Shelley’s “Ozymandias”

The past few weeks have been mostly just reading, from historical texts and documents to poems and literature, and making connections between them. The first of these came in the shower, the best place I find for coming up with ideas. I wasn’t even thinking of my project, when out of nowhere I realized the significance of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias.” During the first half of the nineteenth century, the British Museum believed that the only high art of ancient times was the work of the Greeks and Romans. Anything from the near East or Egypt was simply considered a historical artifact, and had no artistic value or merit. Shelley’s poem works to change that. He takes the carving of the pharaoh Ramesses II in the British Museum, and turns it into a piece of art, through the art of his verse. In this way, the poem becomes a reactionary and revolutionary piece against the older, conservative policies of the British Museum, which fits in nicely with Shelley’s own political beliefs.

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Translation of Li’s Poem “Cicada”

Just translated another Li’s poem and I feel it’s really hard to keep the poem’s original tone. There’re only five syllables in each line in the original work, while iambic pentameter barely allows me to extract most literal meanings. Therefore, I let go all his fancy language, which is almost untranslatable. The original poem doesn’t have any pronoun, which makes it mostly consist of many pictures rather than the poet’s conversation with a cicada.

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Different Views about the Romantic Theme in Li Shang-yin’s poetry

After roughly looking over the criticisms of the most important scholars over the past 10 centuries, I found many people, though have reached a consensus that Li is a romantic poet, hold different view on the themes of his love poems. There’re basically three opinions.

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A Possible Reason for Li Shang-yin to Write Vague Poetry

Before  started the research this summer, Li Shang-yin to me was no more than a celebrated, talented and may be unfortunate poet. I loved reading his poetry, but I didn’t think too much about why he got so distinct writing styles, how those styles might be connected with his life experience, and why the poetry written during his late years are so vague.

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