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Author Liu, Haoming
Title Transformation of childhood experience: Rainer Maria Rilke and Fei Ming
book jacket
Descript 262 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 62-03, Section: A, page: 1005
Director: Cyrus Hamlin
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Yale University, 2001
This dissertation deals with the poetic concept and the practice of transformation of childhood experience in the work of Rilke and Fei Ming. It examines several major motifs in Rilke's middle and late work and the major developmental phases of Fei Ming's art to show how childhood experience acquires poetic validity through various transformations. It demonstrates that in both poets, childhood experience underwent a general transformational process from realistic depiction and decadent sentimentality to a transcendent poetic world. In the case of Rilke, the transcendent world into which childhood experience is transformed is characterized by a process of dematerialization and abstraction, which consummates in the metamorphosis of childhood images into vibrations and music of the spheres. In the case of Fei Ming, the transcendent world is likewise dematerialized. It is achieved by way of Mahayana Buddhism which regards the world as mere ideation with no substantive basis behind it. In its final phase, Fei Ming's transformation of childhood experience arrives at emblematic images such as dreams mirrors, specular reflections, and lamps. By juxtaposing the two poets, this dissertation argues that poetic transformations like theirs are essential to a literary modernity. As Rilke must search for his artistic destiny by moving beyond the kind of representation of childhood in the Romantics and the decadents, Fei Ming had to confront a powerful discourse in the post-May Fourth China that advocated an immediacy between reality and artistic representation as well as a notion of linearly progressive history. This investigation of how Fei Ming achieved his transcendent poetic world aims to widen the scope and to bring in new perspectives in the current discussion of literary modernity in modern Chinese literary and intellectual history
School code: 0265
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 62-03A
Subject Literature, Comparative
Literature, Asian
Literature, Germanic
Alt Author Yale University
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