Prologue Setting Repetition in Its Larger Cultural Context

Cecile Chu-chin Sun

in The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetry

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780226780207
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226780221 | DOI:
Prologue Setting Repetition in Its Larger Cultural Context

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This chapter explores the phenomena of repetition in English and Chinese lyric poetry. Repetition is at the center of all that defines the lyric as a unique art form and is the essential constituent of its very makeup. Repetition in sound creates the cadenced language of the lyric. The lyric, more than any other genre of literature thrives on repetition in sound, through rhythm and cadence, as well as in sense, through a centripetal sort of revolving around a complex of thoughts and feelings. All aesthetic expressions of repetition profoundly relate to our speculative responses to this universal phenomenon of repetition. This is definitely true with lyric poetry, especially in its sense repetition. The chapter begins by briefly surveying how Western and Chinese cultures consider repetition in its universal context. This survey is meant to highlight only those notions of repetition that help to delineate some of the important characteristics of one culture's ways of thinking in the context of the other, in order to situate the ensuing comparative study of poetry in a broader context of cultural orientations.

Keywords: repetition; cultural orientation; sense repetition; Chinese lyric poetry; English lyric poetry; rhythm; cadence

Chapter.  4742 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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