What makes a Chinese poem “Chinese”? Some call modern Chinese poetry insufficiently Chinese, saying it is so influenced by foreign texts that it has lost the essence of Chinese culture as known in premodern poetry. Yet that argument overlooks how premodern regulated verse was itself created in imitation of foreign poetics. Looking at Bian Zhilin and Yang Lian in the twentieth century alongside medieval Chinese poets such as Wang Wei, Du Fu, and Li Shangyin,
The Organization of Distance applies the notions of foreignization and nativization to Chinese poetry to argue that the impression of poetic Chineseness has long been a product of translation, from forces both abroad and in the past.
This book offers a thorough and thought-provoking study on the impact of Japanese colonialism on Taiwan’s literary production from the 1920s to 1945. It redresses the previous nationalist and Japan-centric interpretations of works from Taiwan’s Japanese period, and eschews a colonizer/colonized dichotomy. Through a highly sensitive textual analysis and contextual reading, this chronologically structured book paints a multi-layered picture of colonial Taiwan’s literature, particularly its multi-styled articulations of identities and diverse visions of modernity. By engaging critically with current scholarship, Lin has written with great sentiment the most complete history of the colonial Taiwanese literary development in English.