Theses Doctoral

The Poetry of Dialogue: Kanshi, Haiku and Media in Meiji Japan, 1870-1900

Tuck, Robert James

This dissertation examines the influence of `poetic sociality' during Japan's Meiji period (1867-1912). `Poetic sociality' denotes a range of practices within poetic composition that depend upon social interaction among individuals, most importantly the tendency to practice poetry as a group activity, pedagogical practices such as mutual critique and the master-disciple relationship, and the exchange among individual poets of textually linked forms of verse. Under the influence of modern European notions of literature, during the late Meiji period both prose fiction and the idea of literature as originating in the subjectivity of the individual assumed hegemonic status. Although often noted as a major characteristic of pre-modern poetry, poetic sociality continued to be enormously influential in the literary and social activities of 19th century Japanese intellectuals despite the rise of prose fiction during late Meiji, and was fundamental to the way in which poetry was written, discussed and circulated. One reason for this was the growth of a mass-circulation print media from early Meiji onward, which provided new venues for the publication of poetry and enabled the expression of poetic sociality across distance and outside of face-to-face gatherings. With poetic exchange increasingly taking place through newspapers and literary journals, poetic sociality acquired a new and openly political aspect. Poetic exchanges among journalists and readers served in many cases as vehicles for discussion of political topics such as governmental corruption, international relations and environmental disasters, an aspect of Meiji-era poetry that has received comparatively little attention.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Shirane, Haruo
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 15, 2014