BD. Edmund Blunden

29. [Blunden]. ‘Japanese Intuitions’. Review of Paper Houses (BJ3), by William Plomer. TLS, 21 March 1929, p. 228.


Blunden writes that Plomer is a prose stylist ‘humorous, learned, and imaginative’, and praises in particular his writing of Japan, for no ‘mere observer’ could report ‘so exactly and intimately the life of that country’. Plomer writes as though he has incorporated ‘modern Japanese poems into his prose’, and ‘if there is a melancholy turn . . . we hasten to say that it is true of the original scene, and of its kind not to be rejected in favour of some more disturbing mirth’. The ‘quality’ of Japan, Blunden believes, ‘lies in half-tones rather than splendid brocade pictures’, and Plomer approaches these ‘without fantasy or sense of alien nature’, altogether avoiding ‘Oriental caprice, purple haze, and the rest of the chrysanthemum and bonze paraphernalia’ of the ‘“the era of japonaiserie”’.





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