pound's interest in the Ideogram see:
"The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry" by Ernest Fenollosa,
edited by Ezra Pound and published by City Light Books I believe in 1964.
It was originally edited by Pound in 1920.;