Skip to main content

The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetry

For more than half a century, Chinese-Western comparative literature has been recognized as a formal academic discipline, but critics and scholars in the field have done little to develop a viable, common basis for comparison between these disparate literatures. In this pioneering book, Cecile Chu-chin Sun establishes repetition as the ideal perspective from which to compare the poetry and poetics from these two traditions.

Sun contends that repetition is at the heart of all that defines the lyric as a unique art form and, by closely examining its use in Chinese and Western poetry, she demonstrates howone can identify important points of convergence and divergence. Through a representative sampling of poems from both traditions, she illustrates how the irreducible generic nature of the lyric transcends linguistic and cultural barriers but also reveals the fundamental distinctions between the traditions. Most crucially, she dissects the two radically different conceptualizations of reality—mimesis and xing—that serve as underlying principles for the poetic practices of each tradition.

Skillfully integrating theory and practice, The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetryprovides a much-needed model for future study of Chinese and English poetry as well as lucid, succinct interpretations of individual poems.

304 pages | 6 halftones, 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Asian Studies: General Asian Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: Asian Languages


“Unquestionably a work of the highest pedigree, The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetry is the product of a lifetime of thought and decades of exhaustive research. Besides taking on board the observations of critics from around the world, Sun develops her own valuable theses, which she extricates from the material she studies rather than imposes them upon it. Sun clearly has experienced poetry profoundly and can speak profoundly of it. Her language is arresting through its strength of conviction and not because of literary flourishes or jargon. This book should be required reading for all readers of and commentators on Chinese and English—perhaps any—lyric poetry.”—David E. Pollard, author of The True Story of Lu Xun

David E. Pollard, author of T he True Story of Lu Xun

Table of Contents


Chinese Historical Periods

Prologue. Setting Repetition in Its Larger Context of Culture

1 Repetition as the Common Basis for Comparison

2 The Overt Mode of Repetition: Sound

3 The Covert Mode of Repetition: Sense

4 Mimesis and Xing

Epilogue. The Telosof Poetic Repetition

Appendix: Original Texts of Chinese Poems and Critical Passages




Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press