Nissan Seminar: Matsuo Bashô 松尾芭蕉 and the Poetics of Fûkyô風狂

Convener(s): Professor Hugh Whittaker, Dr Natalia Doan and Dr Giulio Pugliese

Speaker(s): Professor Peipei Qiu, Chair of the Department of Chinese and Japanese at Vassar College

These seminars will occur live and will not be recorded. Unauthorized recording is strictly prohibited.

Please click on the seminar title to register in advance and receive the meeting details.

Matsuo Bashô 松尾芭蕉 and the Poetics of Fûkyô風狂


Matsuo Bashô (1644-1694), known as one of Japan’s greatest poets, celebrated fûkyô (poetic eccentricity) as an important theme in his poetry. Why is deliberate eccentricity considered a poetic quality? What aesthetic, philosophical, and spiritual ideas are embodied in his eccentric personas? How the poetics of eccentricity formed and transformed over time and across cultures? This webinar explores these questions by examining selected poems and prose by Bashô, his predecessors, and disciples. Relevant Chinese classics are examined in discussing the cultural and philosophical contexts. The discussion draws on my book Bashô and the Dao: The Zhuangzi and the Transformation of Haikai


Peipei Qiu is Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred Lichtenstein Chair Professor and Advisor to the Class of 2021 at Vassar College.  She received a BA and MA from Peking University and M.Phil. and Ph.D from Columbia University. Her previous publications include Bashô and the Dao: The Zhuangzi and the Transformation of Haikai and  Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves. Her media appearances include BBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Voice of America, among others.