The West-Eastern Lyric Modernist Poetry between Asia and Europe (SOAS)

The West-Eastern Lyric Modernist Poetry between Asia and Europe
 17 November 2017 9:30 – 6.30, SOAS, 21/22 Russell Square, Room T101

Organised by MULOSIGE ERC project (SOAS) and the Centre for Modern European Literature (University of Kent)

All Welcome! Please Register via Eventbrite.

In Enlightenment Orientalism (2012), the late S. Aravamudan argued that the popularity in 18th-century Europe of the “Oriental tale”, a genre practiced by several celebrated early English and French novelists, calls for a revision of the standard view of the novel as an originally European product that was then disseminated throughout the world. In another essay (2014), Aravamudan noted that ‘narratives of influence from “East” to “West” are often subject to special pleading, contingency, and “accidental sagacity,” whereas influences from the “West” to the “East” involve formulations deriving from scientific necessity, historical causality, and colonial power’. Categories of genre, in other words, seem to have been conflated with categories of power.

This workshop will consider the implications of this insight for lyric poetry. Exploring the many lives of “Eastern Poetry” and the ways in which its circulation across several languages challenges any understanding of modernism along a “single Greenwich meridian of world literature” (Casanova), it will examine the way that poetic styles, themes, and strategies developed in a multi-way process of cultural transfer between Asia and Europe, across Europe and across Asia. Translations, pseudo-translations, re-translations and free versions of “Oriental” poems, often under the umbrella term of “Eastern poetry”, proved enduringly popular among a whole range of European readers and poets from the late-19th century to the early 20th century, from Pound to Rilke to Michaux. Translations by the likes of Edward Fitzgerald, Edwin Arnold, and E. Powys Mathers circulated and were re-translated by “Eastern” poets, who in turn gave these poems new lives. Lyric poetry, in short, became an intercontinental genre.

The programme is available at:

https://www.soas.ac.uk/cclps/events/17nov2017-the-west-eastern-lyric-modernist-poetry-between-asia-and-europe.html

Fatima Burney (Mulosige, SOAS)

Ben Hutchinson (University of Kent)

Francesca Orsini (SOAS)