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Title: Keats, Higginson, and Snakes: Yang Mu’s Transcultural ";Courtship
Authors: 許立欣
Hsu, Li-hsin
Contributors: 英文系
Date: 2020-10
Issue Date: 2021-05-19 14:08:26 (UTC+8)
Abstract: The paper investigates the literary connections between nineteenth-century American poet Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) and Yang Mu (1940–2020), an award-winning Taiwanese poet. As a fellow admirer of the Romantic poet John Keats like Dickinson, Yang Mu showed great enthusiasm for Dickinson, expressing his passion for her in a post-modernist poem “September 27th’s Emily Dickinson” in the early 1970s. Dickinson also sought literary guidance at the inception of her poetic career, writing to the then editor of The Atlantic Monthly Thomas W. Higginson, after reading his “Letter to a Young Contributor” in April 1862. Their works inform a shared investment between the two writers in their Keatsian aesthetics, concerns about poetic fame, and experimentation with poetic forms during times of surging national cultural sentiments. Recent scholarships by critics like Cristanne Miller, Roland Hagenbüchle, Páraic Finnerty, Paul Giles and Domhnall Mitchell, among many others, have placed Dickinson’s poetry squarely in a global context. In a similar vein, critics like Lawrence R. Smith, Michelle Yeh, Stephen Owen, Anthony C. Yu, and Lisa Lai-ming Wong also perceive Yang Mu as a world poet who practices biculturalism by blending eastern and western cultures. Building upon previous scholarships, the paper examines how Yang Mu plays a role of not only an admirer and a fellow poet, but also a surrogate mentor in “September 27th’s Emily Dickinson”, replacing Higginson’s editorial advice for and “surgical” treatment of Dickinson. Reversely, Dickinson’s poem “There’s a certain Slant of light” (1862) illuminates how Yang Mu’s translation of this poem of Dickinson in The Completion of a Poem (1989) and his later four poems “Rays of the Searching sun” (1996) transplant Dickinson’s late-Romantic, proto-modernist poetic quest onto his own post-Romantic, postmodern poetics. This East–West literary resonance demonstrated in these poems reveals the “cosmopolitan” potentiality embraced by both poets, shedding light on the significance of placing the transmission, circulation and evolution of poetic dialogues in a transcultural context.
Relation: Fudan Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Vol.13, No.4, pp.591 - 614
Data Type: article
DOI 連結:
Appears in Collections:[英國語文學系] 期刊論文

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