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Voices of the Dead

Tao Yuanming and Emily Dickinson’s Poems on Their Own Death

Qin Liyan 秦立彦    Peking University, China    

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abstract

Ancient Chinese poet Tao Yuanming (365-427) and American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) both write poems on a peculiar theme: the post-death condition with the voice ‘I’ in the poems presented as already dead. This paper explores this rare theme in the two poets and analyzes their similarities and differences in this respect. Both poets are hermits, sharpening their sensitivity to life, death and the natural world. Tao’s vision of the after-death world is very certain, and forms a continuous and unified narrative, while Dickinson describes a new after-death scenario each time, highlighting her uncertainty of it. Yet, after all, these poems by Tao and Dickinson perhaps tell us more about their obsession with life, rather than death.

Submitted
July 16, 2016
Language
IT
ISBN (PRINT)
978-88-6969-098-3
ISBN (EBOOK)
978-88-6969-095-2

Keywords: Emily DickinsonTao YuanmingDeath

Copyright: © 2016 Qin Liyan 秦立彦. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.