MIMESIS AND XING, TWO MODES OF VIEWING REALITY: COMPARING ENGLISH AND CHINESE POETRY Cecile Chu-chin Sun Introduction If I were asked to single out the most significant and radical distinction between English and Chinese poetry, I would say that it is the dominance xing in the other. By mimesis, I of mimesis in one tradition and that of do not mean any particular strain of mimesis as developed in the West, nor any narrow definitions of aesthetic representation associated with the term. Instead, I am referring to a mode of conceptualizing reality in terms of a hierarchical way of thinking with its distinct anthropocentric privileging of human beings over external nature, a concept which is deeply rooted in Western metaphysical thinking. In English poetry, one way of tracing this mimetic mode of thinking is through the metaphorical relationship between "tenor" and "vehicle."1 Xing (lit., evocation), is not merely a poetic device to evoke feeling in the poem through reference to external reality in Chinese poetry. Rather, in its extended dimension, xing represents a lyrical energy that informs Chinese poetry predicated on a cultural orientation in which everything in reality, including human beings, is perceived holistically and as organically
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jan 25, 2006
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