Intermediality and interculturality in Jose Juan Tablada's poetry: East Asian culture and the 'visual turn'
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date07/12/2022
This thesis investigates two key themes in the Mexican writer José Juan Tablada’s (1871 - 1945) poetry: intermediality between poetic text and visual art, and interculturality between cultures of East Asia and Mexico. As previous studies have noticed that many of Tablada’s poems on visual art are also related to East Asian culture, the study finds this point worthy of further discussion and investigates the potential correlation between interculturality and intermediality in Tablada’s poetry. This thesis explores the chronological evolution in Tablada’s poetry collections El florilegio (1899, 1904), Al sol y bajo la luna (1918), Un día (1919), Li-Po y otros poemas (1920), and El jarro de flores (1922) as regards their poetic texts, typographical arrangements, and illustrations. In the early stage, Tablada’s poetry related to East Asian topics shows strong orientalist influence from French translations. Starting from Al sol y bajo la luna, Tablada’s poems of East Asian themes intertwine with East Asian visual art including prints and seals. In Un día, Li-Po y otros poemas, and El jarro de flores, Tablada’s poems use visual presentation such as illustrations and non-linear typographical arrangements to convey extra-textual meaning. Chapter One and Two apply Liliane Louvel’s theory of ‘pictoriality’ and scheme of polarities in ekphrasis to study the intermedial transposition between painting and poetry in Tablada’s pictorial writing. Chapter Three and Four adopt approaches and conclusions of cognitive research into the reader’s perception of non-linear poetic texts to discuss the verbal visuality in Tablada’s visual poetry. The thesis concludes that, through French and English translations, East Asian culture influenced Tablada’s intermedial writing and inspired his ‘visual turn’ in poetic composition. The poetry-painting hybrid form such as ehon, the visual-verbal signifying writing system known as ideograms, as well as the painter-poet tradition in East Asian culture inspired Tablada to pursue ‘graphical-lyrical simultaneity’ in poetry and prompted his experiment of visual writing. Through the investigation into Tablada’s poetry, this thesis finds that interculturality might lead to the intermedial writing. This thesis contributes to the study of visual poetry with underlying influence from East Asian culture.