Bei Dao and World Literature

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5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Russell Square: College Buildings
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About this event

Dr Jacob Edmond (University of Otago)

How could lines of poetry written secretly by a poet in his early twenties become rallying cries for a generation, and a decade later, in 1989, appear on protest banners that sought to change the course of a nation? How could some of these poems be read the following year as representative of a new placeless, transnational world literature without a history or identity? Bei Dao’s poetry and its reception reveal a historically and rhetorically complex story about poetics and politics, cross-cultural encounter and translation, economics and ideology, personal and international relations. It is a story that has lessons for how our recent past and present might be written and read.

Dr Jacob Edmond, University of Otago

Dr Jacob Edmond is senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Otago. He is author of A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press, forthcoming 2012), editor (with Henry Johnson and Jacqueline Leckie) of Recentring Asia: Histories, Encounters, Identities (Brill / Global Oriental, 2011), and editor and translator (with Hilary Chung) of Yang Lian’s Unreal City: A Chinese Poet in Auckland (Auckland University Press, 2006). His articles have appeared in journals such as Comparative Literature, Contemporary Literature, Poetics Today, The China Quarterly, the Slavic and East European Journal, and Russian Literature. He has also edited special issues of the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies and Landfall (with Gregory O’Brien, Evgeny Pavlov, and Ian Wedde).

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