The time travels of a handscroll: past and present in Zhai Yongming’s landscape poem “Roaming the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang”

  • Justyna JaguścikEmail author


The paper discusses Zhai Yongming’s 翟永明 (b. 1955) most recent long poem, “Roaming the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang” (随黄公望游富春山, 2015). In this text, Zhai revisits a Yuan handscroll, the classic artistic medium of literati aesthetics, and turns it into the departure point for her own exploration of modern Chinese poetry. As in many of her other poems, in this work Zhai creatively navigates her way through poetic legacies from the remote past in order to comment upon the present socio-cultural situation. For example, she questions the hegemony of the male voice in the Chinese poetic tradition and references the topic of the possibility of gendered, genuinely female, poetics. She also introduces a contemporary ecocritical perspective into the discussion of the genre of landscape poetry when she turns to the ongoing transformation of the natural environment by the forces of modernization. The paper offers a preliminary inquiry into the dense text with a focus on its gendered ecocritical edge. From this vantage point, it seeks to shed light on the creative tensions between past and present in Zhai’s poetry.


Chinese poetry Landscape Women’s poetry Ecocriticism Gender 


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© Academy for International Communication of Chinese Culture 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, Chinese StudiesUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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