Han Shan, Chan Buddhism and Gary Snyder's Ecopoetic Way (The Sussex Library of Asian Studies)

Han Shan, Chan Buddhism and Gary Snyder's Ecopoetic Way (The Sussex Library of Asian Studies)

  • ISBN-13: 9781845193416
  • $54.34

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This book is a comparative study of the ninth-century Chinese poet Han Shan (Cold Mountain) and Gary Snyder, an American poet and environmental activist. Author Joan Tan explains how Chan Buddhism has the potential to be recognized as an important voice in contemporary ecopoetry. Chan/Zen theory is employed as aesthetic criteria to explicate the dual discourses - spiritual and aesthetic - which exist in Han Shan's and Snyder's work. Snyder's goal of establishing one ecosystem for all communities encouraged him to adopt Han Shan as an ideal model and Chan Buddhism as a global subculture representing environmental values. The book investigates how Snyder interweaves Chinese cultural sources in an eclectic way to impose a sense of place, a sense of mission, and a sense of energy in his ecopoetry. His unique ideogrammatic method - riprapping (developed as a result of his literary indebtedness to the Oriental tradition) - makes for a forceful statement on contemporary ecology. Through Snyder's successful translation, Han Shan has been revived as an immortal Beat Poet (Jack Kerouac features prominently in the chapters), while Cold Mountain has emerged as synonymous with enlightenment. Snyder himself has become an exemplary representative of an American Han Shan. The poetic line extending from Han Shan through to Chan/Zen to contemporary ecology is considered here as a continuum - a continuum profoundly enhanced by Snyder's remarkable achievement of eco-wholeness - the original goal of Han Shan in his ecopoetry. The book is complemented with full Chinese character text and glossary.

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