Tsutomu Takahashi

Tsutomu TAKAHASHI, Japan


Professor Takahashi, former vice-president of ASLE-Japan, teaches American literature at Kyushu University, Japan. His academic focus has been on Henry David Thoreau and other nineteenth century writers; his book on Thoreau came out in 2012, and he has co-edited 4 other books. His recent article on ecocriticism appeared in Ecoambiguity, Community, and Development, edited by Scott Slovic, et al. Professor Takahashi completed his Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University.

Books:

Ecoambiguity, Community, and Development (co-authored). Ed. Scott Slovic,  

 Swarnalatha Rangarajan, and Vidya Sarveswaran. Lexington, 2014.

Transatlantic Imagination (co-edited with Katsunori Takeuchi) Tokyo:

 Sairyusha, 2013. (in Japanese)

Concord Jeremiad: Thoreau’s Rhetoric of the Age. Tokyo: Kinseido, 2012. (in

 Japanese)

Critical Essays on Walden: World Literature Series (co-edited with Katsumi

 Kamioka). Tokyo: Mineruba Shobo, 2006. (in Japanese).

Dialogue between Nature and Literature: International Symposium in

 Okinawa (co-edited with Katsunori Yamazato, Scott Slovic, and Ken’ichi

 Noda). Tokyo: Sairyusha, 2013. (in Japanese)

A Reader’s Guide to Nature Writing 120. Chief editor. Tokyo: Mineruba  

 Shobo, 2000. (in Japanese)

         


         


Title: The Poetics of the Wild: From Thoreau to Gary Snyder

Abstract: Ko Un, a celebrated Korean poet and long-time friend of Gary Snyder’s, says in an interview, “For Snyder, the wild stands for the infinity of human possibilities.” Doubtlessly, both the Korean poet and his American friend share the Buddhist worldview that human culture is closely linked, not dualistically opposed, to natural richness and diversity. We may perhaps assume that Snyder is enabled to transcend the Judeo-Christian worldview and Cartesian dualism through his contact with Oriental philosophy and ethics. In fact, however, his inspiration and source of influence is neither Asian nor Native American, but it is from a genuine American who lived in the heart of American civilization and territorial expansion: Henry David Thoreau. In his attempt to redefine the concept of the wild in The Practice of the Wild, Snyder compares his etymological pursuit to a chase of “a gray fox trotting off through the forest, ducking behind bushes, going in and out of sight.” Snyder’s reference obviously resonates with “Winter Animals” chapter of Walden where Thoreau describes a story of a hunted fox that ran in circle and was shot by the man waiting at the original spot. Thus, Snyder’s “gray fox” or the meaning of the wild “swings us around to Thoreau’s ‘awful ferity’ shared by virtuous people and lovers.” In my paper, I will investigate how Snyder’s concept and practice of the wild developed and were enlarged upon from Thoreau’s discussion of the wild in his essay “Walking.” I will particularly focus upon the concept of hybridity, or the socio-erotic union of two opposing spheres of life, frequently enacted and embodied on a mythical plane. My talk will inevitably swing us around to Snyder’s discussion of a mythical tale, “The Woman Who Married a Bear,” at the end of The Practice of the Wild.