A. Critical and Comparative Studies

42. Miner, Earl. ‘The Significance of Japan to Western Literatures’. Proceedings of the International Round Table on the Relations between Japanese and Western Arts. Tokyo: Japanese National Commission for Unesco, 1968.

Drawing freely on his own earlier work (A25 and 41), Miner traces the history of the ‘significance’ of the title, focusing particularly on Pound—‘the important figure in the poetic adaptation of Japan’—but offering comment as well about Robert Bly (see CA14), Blunden, Lowell, Plomer, Snyder (see CA14e), Stevens (see CA7), Lucien Stryk (see CA14), William Carlos Williams, and Yeats, among others. Concludes that ‘the story of Western borrowings from Japan is one largely concerned with a Western need to search . . . for what it was felt was represented by Japan’, and the meaning of this search, though it may not accord with the ‘reality’ of Japan itself, has been ‘much more important than might reasonably have been expected’. Just as ‘fifty years ago there were probably more Frenchmen who had heard of Hokusai than of Phidias’, today ‘probably more Americans . . . have heard of Bashô than of Aristophanes’, and ‘whatever we may decide to be fit in such matters, we may be sure that the American poet, like the French painter, has discovered in Japanese civilzation that which gives his art and life a special grace’.





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