By Adele Marion Fielde
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Extra resources for A Pronouncing and Defining Dictionary of the Swatow Dialect: Arranged According to Syllables and Tones
Foremost among such theories were efforts during the early 1920s to tie new poetry to a collective national subject through the categories of folk song (geyao or minyao) and commoner poetry (pingmin shi). Before looking at the specific—and, as we shall see, already familiar—strategies used to articulate new poetry to folk song and commoner poetry, it must be said that when individual poets and critics recommended these as sources for new poetry, their statements constructed—and were constructed by—positions within the bifurcated discourse of the collective and individual linguistic national subject.
Voice above all meant the voice of the poet—here portrayed as a rebellious vanguard figure whose very reason for being is to find and express that latent interior identity without which a nation sinks into oblivion: It seems a small thing when poets become extinct, till the sense of desolation hits. To praise the true greatness of your native land takes introspection and knowing others—awareness comes from careful comparison. Once awareness finds its voice, each sound strikes the soul, clear, articulate, unlike ordinary sounds.
Attempts to imagine a national voice of poetry, however, came at least a decade earlier. Most notable here is Lu Xun’s “On the Power of Mara Poetry,” perhaps the most compelling text of its time to introduce a nationalist imagination of poetic sound. The 1908 essay, typically read as a manifesto lamenting China’s state of stagnation during the waning years of the Qing dynasty, recommends for emulation a pantheon of great national poets from Byron and Shelley to Pushkin, Lermontov, and Petöfi. But beyond content, Lu Xun also achieves a figurative impact in the essay.
A Pronouncing and Defining Dictionary of the Swatow Dialect: Arranged According to Syllables and Tones by Adele Marion Fielde