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Knowing the East

ISBN-10: 0691119023
ISBN-13: 9780691119021
Edition: 2004
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Description: From the time he was a young man, Paul Claudel was fascinated by Asian cultures. The poet, playwright, and literary critic entered the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat to China and Japan while in his mid-twenties. He spent 18 years  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 9/19/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 184
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638

From the time he was a young man, Paul Claudel was fascinated by Asian cultures. The poet, playwright, and literary critic entered the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat to China and Japan while in his mid-twenties. He spent 18 years between 1895 and 1927 as a tireless observer of both countries' nature, customs, and art. One result is this beautifully-written volume of 61 prose poems Claudel composed over the course of a decade. They have been artfully translated from the French by poet and scholar James Lawler. Lawler provides the most crisp and accurate translation now available of Claudel's work, which was first collected in a single volume and published in France in 1907. Included are notes on the poems as well as a biographical note on the poet. Lawler presents the author as a gifted observer who discovered himself in his experience of the East. Claudel felt that, without realizing it, he had been destined to encounter this exotic new world. "There are countries we accept," he wrote, "that we marry and straightaway adopt as we do a woman, as if they had been made for us and we for them." Informed in part by a religious epiphany that Claudel experienced in his youth,Knowing the Eastreflects the author's passion for the natural and spiritual worlds. He writes of topics as diverse as coconut palms, banyans, Japanese pines; the Yang-tse; Confucian, Buddhist, and Shinto temples and tombs; hermitages, festivals for the dead, rice-harvests and torrential rain. Filled with resonant images,Knowing the Eastis a feast for the senses--and a book to be savored again and again.

Paul Claudel was a poet, dramatist, essayist, and religious thinker of great power and originality whose works are suffused with his ardent Catholicism. He had a distinguished career in the French consular and diplomatic service, which enabled him to spend many years in the Far East, North and South America, and Europe. Almost all of Claudel's work embodies an expression of his deep Roman Catholic faith and is an attempt to share its truth with others. His poetic expression is at once symbolic and lyrical, expressing the joy, beauty, and mystery of existence. Among his most important plays are The City, The Break of Noon, The Tidings Brought to Mary (1912), and The Satin Slipper (1928-1939).

Introduction
Biographical Notes
Note on the Text
1895-1900 The Coconut Palm
Pagoda
The City at Night
Gardens
The Feast of the Dead in the Seventh Month
Sea Thoughts
Cities
Theater
Graves--Noises
The Entrance to the Earth
Religion of the Sign
The Banyan
Toward the Mountain
The Upper Sea
The Temple of Consciousness
October
November
Painting
The Contemplative
December
Storm
The Pig
Drifting
Doors
The River
Rain
Night on the Verandah
The Moon's Splendor
Dreams
Heat
Considering the City
Going down the River
The Bell
The Tomb
The Sadness of Water
Sailing by Night
Halt on the Canal
The Pine Tree
The Golden Ark in the Forest
The Wanderer
Here and There
The Sedentary
The Land Viewed from the Sea
Salutation
The Suspended House
The Spring
Noon Tide
Peril of the Sea
A Proposition on Light
Hours in the Garden
Concerning the Brain
Leaving the Land
1900-1905 The Lamp and the Bell
The Deliverance of Amaterasu
Visit
Rice
The Full Stop
Libation to the Coming Day
The Day of the Feast-of-All-Rivers
The Yellow Hour
Dissolution
Notes on the Poems

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