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A Common Strangeness

Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature

Jacob Edmond

Publication Year: 2012

Why is our world still understood through binary oppositions-East and West, local and global, common and strange-that ought to have crumbled with the Berlin Wall? What might literary responses to the events that ushered in our era of globalization tell us about the rhetorical and historical underpinnings of these dichotomies? In A Common Strangeness, Jacob Edmond exemplifies a new, multilingual and multilateral approach to literary and cultural studies. He begins with the entrance of China into multinational capitalism and the appearance of the Parisian flaneur in the writings of a Chinese poet exiled in Auckland, New Zealand. Moving among poetic examples in Russian, Chinese, and English, he then traces a series of encounters shaped by economic and geopolitical events from the Cultural Revolution, perestroika, and the June 4 massacre to the collapse of the Soviet Union, September 11, and the invasion of Iraq. In these encounters, Edmond tracks a shared concern with strangeness through which poets contested old binary oppositions as they reemerged in new, post-Cold War forms.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: Verbal Arts

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xv

I began work on this book while based at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar. I thank Fulbright New Zealand and the Davis Center— . . .

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pp. 1-14

The transition from the general to the particular always has stimulating surprises in store, when the interlocutor without contours, ghostly, takes shape before you, gradually or at a single blow, and becomes the . . .

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1. Yang Lian and the Flâneur in Exile

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pp. 15-43

How can one acknowledge points of contact among disparate texts, times, places, languages, and cultures without eclipsing their particularity? This problem becomes especially acute in the post-1989 world . . .

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2. Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and Poetic Correspondences

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pp. 44-71

Arriving in Moscow on 10 June 1983, the collection of mainly San Francisco Bay Area bohemians must have made a strange sight. Comprising avant-garde musicians, writers, filmmakers, a video crew, and . . .

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3. Lyn Hejinian and Russian Estrangement

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pp. 72-94

Following such a line, we would not study—to put the question into its most traditional formulation—the “encounter” between Orientalism and modernism, but rather work the interpenetration of those two categories . . .

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4. Bei Dao and World Literature

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pp. 95-124

How could lines of poetry written secretly by a poet in his early twenties become rallying cries for a generation, and a decade later, in 1989, appear on protest banners that sought to change the course of a . . .

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5. Dmitri Prigov and Cross-Cultural Conceptualism

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pp. 125-163

The late 1980s and early 1990s witnessed the rise of an international market for contemporary Chinese and Russian artworks. Indicative examples are Zhang Hongtu’s portrait of Mao Zedong on . . .

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6. Charles Bernstein and Broken English

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pp. 164-192

Charles Bernstein is perhaps best known for the satirical mode that this second epigraph exemplifies. Nevertheless, he is often read as a serious commentator on literary studies and its recent global turn, . . .

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pp. 193-198

On 20 March 2003, the New Zealand state broadcaster interrupted its regular schedule to announce that US-led forces had entered Iraq. Obviously prepared for the inevitable news, the announcer . . .


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pp. 199-234

Works Cited

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pp. 235-264


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pp. 265-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780823246267
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823242597
Print-ISBN-10: 0823242595

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Verbal Arts