Student Work

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-24-2017

Abstract

A 2016-2017 William Prize for best essay in East Asian Studies was awarded to Ryan Matthew Hintzman (Silliman College '17) for his essay submitted to the Department of Comparative Literature, "Chinese Wines and Foreign Urns: Making Objects of Lyric.” (Edward Kamens, Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies, advisor.)

Ryan Hintzman’s essay, Chinese Wines and Foreign Urns: Making Objects of Lyric is a work of awe-inspiring erudition, vision, and ambition. Ranging far and wide among traditional and more recent theories of the lyric and moving boldly from 8th century poems in Japanese to 19th and 20th century poems in English, Hintzman articulates a distinctive notion of lyric (concerned with the poem’s self-knowing of its past and future, and its materiality or “thingness”) that is largely derived from readings of Romantic and post-Romantic poets (i.e. de Man's work), but in a way that opens up new possibilities for reading premodern works and actually clarifies or extends the critical problems posed by Romantic/modernist texts. This is a profound accomplishment. This essay is as much about where its author has been as it is about where he—and literary studies at large—might go from here. Hintzman is both respectful of and dissatisfied with his forebears, as any possessor of a fertile critical mind should be. He will certainly go forward to pursue more readings and re-readings that will further complicate his conception of “how the poem works,” what it makes, what it does, and particularly with respect to the uta, the Japanese poem. I know of no more intelligent and compelling readings of the poems from the Man’yōshū than those presented by Hintzman in this essay (by a long shot). If his readings of Crane, Keats, Shelley, and Yeats stand as tall and strong as do his treatments of these very old and much worked-over Japanese poems, he will have shown a truly remarkable capacity that few scholars of any generation have been able to manage.