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Affinity

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Affinity

    Affinity

    Volume2,No.8(SerialNo.11US.ChinaForeignLanguage,ISSN1墨塑:璺璺!

    AffinitybetweenKublaKhanandTravelingTianmuMountain

    inaDream--APartingSong:ACross?cultureView

    ShaopingWangWeihuaJingDalianUniversityofForeignLanguages

    Abstract:RespectivelyasgreatpoetsofromanticisminBritishandChineseliteratures,SamuelTaylor

    ColeridgeandLiBaisharemuchincommoninthesenseofliteraryactivities,themeandtechniqueintheir

    masterpiecesofromanticpoetryKublaKhanandTraveling~anmuMountainin

    Dream?-APartingSong,which

    coincidentallydepicttwo''dreamingworlds"experiencedbythetwopoets.Attemptingtocomparethetwopoems

    inacrossculturalway,thisthesishopestothrowsomelightonunderstandingpoetryoftwodifferentcultures.

    Keywords:affinitypoetryColeridgeLiBai

    SamuelTaylorColeridge(1772-1834)isoneofthebestpoetsofEnglishRomanticism,whereasLiBai(orLi

    Po.701.762)isconsideredthegreatestRomanticpoetofChineseTangpoetry.Theylivedintwodifferentagesof

    differentcultures.Yet,despitethefactthatthereexitsatimegapofathousandyears,wefind"unmistakable

    affinity"(WangZuoliang1987)betweenKublaKhanbyColeridgeandTraveling~anmuMountainina

    Dream--APartingSongbyLiBai,twomasterpiecesofRomanticpoetryinBritishandChineseliterature,though

    theirworksvaryinimagery,theme,andlanguage.Thiskindofcross-culturalreadingmaylead

ustoa

    thought-provokingdiscoveryofliteraturesof"widelydivergentlanguagesandtraditions"(Wang1987).

    Thedictionarymeaningofaffinityisrelationship,closelikeness,orconnectionbetweenorwiththings.

    ProfessorWangSeeSthataffinityinliterature"worksinallsortsofways.''"Itisnotrestrictedtoanyoneperiod.

    butcancutacrosscenturies.''WeherebringColeridgeandLiBaiintoaworldofaffinity,becauseKublaKhan

    andTraveling~anmuMountaininaDream--APartingSongsharemuchincommon.Thefirstobviousaffinityis

    thatbothoftheworkshavebeenlabeledas"dreampoems"ofthepoets.KublaKhanisbelievedtohavebeen

    writtenbyColeridgeinthesummerof1797afterhetookananodyneandfellasleepoveratravelbookcalled

    Purchas'seitg'rimageaboutKublaKhan,theMongolconqueror.Theauthorcontinuedforaboutthreehoursina

    profoundsleep,duringwhichhebelievedthathecouldhavecomposedtwoorthreehundredlines.Unfortunately,

    onawakeningwhilehewaseagerlywritingdownthevision,hewascalledoutbysomeoneonbusiness.andafter

    retuminghomehecouldnolongerrememberthelines.Thevagueanddimrecollectionofthevisioncouldonly

    leavehimaboutfiftylines,thustheauthorentitledthepoem"Or,AVisioninaDream.AFragment".Inanoteon

    amanuscriptcopyofKublaKhan.Coleridgegaveamorepreciseaccountofthenatureofthis"sleep":"This

    fragmentwithagooddealmore,notrecoverable.composed,inasortofreveriebroughtonbytwogiantsof

opium,takentocheckadysentery,atafarmhousebetweenPorlockandLinton

    "(NortOnAnthology,347)

    ShaopingWang,AssociateProfessorofDalianUniversityofForeignLanguages,Dalian,LiaoningProvince,China,161002.Her

    researchfieldsareAmericanliteratureandinterculturalcommunication;Tel:0411-82593842;E-mail:wangshaoping@yahoo.eom

    

    WeihuaJing.ProfessorofEnglishatDalianUniversityofForeignLanguages.HerresearchfieldsareAmericanliterature.women

    literatureandlanguageacquisition+Address:No.94,Yah'anRoad,ZhongshanDistrict,Dalian,Liaoning,P.R.China,Posteode:

    161002;Tel:0411-82658989.E?mail:weihuashi@yahoo.comorjwh@dluf1.edu.cn 24

betweenKublaKhanandTravelingTianmuMountaininaDream..A

    attemptedtopresentthesupernaturalvisionfromaffavelbook.whileLiBaidescribedafantasticandmystic

    worldfromalegendtoldbythelocalpeopleofYue(asthepoetsaidinhispoem).Natureintheirpoemsisfullof

    surpassingbeauty,remarkablestrangeness,andunpredictablefluctuations.Coleridge'sworldcouldbemore

    supernaturalandexoticasanorientalstoryhadbeen"re-created"intoawesternpattern.AlthoughLiBaidoesnot

    intermingledifferentculturesinhispoem,wecandefinitelyconcludethatthelegendtoldbylocalpeoplemust

    haveinspiredhimtowritethepoem.Theculturaltransmissionbetweentheauthorandthesubjectmakeshiswork

    moreorientalandnatura1.TheimaginaryTianmuMountainishigh,"transcendingFiveMounts.''towering

    withoutapeer;othermountainsof"fivehundredthousandfeethigh"lie"downtoTianmu'sside".Inadreamthe

    poetfliestothemountaininwhichthe~ansparentwaterisripplingandmonkeysalecrying.Heseesthesunriseat

    sea;hehearsthe"HeavenlyCock"crow,andthebearsroaranddragonshowl;heenjoyshimselfinthe

    "multifariouscragsanddales"andisluredby"rocksandflowers."LiBailosthimselfinthewildbeautyofnature.

    Daylightfails~darkcloudshintofheavyrainwhenastonegateofa"fairycavern"suddenlybreaksopen.The

    "GodofClouds"comesoutinthrongsaccompaniedbytigersplayingmusicandphoenixesdrivingchariots.The

    poet'sdreamcomestotheclimaxwhenheissuddenlystirredand"wakesupinatrance".Thesplendidvisions

    vanishintothinair,leavingourpoetwithheavylongsighs.

    InColeridgeandLiBais'poems.theimaginaryandromanticlandscapescanbehighlysymbolicand

    subjective,ifwedonotreadthemmerelyasdescriptionsofnature.

    Fromaliteralpointofview,"KublaKhan"isfragmentaryononeleve1.However,fromanotherperspective,

    itisafullydeveloped,organicallycompleteandwholeworkwhichputsforthalogical,rationaltheme.It'smore

    thanamere"psychologicalcuriosity".Somehaveseenthepoemasbeingconcernedwiththeproblemofartistic

    creativity,whileothershavecalleditahymnofpraisetotheimagination.Intryingtointerpretthesymbolicsite

    ofthe"pleasuredome",wecanbeginbyseeingthedomeasahumancreationfart)~builtinandovernature's

    beautyandpower.Notethatinthelastpartofthepoemthenewlyintroduced"r'hasavisioninwhich.inspired

    byasingingwoman,hewouldimaginativelyrecreateinairtheKhan'sdome.Theartistwhocouldaccomplish

    thiswouldberegardedwithaweandevenfearbythosefromwhomheisseparatedbyhisinspiration.

    LikeKublaKhan.LiBai'simaginaryTianmulandscapeisfilledwithsymbolicimplicationsaswel1.Ifwe

    studyLiBai'slife,wemayunderstandthepoet'sintentionofwritingTravelingTianmu.LiBaidisplayedhis

    talentsinhisearlyyears.Whenhebecameincreasinglypopularf0rhisliteraryachievements.EmperorXuan

    Zong(712-756)summonedhimtothecapitalChang'antoserveinhanlin(imperialacademy)asanimperialpoet.

    Unfortunately,hardlytWOyearsgonebyhebecameavictimofthecalumnyofpoliticalintrigue.Throughseveral

    exiles,imprisonmentsandpardons,LiBaiseemedtoalwaysbesweptupinthepoliticalwindsofthemoment.

    muchmorelikeapoliticianthanapoet.Hislaterlifewasoneoftheconstantdriftandgreathardships.Thispoem

    waswrittenaRerthepoet'sattemptstousehispoetrytogainanofficjalpositionfailed(maybewecancallthishis

    "politicalcareer")Thepartingsongcouldbef0rthef0lksofEastLu.oritcouldbeafarewelltohisthreeyearsof

    courtlife,whichdeeplydiscouragedhim.His"heartandsoul"issearchingforanewfreedom.anewlire.

    Ideologically,thereisinthepoemaconstantbetrayalofapoliticalconsciousnessandloftyaspirationswhichwere

    destroyedinreality.ThereforethelegendaryTianmucanbeafreeworldforLiBai.theworldinwhichhewishes

    tofulfillhisimaginationandidealism.

    AseveryonehashisownHamlet.theinterpretationsoftheTianmuimageryvaryfrompeoplet

opeople.

    AnothercriticismisthatLiBai'sdescriptionofhisdreamworldisinvokingexoticTaoistimagesandpowerful

    emotionsoffearorexhilarationforthereisanostensibleTaoisttinctureofaloofnessfromtheworld.

    Atl9LiBai

    OI_l?,

betweenKublaKhanandTravelingTianmuMountainInaDream--APartingS

    ong:ACross

    -cultureVlew

    AfterwritingKublaKhan.

    RimeofAncientMariner,andChristabel,thepoet'sliterarycreativityseemedtobe wanedaway."

    Butnowafflictionsbowmedowntoearth;/NorcareIthattheyrobmeofmymirth;/Suspends whatnaturegavemeatmybirth./MyshapingspiritofImagination."(AnAnthology,709)Isourpoetlamenting

    thelossofhisartisticability?

    Whenweexamineclosely,wefindmoreinterestingaffinitiesbetweenthetwopoems.Inlength,thetwo

    poemsvaryslightly:54linesinKublaKhan,but45linesinTravelingTianmuinaDream--APartingSong.What

    acoincidenceinnumbertInstructure,thetwopoemscanbedividedintotwoparts:thedreamingworldandthe

    awakeningmoment.KublaKhangoesdirectlyintothepoet'sdream,awesternwayofopeningwriting;while

    TravelingTianmuopensinanindirectway一一

    ChinesewaybycomparingTianmuMountainwith"fairyisles

    seafarersspeak."Afterreverieorfantasy,bothpoetswakeupinakindofretrospectiveyetcons

ciousstate.In

    KublaKhantheimageofthepoetisenchantedbythemusicofthe"Abyssinianmaid".andwith"flashingeyes''

    and"floatinghair".heseemstoberefilledwithartisticpowerfromthe"honeydew''and"milkofParadise".Itcan

    beinferredthatColeridgecomparestheimaginaryXanadutoParadise一一

    themostoriginalsourceofhisliterary

    imagination.However,LiBai'sawakeningissomewhatpainfulanddisillusioned.The"splendidvisionsvanish''

    likeillusions,andthepoetfeelshelplesstoholdtothe"earthlypleasures".Moreover,thepoethasaDaoist

    essencewhenhesays."1willtendawhitedeer"tovisit"famousmountainsatwill".IfweconsiderLiBai's

    experienceofservingatrthecourt.wemayunderstandwhythepoetfinallyexpresseshisstrongunyieldingnessto

    the"meninpower''andpassionatelongingforpersonalfreedom.

    Theemphasisofthetwopoemsisnotontheplot(orstory)development,thoughthereare"some"characters

    slightlymentionedbesidestheauthors.Whatrivetsusisthatthepoetsbothconnectthemselveswith"afigure''in

    thepoems:LiBaiput"clogspatterneduponXie'sfeet''and''climbupthesteepstonesteps".whereasColeridge

    wishestohavethe"dulcimer''ofthe"Abyssinianmaid,"buildtheparadise

    likedomewith''musicloudandlong'':

    LiBaiencountersagroupoffairies,whereasColeridgeisseenby"all''whoarefilledwithdeepvenerationbythe

    poet'svitality.Moreover,wenoticeanotherfactinthetWOpoems.InLiBai'sdream,thereisnofemaleimage,

    butinKublaKhanthefemaleimageofanAbyssinianmaidisassociatedwithourpoet'sinspirationandcreativity.

    KublaKhanandTravelingTianmuinaDream--APartingSonghavealwaysbeenhighlypraisedbyvirtueof

    theirlanguage.Bothof.thepoetsapplyaheavyuseofmusicalrhythmandvividwordpictures.Somecriticssay

    tl1atKublaKhandoesn'thaveaso-called"seriOUS"theme(AnAnthology707).WhatColeridgewantstocreateiS

    nota"moral"butakindof"unity"

    unityofromanticsentimentandartisticmusicality.Thepoemprovidesall exampleoftheeffectiveuseofsounddevices.Theopeninglinesareamusicalblendofalliteration,assonance.

    andconsonance.

    InXanadudidKublaKhan

    Astatelypleasuredomedecree:

    '

    WhereAlph,thesacredriver,ran

    Throughcavernsmeasurelesst0man

    Downtoasunlesssea.

    Therearealsostrangenames(Xanadu,Alph,Abora,andAbyssinian)thatarecoinedbythepoet.whichadd

    exoticfeaturetothemusicaleffect.'

    LiBai.sdistinctionliesinthefactthathebroughtanunparalleledgraceandeloquencetohistreatmentofthe

    traditionalthemes.InTravelingTianmuthepatternsofnaturerepeatandthepoet'semotionsrangefromjoyto

    despair.YettheworkseemstospeakWithquietgraceandcontemplativerestraint.Hepreferredolderpoeticforms

    AmtybetweenKublaKhanand.TravelingTianmuMountainInaDream-?APartlngSong:ACross-cultureView

suchassongsorballadsandlong,tonallyunregulated"old

    style"verse,introducingtothemvariouspersonae,

    includinghisowncultivatedpersonaofawild.self-obsessedpoet.HeUSeSstrangedictionandrhyme,aswellas

    hyperboleandplayfulness,typicallyfeigningawishtoforgetratherthanconfrontreality.However,the

    exuberanceoflanguage,boldnessofimagination,andintensityoffeelinghavealwaysmadethepoemoneofthe

    best.readinChineseliterature.

    AsthelateChinesescholarWangZuoliangsaidinhisbook,literaryaffinityworksindifferentways.Itgives

    USenoughcouragetomakeastudyontwogreatpoemsacrossthelimitsofEnglishandChineseliterature.This

    kindofcross.culturallinkmaytUlTIOUttOberisky,becauseitcannotfullycoverthetwopoets'domains.In

    sayingthattheredoexistaffinitiesbetweenColeridgeandLiBai,Wearerecognizingthatliteraturesofdivergent

    languagesandculturescansayhellotoeachother,cometocommunicate,anddevelopintomutualunderstandings

    Andthis.perhaps,iswhatlullsandcharmsusasreallearnersofcultures. Notes:

    1.Traveling71anmuMountaininaDream--A

    2.See''PoetryinanAgeofRevolution''in

    LanguageEducationPress,1997),PP.72-3.

    PartingSongisreferred

    BritishRomanticismed.

    asTravelingTianmuinthispassage.

    byStuartCurran(ShanghaiForeign

    3.TheoriginallengthofLiBai'SpoeminChineseversionis45lines.ThelengthofEnglishversionsofthe

    poemvariesfrom45linesto51linesasitisshownintwodifferentversions:. 300TangPoetry(1997)editedby

    WuJuntao,publishedinHunanPublishingHouseand3ooTJGPOEMSNewTranslation(1editedby

    XuYuanchong.LuPeiyao,andWuJuntao,CO

    publishedbyChinaExternalTranslationPublishingHouseand HongKongShangwuPressingHouse.

    References:

    1.自主编,1994,世界祷庳(第二卷)z,庚州:花城出版社.

    2.到炳善,1981,英圆文犟简史【M,上海:上海外耩教育出版社.

    3.吕造主编,1989,外圆名祷鉴赏辞典【z,石家薤:河北人民出版社.

    4.1983,唐诗鉴赏禹辛典【z],上海:上海辞鸯出版社.

    5.王佐良等编,1999.英圆文擎名篇遴注【M,北京:商耪印害馆.

    6.王佐良,1987,榆契合一比较文孥研究集【M,北京:外耦教翠舆研究出版社.

    7.吴钧陶.1997.英漠封照唐特百首【z,畏沙:湖南出版礼.

    8.Abrams.M.H.,1993,TheNortonAnthologyofBritishLiterature[Z],NewYork:w.Norton&

    Company.

    9.Curran,Stuart,2001,BritishRomanticism[M],Shanghai:ShanghaiForeignLanguageEducationPress.

    (EditedbyAshleyandAmyZhang)

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