cover of book

The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetry
by Cecile Chu-chin Sun
University of Chicago Press, 2010
eISBN: 978-0-226-78022-1 | Cloth: 978-0-226-78020-7
Library of Congress Classification PR508.R5S86 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 821.0409


For more than half a century, Chinese-Western comparative literature has been recognized as a formal academic discipline, but critics and scholars in the field have done little to develop a viable, common basis for comparison between these disparate literatures. In this pioneering book, Cecile Chu-chin Sun establishes repetition as the ideal perspective from which to compare the poetry and poetics from these two traditions.

Sun contends that repetition is at the heart of all that defines the lyric as a unique art form and, by closely examining its use in Chinese and Western poetry, she demonstrates howone can identify important points of convergence and divergence. Through a representative sampling of poems from both traditions, she illustrates how the irreducible generic nature of the lyric transcends linguistic and cultural barriers but also reveals the fundamental distinctions between the traditions. Most crucially, she dissects the two radically different conceptualizations of reality—mimesis and xing—that serve as underlying principles for the poetic practices of each tradition.

Skillfully integrating theory and practice, The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetryprovides a much-needed model for future study of Chinese and English poetry as well as lucid, succinct interpretations of individual poems.

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