Organized Panel Session
In the early twentieth century, intellectuals in China, Japan, and Korea questioned what it meant to write poetry for the new era, an inquiry that led to the reformation of poetic writing in all three regions. Scholars have often discussed this process in relation to the growing influence of Western literature in East Asia, which resulted in an influx of translations of Western texts. In order to further explore translation’s role in the formation of modern poetry in China, Japan, and Korea, this panel seeks to uncover the multiple ways that translation functioned as a site of contention, enabling poets to experiment with literary conventions during this time of tumultuous change.
To begin, Scott Mehl investigates early examples of Japanese prose poetry as translations of translations, examining them in light of theories of translation by Gideon Toury and Itamar Even-Zohar. Meanwhile, Liansu Meng explores Guo Moruo’s poetic engagement with the conflicting ideals in European Romanticism and Japanese feminism by rereading his 1921 poetry collection The Goddesses in connection with his translation of Faust and his marriage to Satō Tomiko. Finally, David Krolikoski argues that the 1920s translations of hansi (classical Chinese-language poems) into vernacular Korean served to reinforce an emerging national aesthetic that had been earlier constructed through the translation of Western poems.