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A Common StrangenessContemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature$
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Jacob Edmond

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823242597

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823242597.001.0001

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Yang Lian and the Flâneur in Exile

Yang Lian and the Flâneur in Exile

(p.15) Chapter One Yang Lian and the Flâneur in Exile
A Common Strangeness

Jacob Edmond

Fordham University Press

This chapter develops an alternative to the entrapping oscillation between sameness and difference that bedevils contemporary approaches to comparative literature. It does so by exploring the encounter between a paradigmatic figure of European modernity, the flâneur, and contemporary Chinese poetry. The chapter first establishes how the flâneur emerges from the relationship between Europe and non-Europe and furnishes a comparative approach based not on mimesis and vision but on encounter, touch, and the non-logical constellations of Walter Benjamin’s dialectical image. The chapter identifies the comparative poetics of the flâneur in the encounter between Chinese poet Duoduo 多多 and Charles Baudelaire’s “Le soleil” in the early 1970s. It then explores the elaboration and negation of the figure in 1980s xungen, or “root-seeking,” writing and especially in the poetry and prose written by Yang Lian 杨炼 during his exile in Auckland, New Zealand, after June 4, 1989.

Keywords:   Yang Lian 杨炼, flâneur, exile, Duoduo 多多, Charles Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, New Zealand, Chinese poetry, June 4, 1989, comparative literature

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