In 1920, the Categorized Selection of Vernacular Poetry (Fenlei baihua shixuan), one of the first anthologies of modern Chinese poetry, was published in Shanghai. The piece that opens it is a translation by Guo Moruo of a poem by Goethe, «Dämmrung senkte sich von oben». It places thus the anthology under the patronage of a foreign classic, and is the recognition of the translated literature’s importance. The new Chinese poetry claims a place in the Weltliteratur: this project involves the creation of a new national poetic language, which does not sever its links with classical Chinese literature, and which experiments with foreign prosodic forms. It is precisely the process of translation that contributes greatly to such experiments.
Chinese new poetry. Categorised selection of vernacular poetry. Translation. Guo Moruo. Goethe.