BE. Witter Bynner

12. ‘Patterns of Eastern Culture’. Review of The Asian Legacy in American Life, edited by Arthur Christy. Saturday Review of Literature, 21 July 1945, pp. 12-13.

  Reprinted in Prose Pieces.  

In spite of reservations about Japan elsewhere, Bynner adopts here a stance uncommonly stated aloud in the United States of 1945. At a time when ‘allied with one Asian nation, we are warring against another’, Christy’s edition is ‘timely and pertinent’. Bynner reminds of a period in American history when ‘aided by France, we were warring against Britain’, but the cultures of both remained ‘respected and cherished’. It is ‘well time’, therefore, that a book such as Christy’s has considered ‘our past, present, and future debt’ to Asia and ‘deal[t] fairly not only with the cultures of China, India, and the Near East, but with Japan’s also’. Having written this, Bynner finds Fletcher’s contribution to Christy’s work, about the influence of East Asian tradition in modern American poetry (BH15), ‘more theory than evidence’ and better as ‘a good chapter in an autobiography’ than a ‘contribution to the purpose of the present volume’. Comments about the connection between East-Asian and Native American cultures demonstrate again the degree to which Bynner anticipates Gary Snyder’s later concerns (see also 6 and CA14e). Reprinted in 19.





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