Mu Dan’s Encounter with Nature

Haomin GONG, Qiongqiong YE

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


This essay takes as its point of departure an analysis of “The Phantom of the Jungle” and investigates how the poet’s view of nature and the world was destabilized and remodeled by his encounter with the special kind of nature embodied in the primitive forests during the war. This investigation is followed by an exploration of Mu Dan’s writing about nature from the late 1930s to the 1940s, during which time there appeared a noticeable transformation in his treatment of nature from an element of ideological construction to an object of metaphysical meditation that paralleled his change of poetic style from being more romantic to more modernist. Finally, we examine the role nature played in the forming of Mu Dan’s most representative poetic thought, New Lyricism (Xin de shuqing, 新的抒情), in the early 1940s, which, with his experience of a different kind of nature and the influence of English modernist poetry, led him to a style of poetic expression of a different nature.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPrism: Theory and Modern Chinese Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 2024


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