BD. Edmund Blunden

188. Benkovitz, Miriam J. ‘Edmund Blunden and the Incitements of Japan’. Books at Iowa 32 (1980): 15-24.

Based on letters Blunden wrote from Japan in the twenties to friends and publishers Cyril Beaumont and Richard Cobden-Sanderson, now in the Library at the University of Iowa (see 171c). Demonstrates that contrary to Blunden’s published reminiscences of his early years in Tokyo, his ‘poetic impulse and indeed his extensive literary output . . . came from a constant frustration and discontent’. In addition to quoting or summarising many of the letters (see 166), Benkovitz is insightful about Blunden’s poems written during the period: they are ‘about his own emotions’, A ‘First Impression’ (1a) about his grief at the loss of his daughter and joy at seeing other children, The Daimyo’s Pond (1b) about his loneliness, and even The Author’s Last Words to His Students (18d) ‘is not about his students but about himself’. Japanese Garland (18), in the end, ‘puts Blunden in the mainstream of English poets classified as romantic’, for its poetry represents ‘the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling” . . . provoked by some object—a pond, a tempest, a walk in Nara—and the emotion was correlated with it so that his apparent incitement is the object and the real one the emotion which it produces and with which it correlates’. Includes holographic facsimiles in Blunden’s hand of The Inn Window, Fukuoka (65) and in a Park at Kyoto (84).





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