Classic Chinese and Japanese Love Poetry (Study Guide)

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Study Guide for Classic Chinese and Japanese Love Poetry Classical Chinese and Japanese poetry relates human emotions and sensations to images of nature. These images are prescribed by tradition, and have stereotypical associations which the reader is expected to know. In addition, complex word and sound play is common, little of it translatable, and most poems allude to or quote outright from other classic poems which it is assumed every reader has memorized. The result is that an English rendering of such verse is always a very distant relative of the original. It is a tribute to the greatness of Chinese and Japanese verse that it has been so popular and influential in modern times. Note that this poetry, like most pre-modern poetry, does not have titles, and that the titles provided have been invented by the translators. The vast majority of early love poetry written by women laments absent lovers. What do you think this says about women`s status and role in society? All Chinese poems are from Kenneth Rexroth, trans. One Hundred Poems from the Chinese. New Directions, n. d. Mei Yao Ch`en: My neighbors on the right How do the last four lines relate to the rest of the poem? Mei Yao Ch`en: In broad daylight I dream Despite the fact that Chinese traditional culture is not famous for promoting affection between spouses, there are many classical poems in which husbands grieve for their dead wives, a fact which reminds us of the importance of not overgeneralizing about ...

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