Pioneers Traveling between Spain and China: the Transregional Image Construction of Battlefield Poets During the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945)

Based on the spacial feature of travelling between China and Spain, a circle of Chinese poets during the Sino-Japanese War gathered in parallel to the Auden Generation, a group of battlefield poets including Julian Bell. After his nearly one-year teaching occupation in Wu Han University, Julian Bell rushed to the frontier of the Spanish Civil War from July 1936, and then died from plane bombardment, which aroused a small scale commemorative activity among exiled literati in Hong Kong, typified by an essay A Memory from Bell’s most valued Chinese student Er Ma 馬耳(Junjian Ye). Mostly the Chinese mourning essays indicated transregional trails of poets between Spain and China, which to some extent became a popular spacial theme. The image of battlefield poets included the renowned Auden Generation that joined the Left Wing in the 1930s, such as W. H. Auden, Cecil Day-Lewis, Stephen Spender and Christopher Isherwood, with whom Auden came to visit China during the first half of 1938 and published the rather famous travel-notes compilation Journey to A War. Chinese translators and reviewers also traced back to George Gordon Byron, and took him as a literary inspiration. The created image of a poetic community not only exerted a profound influence on the Jiuye (nine leaves) School, but also proved suggestive of the tension between Chinese and Western poetic concept as well as literary traditions. What’s more, different versions of Chinese translation works also represented international trend and spacial interactive experience during WWII.

Track: 

  • East Asian Studies