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Quaint, ExquisiteVictorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan$
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Grace E. Lavery

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183626

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183626.001.0001

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The Pre-Raphaelite Haiku

The Pre-Raphaelite Haiku

Chapter:
(p.81) 3 The Pre-Raphaelite Haiku
Source:
Quaint, Exquisite
Author(s):

Grace E. Lavery

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691183626.003.0004

This chapter narrates the establishment of Japanese-style haiku poetry as the definitive genre of exquisite aestheticism within English-language verse, a position that haiku has occupied since the outset of the 20th century until the present time. It argues that, in a domain beyond the university—but certainly encompassing the kindergarten, the doctor's waiting room, and the online message board, haiku has only consolidated its position as the apogee of a kind of formally contrived poetry that, howsoever contrived, works, as the exquisite always does. It has done so, not by repeating the modernist impulsive sometimes ascribed to it, but by bypassing modernist poetics entirely and activating the quaint Victorian versification strategies that, at its origin, haiku was designed to preserve. In doing so, the chapter discusses one particular intervention into late-Victorian literary culture. This is done by a writer, Yone Noguchi, who is generally understood, and understood himself, as an outsider to it.

Keywords:   Yone Noguchi, haiku, poetry, exquisite aestheticism, Victorian versification, late-Victorian literary culture

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