Orientalism, Modernism, and the American Poem

SOAS University of London
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This language of nature is here shown to be a mythic conception continuous with the Renaissance idea of the language of Adam - a language lacking any difference between what it is and what it means. Through analysing and contextualising the nineteenth-century works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ernest Fenollosa and the twentieth-century creations of Ezra Pound and Gary Snyder, Kern sheds light on the three contemporary nexuses of his search: the cultural study of Orientalism and the West, the evolution of Indo-European linguistic theory, and the intellectual tradition of American modernist poetry.

Representing Chinese in NineteenthCentury Linguistics. Fenollosa and the Chinese Character.

Pound Emerson and the Poetics of Creative Reading. A vision of a Weltliteratur informs all three previously published volumes of Poems for the Millennium ; but this vision begins with Romanticism near the end of the 18th century, which therefore could be said to prepare the path naturally for the fourth volume that like lightening leaps out to a totally different centrism, a recognition that, parenthetically, jolted me completely out of my jealousy.

1. Introduction

By way of introducing this volume and the rest of the evening, I will characterize for just a few minutes this path that links particularly Volumes Three and Four as an expression of a subversive orientalism. This turn toward origins fed the Romantic drive for the recovery of basic human energies, the sources of life made inaccessible through centuries of kings along with the growth of modern bourgeois society.

Drawing on Indian religion, Friedrich Schlegel sketched a visionary Romantic poetics.

Orientalism, modernism, and the American poem

Unlike many other modernists, but like the English Romantics , by whom he was influenced , Stevens thought that poetry was what all humans did; the poet was merely self-conscious about the activity. The Energies of Words. Yet the modernist archive also gives evidence of a very different relationship between European modernism and East Asia. Polite Essays, Faber, , New Directions, Book Description Cambridge Univ Pr, Imagists poets used sharp language and embrace imagery. Profiles anthology , [Milan],

Therein lies the great earthly threat. All four volumes act to lift a repression.