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Principles of Poetry (Shi no genri)

96 PrinciplesOfPoetry
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This work comprises the first complete English translation of Shi no Genri, one of the most important attempts at a theory of literature written in the modern period. HAGIWARA SAKUTARO (1886-1942) was not only an original poet but also a perceptive and lonely literary critic. This book, in his own words, is not a collection of fragmentary writings, but a thoroughly systematic and organized discourse on poetry and other related arts. He sees the future of Japanese poetry as being tied to the characteristics of Japanese language, and even to the destiny of Japan. | 192 pages


  • Acknowledgment
  • Translators' Introduction
  • Author's Preface for the Reader
  • Preface to the New Edition (1938)
  • Introduction: What Is Poetry?

Part One: On Content

  • Subjectivity and Objectivity
  • Music and the Fine Arts
  • Romanticism and Realism
  • Abstract Ideas and Concrete Ideas
  • Art for Life's Sake and Art for Art's Sake
  • Expression and Contemplative Observation
  • Emotive Meaning and Intellective Meaning
  • The Essential Nature of Poetry
  • Poetry in Life: A General View
  • Poetry in Art: A General View
  • The Unique Character of Japanese Literature
  • Poets and Artists
  • Poetry and the Novel
  • Poetry and the Masses

Part Two: On Form

  • Verse and Prose
  • Boundary between Poetry and Non-Poetry
  • Depiction and Emotion-Symbolization
  • Epic and Lyric
  • Symbolism
  • Formalism and Liberalism
  • Sentiment and Passion for Power
  • From Romanticism to Parnassianism
  • From Symbolism to More Recent Poetic Schools
  • Subjectivity and Objectivity in Poetry
  • The Paradoxical Spirit of Poetry
  • Characteristics of Japanese Poetry
  • The Contemporary Scene of Japanese Poetry


  • Insular Japan or Cosmopolitan Japan?
  • On the Occasion of a Reprint


  • Chester WANG is retired as the East Asian Studies Bibliographer at the University of Wisconsin. A native of China, he received his doctorate in history at the University of Chicago and subsequently taught at Roosevelt University and the University of Southern California. He recently published an English translation of Fung Youlan's Xin Zhi Yen under the title of A New Treatise on the Methdology of Metaphysics (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1997); and a Chinese translation of H.G. Creel's Confucius and the Chinese Way under the title of Kongzi yu Zhongguo Zhi Dao (Taipei: Web, 2003). He is currently working on a Chinese philosophic text.

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