Poetry in the World : Harriet Monroe's China Travels

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-585
Journal / PublicationEnglish Studies
Issue number4
Online published19 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


This essay focuses on the editor and writer Harriet Monroe, whose writings on China are unexamined within modernist literary history. Through a discussion of her essays and travel writings, this study argues that Monroe's understanding of cross-cultural poetic influence was based on a pragmatist worldview, one that stands in contrast to philological and essentialist views of cultural and linguistic difference. Unlike Ezra Pound and other Imagists who aimed at translating or approximating Asian aesthetics and the "ideographic" qualities of the Chinese language through their poetry, Monroe's viewed the transmission and translation of literary expression as socially situated and received by audiences within specific networks and contexts. Influenced by the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey and William James, Monroe viewed artistic and literary expression "as experienced" and developed an awareness of art and literature that was based on the perception of aesthetic objects within a worldly context.

Research Area(s)

  • Harriet Monroe, modernism and travel, literary publishing, little magazines, Chinese and American Poetry, poetry and translation, DOOR