Chinese whispers : toward a transpacific poetics

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Abstract

Chinese Whispers examines multiple contact zones between the Anglophone and Sinophone worlds, investigating how poetry both enables and complicates the transpacific production of meaning.

In this new book, the noted critic and best-selling author Yunte Huang explores the dynamics of poetry and poetics in the age of globalization, particularly questions of translatability, universality, and risk in the transpacific context. “Chinese whispers” refers to an American children’s game dating to the years of the Cold War, a period in which everything Chinese, or even Chinese sounding, was suspect. Taking up various manifestations of the phrase in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Huang investigates how poetry, always to a significant degree untranslatable, complicates the transpacific production of meanings and values.

The book opens with the efforts of I. A. Richards, arguably the founder of Anglo-American academic literary criticism, to promote Basic English in China in the early twentieth century. It culminates by resituating Ernest Fenollosa’s famous essay “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry,” exploring the ways in which Chinese has historically enriched but also entrapped the Western conception of language.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press
Number of pages184
ISBN (Electronic)9780226822662
ISBN (Print)9780226822655, 9780226822648
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameThinking Literature
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press

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