The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

Empson, William (1906–1984)

  • Stuart Christie
Living reference work entry



English poet and critic, William Empson (燕卜蓀) (1906–1984), is widely appreciated as an innovating and nodal figure whose life experience and criticism, particularly throughout the 1930s and 1940s, documented the foreigner’s experience of global cities situated on the flanges of Western understanding. Working in Tokyo and Beijing before and after the Second World War, Empson was among the earliest and foremost advocates for literary globalization within and beyond English letters and, perhaps most especially, for the decolonization abroad of those elite traditions that had nurtured him and which, prior to 1949, remained models for higher learning far from England. Empson accordingly remains a significant figure for the study of the global city, because his work captures (and to a great extent was defined...

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  1. Arrowsmith, Rupert, ed. 2016. The face of the Buddha by William Empson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hong Kong Baptist UniversityHong KongChina