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This volume brings together essays from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea to offer an unprecedented view of English Romanticism’s presence in the modern literature and literary criticism of East Asia. Going beyond simply tracing the influence of English Romantic writing on East Asian writers and critics, each essay reveals an intrinsic and often surprising interconnectedness in the Romantic aesthetics and mode of thought across the borders of East and West. This collection’s reflection on English Romanticism through the historical particularities of East Asian nations at the onset of modernity sheds light on Romanticism as a still valid form of cultural critique against the shared yet divergent forms, experiences, and questions of modernity.


Suh-Reen Han
Seoul National University

Three Vignettes: English Romanticism and Asian Modernity

1.        East Asian countries, traditionally belonging to a common “Chinese character cultural sphere,” have shared the same written sign to refer to the “Romantic”: 浪漫. The origin of this word is the French roman, which the Japanese began to transcribe phonetically with these very Chinese characters in the late nineteenth century. Inscribed within the word itself is the history of East Asia’s import of Romanticism from European cultures. To break ground on what may be a bewilderingly large project, I begin this introduction to English Romanticism in East Asia with three figurative junctures in the literary histories of China, Japan, and Korea. These synecdochic sketches, each showing an archetypal Romantic figure taking root in a new host and mutating into an uncanny form of revolution, melancholy, or rebellion, evoke some of the main historical and aesthetic issues that entailed the presence of Romanticism in the modern imagination of East Asia.


2.        Lu Xun [1]  (1881–1936), one of the most influential writers of twentieth-century China, is well known for writing novels that embody the trials of a nation undergoing radical transformation. Not many know that he was also one of the most important translators of modern China, committed to translating Marxist literary theories to define himself as a leftist intellectual in the midst of vigorous debates on revolutionary literature. In his essay “‘Hard Translation’ and the ‘Class Character of Literature’” (1930), Lu Xun cuts a unique figure for the translator:

To chew and anatomize the enemy now seems inevitable, but if we have a book of anatomy and a book of cuisine to guide our practice, then the structure [for anatomy] and the taste [for chewing] can be clearer and better. People like to compare Prometheus, the legendary figure in the Greek mythology, to revolutionaries, believing that the magnanimity and forbearance, which Prometheus showed when he was punished by Zeus but remained unrepentant for stealing fire for man, are the same [as that of a revolutionary]. But I stole fire from foreign countries only with the intention of cooking my own flesh, in the hope that if I find the taste agreeable, it would benefit more to those who chew [my flesh], and the consumption of my body would not prove in vain. [2] 
Casting the translator into a Promethean figure, Lu Xun not only redefines the role of the Chinese translator in modern China but also reshapes the Promethean figure by dislocating it from the Western context. The Promethean translator steals fire from foreign countries not merely to pass it on to Chinese readers; he uses the fire to cook his own flesh, making it more palatable to both himself and the readers. As Wang Pu astutely notes, “[c]ooking one’s own body with the foreign fire and tasting one’s own cooked flesh is evidently an allegorical scenario of meticulous self-criticism and self-dissemination” (333). Lu Xun’s self-annihilating translator emerges from a rigorous criticism of the revolutionary possibilities of simply transplanting foreign ideas to the Chinese consciousness. The corporeality of the cannibalistic allegory overrides and distorts the enlightened idealism of the rebellious Prometheus, echoing Mary Shelley’s perversion of Percy Shelley’s revolutionary idealism through the monstrous creation of her modern Prometheus. However, the self-sacrifice and martyrdom of Lu Xun’s translator go beyond Romantic self-criticism or self-ironization in the vein of Mary Shelley or even Byron. The near Eucharistic practice of the translator suggests the possibility of benevolence and common good after a painful trial of self-sacrifice.

3.        Lu Xun’s Promethean translator embodies the predicament of a nation for which opening up to the modern culture of the West meant doing away with a four-thousand-year-old tradition. At the turn of the century, China could no longer ignore pressures both internal and external to modernize, compelled to remake itself into a modern nation while defending itself against foreign aggression. The Chinese Revolution of 1911, also known as the Xinhai Revolution, allowed the Chinese people to overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and establish the Republic of China. The Japanese writer Natsume Soseki likened this event to the French Revolution, feeling the terror of witnessing the revolutionary spirit quickly translating to violent upheaval and radical break with the past—a lesson in historical feeling that the British knew well, as noted by Soseki (Hiyama 44). That Lu Xun’s Prometheus steals a “foreign” fire, however, marks a crucial difference between Eastern and Western histories of modernization: modernity for the East was a condition shaped by essentially extraneous and often dissonant forces while modernity for the West was comparatively a condition of internal necessity and voluntary progress. With rapid import of Western ideas and technologies, ever intensified by such cultural reform movements as the May Fourth and New Culture Movements, tradition had become an excessive vestige that needed to be either removed from or incorporated into the process of modernization. Lu Xun’s vehement condemnation of those foreigners who opposed China’s Westernization in order to protect the exotic culture of the natives was already a sign that the natives could no longer view their tradition divorced from the larger historical milieu. The radical self-renovation of the Promethean translator, who “cooks” his own consciousness with foreign thought in order to transform Chinese culture into a much more consumable form, is in line with Lu Xun’s belief that the right way to China’s modernity lies in actively reorganizing and renewing tradition itself. Burning one’s flesh and offering it up for people’s nourishment are the price to pay for China’s modernization.


4.        Natsume Soseki (1867–1916) is a writer without whom the discussion of modern Japanese literature would be severely circumscribed. Well-versed in Japanese, Chinese, and English literatures, Soseki [3]  was acutely attentive to the state of Japanese literature in the context of international literary milieu. One of his earlier novels, Kusamakura (literally meaning “grass pillow”), is exemplary of the novelist’s modern consciousness. The novel, published in 1906, is a Künstlerroman composed of the inner reflections and thought experiments of a young artist who goes on a walking trip through the mountains and stays at a remote hot spring inn where he meets a woman named Nami. The opening scene of the novel presents the artist contemplating on the perfect artistic vision through which life becomes art: “You have only to conjure up the world before you, and there you will find a living poem, a fount of song. No need to commit your thoughts to paper—the heart will already sing with a sweet inner euphony. No need to stand before your easel and limn with brush and paint—the world’s vast array of forms and colors already sparkles within the inner eye” (4). However, this transcendental vision of unity is broken when the artist slips on a loose piece of rock and ends up on his bottom. The artist’s rude awakening to the physicality of the solitary walk and the ensuing reveries bring to light the difficulty of life and art, which also colors his perception of a skylark that “suddenly bursts into song” beneath his feet in a valley (6). As in Shelley’s poem “To a Skylark,” which incidentally “leaps to my [the artist’s] mind” upon hearing the skylark’s song, the unseen bird fills the air with a song that soars along with the creature high up into the clouds (6–7). However, Soseki’s skylark is far less ethereal and otherworldly than Shelley’s in that the artist exerts his imagination to envision a bird tumbling in the valley: “Then I imagine the tumbling skylark crossing paths with another as it rises. My final thought is that, whether falling or rising or crossing midair, the wild, vigorous song of the skylark would never for an instant cease” (6). The arduousness of the artist’s climb and the skylark’s flight deflects the transcendental power of the artist’s imagination and the skylark’s song, and what may have been a seamless flight of mental association between the skylark’s song and Shelley’s poem is skewed by the recitation of a fragment from Shelley’s “To a Skylark,” which the artist struggles to remember:

We look before and after
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. (Soseki 7)
This quotation is a strange representation of Shelley, who momentarily dwells here on the pain and sadness of life transcended by the skylark’s song. Soseki’s emphasis falls on the other, darker side of Shelley’s uplifting vision, recalling for the artist a common expression found in Chinese poetry: “a hundredweight of sorrows” (7). Heightened by the hyperbolic expression of sorrow, the poignant conclusion reached by the artist is that “poets are great sufferers; they seem to have more than double the nervous sensitivity of the average person” (7).

5.        Compared to China’s history, Japan’s process of modernization was relatively gradual and voluntary. Japan abandoned its isolationist policy with the advent of the Meiji era in 1868, after which the nation worked actively to Westernize its governmental system and social and cultural practices. Soseki was a beneficiary of Japan’s modernization policy, being granted a government scholarship to study in London for two years. Ironically, what Soseki gleaned from the overseas experience, at the price of a nervous breakdown due to intense loneliness in a foreign city, was a clearer vision of Japan’s national character and historical fate in relation to the West. Soseki criticizes Japan’s idolization of the West as the common evil of a “forgetful” people intent on imitating the West in the name of progress (Hiyama 25–26). Putting the Chinese classics, which he had studied since boyhood, into perspective against English literature, Soseki also realizes that the two literatures are so radically different as to defy common categorization. Ruptures are formed in Soseki’s double consciousness, and it is out of these ruptures that a true understanding of what is Japanese or Eastern is gained. As seen in the scene from Kusamakura above, the aesthetic vision of a Japanese artist emerges in genuine form only after he awakens from his “forgetfulness” in Shelleyan transcendentalism. What little Shelley the artist can quote from memory is not quite so transcendental or sublime, but with this Shelley the expression taken from Chinese poetry rings more authentic. The rest of the novel, written in Haiku style, explores the uniquely Japanese consciousness of “non-sentiment,” a way of considering sentiment as a thing of nature rather than human (Hiyama 83). Soseki’s “unforgetting” is a sign of negative resistance to Western dominance, exposing Japan’s mock modernity under the Western-oriented regime of the Meiji era while bring the East into relief against the West.


6.        Yun Dong-ju (1917–1945), it is safe to say, is one of the most popular poets in modern Korea, known for his lyricism and spirit of resistance underlying a unique body of anti-colonial poetry. With his posthumous collection of poems entitled Sky, Wind, Star and Poetry (1948), Yun also makes a mark in the tradition of Korean Romantic literature, one trend of which was revolutionary and politically radical (Park 28–52). The following poem “Liver” (1941) is one from the collection, written when colonial aggression was growing ever more heavy-handed with Japan’s wartime mobilization:

On the sunny rocks by the sea
Let us spread the wet liver to dry it.
Like the rabbit escaped from Caucasus
Let us circle the liver to guard it.
My starved eagle long under my care!
Come and gnaw the liver, heedlessly
You must fatten
While I waste away. But,
You will never tempt me again to the undersea palace.
Prometheus, poor Prometheus,
Prometheus who is endlessly drowning
With a millstone around his neck for stealing fire. [4] 
This poem is a strange amalgam of the Prometheus myth and a popular Korean folktale. Like the Romantic Prometheus, the rabbit in the Korean fable symbolizes resistance against oppressive power. The rabbit is lured by the tortoise with promises of great riches to the dragon king’s underwater palace only to discover that the king is in dire need of a rabbit’s liver to cure his deathly illness. The quick-witted rabbit fibs to the king that rabbits hide their precious livers in secret places and that he will quickly retrieve his if the king would allow him a trip back aboveground. Of course, the rabbit runs away as soon as he reaches land, and his clever trick has traditionally been associated with the powerless peasants’ survival tactic against despotic authority. In Yun’s poetic remake of the traditional folklore, the tortoise stands for Japanese colonial power, to which the speaker stands up defiantly. If the wet liver preserved and guarded by the rabbit alludes to the unwavering spirit of autonomy, the starved eagle is less the Promethean symbol of punitive authority than a historically marked figure for the colonized people’s desire for liberation. The rabbit escaping from the Caucasus Mountains reinforces the cause of liberty by bringing the two stories of rebellion together in hybridized form.

7.        However, the hybridity between traditional and foreign narratives also exposes the double bind in which the colonized speaker finds him- or herself—a situation in which neither Korean tradition nor Western thought can have resistant power against Japanese oppression. As seen in the last stanza of Yun’s poem, Prometheus is found in an alien context, paying for his sin by drowning in the sea with a millstone around his neck. The fall of Prometheus is figured forth in biblical terms, but the allusion to the undersea menace in the Korean folklore is also clear. Prometheus’s foreignness becomes noticeable as he fails to emerge as the universal symbol of resistance and liberation. Prometheus’s despair is that of the wasted speaker’s—the one whose defiant act of feeding the salvaged liver to the eagle does not quite square with his rebellious tone against the tortoise. Both Prometheus and the speaker find their acts of defiance missing the mark in this strange wonderland of mixed-and-matched tales. Such impotence is the plight of the colonized Koreans, whose history of modernization and Westernization significantly overlapped with their colonial history. Prometheus’s theft and the rabbit’s wit, seen out of its original context, can even call the legitimacy of the rebel’s defiance into question, obscuring the fact that the original thief and trickster is the tortoise. For a people whose liberation “came like a thief in the night” at the end of World War II (Kim 499), not much was in its power to change against the throes of imperialist world history. Yun may have read and been inspired by Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound as an English major at Yeonhui College in Korea and Doshisha University in Japan (Park 44). He certainly lived a Shelleyan life, finishing his short life of twenty-eight years in prison for anti-Japanese activities. Yet, his Prometheus remains bound and fallen as the unclaimed liver is fed to the eagle starved for liberation.

Opening a Dialogue: Romanticism beyond East and West

8.        Lu Xun’s reengagement with the past, Soseki’s interiorization of the artistic spirit, Yun’s struggle for freedom and justice—these are responses hauntingly similar to those of English Romantics towards the onset of modernity a century ago during the Enlightenment era. It is no simple coincidence that the three “national” writers of East Asia rigorously employed the literary figures and works of English Romanticism in coming to terms with their experiences of loss and change in the face of radical historical rupture. Yi Zheng, in her study of the modern sublime in Chinese literature, grounds her idea of the “commensurability” between British and Chinese aesthetics of the sublime on a “shared modern history” (3). The three vignettes above suggest that this commensurability may extend to Europe and Asia, West and East. From this broader perspective, we can historically verify that reaction to modernity is an intrinsic part of the literary and cultural phenomenon we know as Romanticism. As Löwy and Sayre argue, “Romanticism is a modern critique of modernity”—that is, “the Romantic view constitutes modernity’s self-criticism” (21). Romanticism is not just against modernity but of modernity, offering a critique of modernity from within modernity itself. As long as modernity retains the capability of self-reflection, Romanticism will continue to be a valid form of cultural critique beyond spatial and temporal boundaries. Thomas Pfau and Robert Mitchell have noted that this element of self-criticism is what makes the conceptualization of Romanticism particularly difficult: “Romanticism’s marked ambivalence and resistance to decisive conceptualization arise from the fact that it simultaneously extends the project of European modernity while offering itself as a sustained critical reflection on that very process” (267). The ambivalence and difficulty of defining Romanticism are certainly exacerbated by exploring its instantiation in multiple forms, circumstances, and articulations of modernity. However, such historically diverse explorations should also offer new possibilities for understanding the complexities and urgencies of Romanticism.

9.        The Romantic consciousness of East Asian writers is a product of East Asian modernity. The term “modernization,” along with “Westernization,” is the more customary and perhaps more critically apt way of referring to that historical phase in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century when Western thought and way of life were quickly saturating and tangibly supplanting the traditional ways of the East. The political and cultural resistance, which we can detect in the three authors above, is symptomatic of an acute sense of asymmetry between West and East in the political agency and cultural influences asserted by the two powers as their histories intertwined ever more closely in the context of global politics and economy. Some critics, like Tani E. Barlow, call Asian modernity “colonial,” which in truth spawns confusion and alarm about the obfuscation between actual and virtual colonialisms, but there is an element of truth in finding the common ground of Asian modernity in the colonial. As suggested by the concept of “semi-colonialism,” used by Lenin and Mao to explain the state of nations, like China, that officially preserved juridical independence but was de facto controlled by Western imperialist powers, the question of coloniality in East Asia is not confined to matters of juridical autonomy. [5]  In the case of China and Taiwan, the civil war in mainland China and the eventual separation of the two states were the consequences of severe internal conflicts overdetermined by an ideological war between communism and republicanism—the two mainstays of modern nation-building founded on Western political thought. The more perplexing case would belong to Japan, which had maintained autonomy against European aggression only to be a major contender in the Western imperialist powers’ race toward the acquisition of Asian colonies. Japanese imperialism was heavily grounded on the idea of building “one Asia”—a modern form of Eastern civilization in the likes of modern Europe—thereby marking its difference from and resistance to Western imperialism while ideologically inheriting the expansionist vision. Korea, like other nations colonized by Japan, became a scapegoat of conflicting imperialist interests between East and West and could not separate its process of Westernization from Japan’s colonial projects. Whether Korea’s modernization is indebted to Japanese rule is still under vigorous debate, but it is undeniable that Korean modernity constitutes a prominent part of Asia’s colonial modernity. That the Koreans had to adjust abruptly to the modern nation-state system and resort to the Western notion of national sovereignty for their fight against imperialist aggression is another sign that Asia’s connection to the Western form of modernity is always vexed and double-sided.

10.        What becomes clear here is that the Enlightenment project originating in the West had decidedly far-reaching consequences in fulfilling its totalitarian nature across the globe. As Horkheimer and Adorno claim, Enlightenment is inherently totalitarian whereby knowledge is power and “[t]he awakening of the subject is bought with the recognition of power as the principle of all relationships” (5). The form of power relation itself changes as “Enlightenment dissolves away the injustice of the old inequality of unmediated mastery, but at the same time perpetuates it in universal mediation, by relating every existing thing to every other” (8). The notion that unjust power relations are perpetuated by the universal commensurability and conformity of all existing things becomes the philosophical grounds for acknowledging the commensurability between Western and Eastern modernities under the aegis of Enlightenment. What I hope our exploration of English Romanticism in East Asia may suggest is that the Romantic mindset serves as a universally applicable antidote to a totalitarian system of knowledge and power. Romanticism emerges as one form of Enlightenment’s self-criticism, bringing into critical discourse a Kantian insistence on universal hospitality and cosmopolitan right against the aggravation of global wars and colonial violence. [6]  Asia’s critical adoption of the Romantic standpoint in response to different historical exigencies ultimately testifies to the intrinsically historical consciousness of Romanticism. It is the interconnectedness rather than the commonality or homogeneity among diverse forms of modernity and its discontents that should emerge through such a global scope of inquiry. Far from erasing historical differences and local particularities, rethinking East and West and their relationship through the prism of Romanticism will allow us to contemplate the shared and divergent forms, experiences, and questions of modernity.

11.        The following collection of essays from Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea is the first attempt to explore English Romanticism in East Asia in a multinational and cross-cultural context. The history of each nation’s reception of English Romanticism has mostly been studied locally in isolated form, and the scope of these studies varies widely for each nation. Japan has the longest history of the literary reception of English Romanticism and the critical investigation of this reception history. The first anthology of English poetry translated into Japanese was published in 1882 under the title Shintai-shisho (New-Style Poetry), which soon after instigated scholarly interest in English Romanticism in Japan. Critical interest in Japan’s reception of English Romantic literature bloomed after World War II, with Matsuura Tohru producing the earliest study on Keats in Japan in 1959. Reception studies in Japan have become strikingly popular in the last decade or two, and English publications on the subject have recently been on the rise—Okada on Keats (2006), Clark and Suzuki on Blake (2006), and Vallins et al. on Coleridge (2013). In China, occasional discussions of foreign literature’s impact on Chinese literature began to surface in the 1940s, but a systematic study of reception history did not take off until the late 1990s and has continually been on the rise since the 2000s. Leo Lee’s work on the Romantic writers of modern China (1973) has been influential in understanding English Romanticism’s impact on modern China’s political and cultural movements. Taiwan and Korea have come relatively late into the field of reception studies, having yet to produce sustained criticisms on how English Romanticism influenced their respective national literatures. [7]  What I hope this volume of the Praxis Series will achieve is to open a new critical sphere where more rigorous and integrated discussions of Romanticism within Asia and across Eastern-Western borders can take place. These efforts will not only help us to relativize and historicize our understanding of Romanticism; they will also lay the foundation for a much-needed conversation among Asian nations toward a more serious and less ideologically inflected reflection on their intricately connected histories of modernization.

12.        This volume of the Praxis Series presents select papers from the NASSR Supernumerary Conference that took place under the theme “Romantic Connections” in June 2014 at the University of Tokyo, Japan. The national and thematic diversity of these papers contributes to a comparative understanding of the different historical and aesthetic issues faced by Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea with the onset of modernity. Mie Gotoh’s opening essay focuses on the poets of Meiji Japan and their invention of modern landscape, arguing that Keats’s poetry provided crucial momentum for the development of “a new phenomenology of landscape through a new mode of seeing.” For the Meiji poets, this meant a turn towards the inner self, which not only inflected their modes of perceiving nature and the outer world but also transformed Japan’s poetic language into a vehicle for a more “real” landscape. According to Gotoh, these epistemological and formal changes reflect the historical transition Japanese poetry underwent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the poets were developing a modern aesthetics by appropriating Western literature as well as recasting the traditional influence of Chinese classics.

13.        Ou Li’s essay, in contrast, discusses the influence of Keats on the poets of modern China and contextualizes the shifting implication of Keats’s poetics in the tumultuous history of twentieth-century China. The discord between Keats’s so-called escapist aestheticism and China’s violent political and ideological upheavals makes for a particularly complex case of interaction between the original text and its foreign context. Marking the three distinctive stages of Keats’s reception in China, Li demonstrates how Keats continued to affect China’s literary imagination and the making of its modern literature by surviving the oppressive mood of the Mao regime and satisfying the need for a literature that transcends political ideology. Li attributes this tenacious appeal of Keats to the “multi-faceted richness and indeterminacy achieved by his remarkable sympathetic imagination and honesty about the human condition”—something that becomes clear through Keats’s long afterlife on foreign soil.

14.        In Terence H. W. Shih’s essay, we learn how English Romanticism was transmitted from mainland China to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang and the consequent withdrawal of the latter’s Republic of China to Taiwan in 1949. Following the life and legacy of Hsu Chih-Mo, a.k.a. “the Chinese Shelley,” Shih traces the course in which Percy Shelley’s radical spirit affected Hsu’s poetry and eventually had a wider repercussion through the political and poetic influence that Hsu’s writing exerted on Taiwan’s student movements and campus ballads. The campus ballad is a uniquely Romantic genre of musical songs, which inspired a sense of freedom and national identity in the young people of Taiwan and allowed them an imaginative space of autonomy against a history of colonial rule, the threats of communist China, and the authoritarian regime of the Kuomintang.

15.        Through the last two essays in this volume, we can compare how modern literary criticism developed under the influence of English Romanticism in Japan and Korea, whose inextricable historical ties prompted interesting connections in their critical histories. Yoshikazu Suzuki’s essay explores early Keats scholarship in Japan through the works of three main scholars: Saito Takeshi, Sato Kiyoshi, and Hinatsu Kohnosuke. Saito set the tone for Keats criticism in Japan with his keen attention to the form and language of Keats’s poetry and a rigorous method of scholarship. While Saito found the significance of Keats’s aesthetics in its humanistic spirit based on Christian ethics, Sato and Hinatsu were more attuned to a critique of national literature through and against Keats. Sato was the more politically conscious of the two, discovering in English Romanticism a love for freedom, which he believed should serve to strengthen the national literature of Japan as the well as the national spirit of the Korean students he was teaching at Keijo Imperial University in occupied Korea. Hinatsu’s national consciousness emerged in a more mediated form through his archaism and a classical style of writing reflecting Keats’s poetic refinement and sensibility. Suzuki notes these three scholars for their significant contributions to building the foundation for Japan’s national consciousness and modern literary studies.

16.        Suh-Reen Han picks up where Suzuki leaves off, tracing the critical career of Choe Jae-seo, one of the first Korean scholars of English literature who was incidentally a student of Sato Kiyoshi’s at Kyungsung Imperial University (the Korean appellation for Keijo Imperial University). Having inherited his professor’s interest in English Romanticism, Choe worked through the different implications of Romantic aesthetics in the whirlwind of Korea’s modern history. Choe’s perspectives on Romanticism bear the burden of a historical and political consciousness reacting to the turbulent experiences of colonial oppression, totalitarian militarism, and a civil war between North and South. In his struggle to find the voice of a colonized critic, Choe negatively comes across the possibility of a Romantic cosmopolitan criticism against the frailty of a creative and critical spirit exposed to political violence.

Works Cited

Barlow, Tani E., editor. Formations of Colonial Modernity in East Asia. Duke UP, 1997.

Clark, Steve, and Masashi Suzuki, editors. The Reception of Blake in the Orient. Continuum, 2006.

Hiyama, Hisao. Dong’yang jeok Geundae ui Changchul: Lushin gwa Soseki [The Creation of Eastern Modernity: Lu Xun and Soseki]. Translated by Jeong Seon-tae, Somyeong, 2000.

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment: Philosophical Fragments. Edited by Gunzelin Schmid Noerr, translated by Edmund Jephcott, Stanford UP, 2002.

Kant, Immanuel. “Toward Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Project.” Practical Philosophy. Edited and translated by Mary. J. Gregor, Cambridge UP, 1996, pp. 315–51.

Kim, Yun-sik. “Haebang Gonggan ui Munhak” [“Literature in the Space of Liberation”]. Haebang Jeonhusa ui Insik [Perspectives before and after the Liberation]. Edited by Kang Man-gil et al., vol. 2, Han’gilsa, 1985, pp. 449–92.

Lee, Leo Ou-fan. The Romantic Generation of Modern Chinese Writers. Harvard UP, 1973.

Löwy, Michael, and Robert Sayre. Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity. Translated by Catherine Porter, Duke UP, 2001.

Lu, Xun. Selected Works of Lu Hsun. Translated by Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang, Foreign Languages Press, 1960.

Natsume, Soseki. Kusamakura. Translated by Meredith McKinney. Penguin, 2008.

Okada, Akiko. Keats and English Romanticism in Japan. Peter Lang, 2006.

Park, Ho-young. Han’guk Geundaegi Nangmanjuui Jeon’gae Yeon’gu [A Study of Romanticism’s Development in Modern Korea]. Bakmunsa, 2010.

Pfau, Thomas, and Robert Mitchell. “Introduction: Romanticism and Modernity.” European Romantic Review, vol. 21, no. 3, 2010, pp. 267–73.

Vallins, David, Kaz Oishi, and Seamus Perry, editors. Coleridge, Romanticism and the Orient: Cultural Negotiations. Bloomsbury, 2013.

Wang, Chih-ming. “Geopolitics of Literature: Foreign Literature Studies in Early Twentieth-Century China.” Cultural Studies, vol. 26, no. 5, 2012, pp. 1–25.

---. “Wen Hua Bian Jie Shang De Zhi Shi Sheng Chan: ‘Wai Wen Xue Men’ Li Shi Hua Chu Tan” [“Knowledge Production on the Frontier: An Attempt at Historicizing Foreign Literature Studies in Taiwan”]. Chung Wai Literary Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 4, 2012, pp. 177–215.

Wang, Pu. “The Promethean Translator and Cannibalistic Pains: Lu Xun’s ‘Hard Translation’ as a Political Allegory.” Translation Studies, vol. 6, no. 3, 2013, pp. 324–38.

Wu, Ya-feng. “Ying Guo Lang Man Wen Xue Yan Jiu Zai Tai Wan” [“Studies of British Romantic Literature in Taiwan”]. Zhong Hua Min Guo Di Ba Jie Ying Mei Wen Xue Yan Tao Hui Lun Wen Yu Hui Yi Shou Ce: Tai Wan De Ying Mei Wen Xue Yan Jiu: Hui Gu Yu Zhan Wang [The 8th Annual R.O.C. Conference Proceedings and Program Booklet: Taiwan’s English and American Literary Studies: Reviews and Prospects]. Edited by the English and American Literature Association, Bookman, 2000.

Yun, Dong-ju. Haneul gwa Baram gwa Byeol gwa Si [Sky, Wind, Star and Poetry]. Jeong’eupsa, 1948.

Zheng, Yi. From Burke and Wordsworth to the Modern Sublime in Chinese Literature. Purdue UP, 2010.


[1] Throughout the volume, the personal names of all writers and critics of Asian nationality will be marked in their original form—the family name preceding the given name. The names of the contributors to this volume will be the only exception, following the English convention for index purposes. BACK

[2] Wang Pu 330–31, quoted from Lu Xun, “‘Hard Translation’ and the ‘Class Character of Literature,’” Selected Works of Lu Hsun, trans. Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang, vol. 3 (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1960) 82. BACK

[3] Born Natsume Kinnosuke, the novelist took on the pen name of Soseki in 1889. BACK

[4] This is my translation of the poem quoted in its entirety in Park 43–44. BACK

[5] For many critics of East Asian studies, this is one of the main points on which the postcolonial critique of Asian history breaks paths with Anglo-Indian postcolonialism (Barlow 4–5). BACK

[6] It is not coincidental that Kant in “Toward Perpetual Peace” points to China and Japan as examples of a nation exercising universal hospitality by authorizing the foreigner the right to visit—not to enter and stay as had the peoples of the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, and India (329). China and Japan had been defending themselves against the aggressions of the Dutch, Portuguese, and British, and Kant singles out Japan for successfully fending off colonial powers by limiting its international relations to commercial trade with the Dutch, who were excluded from any other forms of interaction with the natives (330). BACK

[7] Taiwanese scholars Wu Ya-feng and Wang Chih-ming have written essays on English Romantic studies and foreign literary studies emerging in Taiwan in the middle of the twentieth century. Studies of Korea’s reception of English Romantic literature have been performed sporadically by scholars of Korean literature. I would like to thank all of our contributors for this historical overview of English Romanticism’s reception studies in East Asia. BACK


Published @ RC

December 2016