“Shaped Like the Island of Newfoundland”:
The Japanese Influence on Pilgrimage in John Steffler’s
The Grey Islands Cover Image
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“Shaped Like the Island of Newfoundland”: The Japanese Influence on Pilgrimage in John Steffler’s The Grey Islands
“Shaped Like the Island of Newfoundland”: The Japanese Influence on Pilgrimage in John Steffler’s The Grey Islands

Author(s): Shoshannah Ganz
Subject(s): Novel
Published by: Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu
Keywords: Canada; Newfoundland; Japan; Pilgrimage; Buddhist; Catholic; Nature; Island; East; West;

Summary/Abstract: ‘Shaped like the Island of Newfoundland’: The Japanese Influence on Pilgrimage in John Steffler’s The Grey Islands” explores the impact of John Steffler’s long-time obsession with Japanese literature and of the underlying Shinto and Buddhist philosophies on his poetry. In examining the poetry and journey of The Grey Islands, this essay shows the various ways in which the Japanese literature and philosophy have influenced the poetic representations of the relationship between man and nature, how they shaped the poet’s awareness, use of stillness, and infused his work with continual reminders of impermanence, thereby allowing for an altered sense of time and the supernatural, as well as legitimizing his travel and retreat to the Grey Islands. These very Japanese components of Steffler’s vision intersect in interesting ways with the geographical place of Newfoundland in his work. Moreover, there are many ways of viewing Steffler’s journey of The Grey Islands as a pilgrimage, but this paradigm is necessarily changed by the shape of Newfoundland and the influence of Eastern thought.

  • Issue Year: 14/2014
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 53-70
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: English