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The Poetics of Ruins in Renaissance Literature$
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Andrew Hui

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823273355

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823273355.001.0001

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Fallen Castles and Summer Grass

(p.223) Epilogue
The Poetics of Ruins in Renaissance Literature

Andrew Hui

Fordham University Press

The Epilogue departs from the Renaissance and returns to my Japanese friend’s perplexing question: why ruins after all? As it turns out, though there might not be physical ruins in East Asia, there is a long tradition of poems about ruins. When viewing the site of a fallen samurai castle in which only the tall summer grass remains, Bashō, in his fifteenth-century Journey to the Narrow North, re-writes an eighth-century Chinese poem by Du Fu. The poetics of ruins, East and West, is finally a poetics of mutability—not so much a mode of survival that depends on a work’s imperishability but rather an artistic process of continuous transmission, translation, and transformation.

Keywords:   Basho, Du Fu, East Asian poetics of ruins, poetic mutability

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