Journal paper
篇名Poetic Theory of the “Nine Leaves School” in the 1940s: Yuan Kejia As A Prime Example
作者姓名Yu Kwan-wai Eric
Abstract  The “Nine Leaves School” refers to nine prominent poets who published their works in the Shanghai-based journal Zhongguo xinshi during the 1940s, which marked the zenith of the art of Chinese new poetry at the time. They were advocates of modernism, reacting against the main current of realism. Because of political reasons, these poets vanished from the literary scene of Mainland China from the 1950s to 1970s. But because of the 1981 publication of Jiuye ji, an anthology of their poems, they were “rediscovered” by the academia. Among them, Yuan Kejia was the most clairvoyant critic, who had learnt from Anglo-American literary theory as well as the poetic practices of Western and Chinese modernists. His critical discourse rivaled the best of contemporary Leftist critics, while being meticulous in terms of textual explication. Countering the highly politicized current of “mass literature,” Yuan emphasized the autonomy of literature, promoted a subtle and indirect way of representing the complex experiences of modern life in poetry, and hastened the fusion of reason and feeling in what he called the “revolution of sensibility.” Divided into three sections, this paper offers a comprehensive analysis of Yuan’s poetic theory. The first part examines the nature of new poetry in his theory, explaining how, inspired by Western modernist ideas, he developed a democratic thought which stresses complexity, reconciliation of differences, and tolerance. The second part details his concept of a poetic tradition synthesizing “symbolism, metaphysics and reality.” The last part tackles the core of his theory, focusing on his understanding of dramatization and dialectics, which is in correspondence with his liberal humanist ideal of democracy.
Keyword1940s, theory of new poetry, the Nine Leaves School, Yuan Kejia, modernism
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