Research Expertise and Interest
classical Chinese poetry and poetics (3rd-11th centuries), traditional Chinese literary theory, phenomenology, translation, comparative literature, aesthetics, epistemology
Paula Varsano is interested in the connections and disjunctions between poetic writing and philosophical thought in pre-modern China. She has just completed her book manuscript, Knowing People and Being Known: Lyric Subjectivity in Traditional Chinese Poetry, which seeks to understand "subjectivity" through its varied representation in Chinese poetic writing from the earliest times through the 8th century. She is also the author of Tracking the Banished Immortal: The Poetry of Li Bo and its Critical Reception (Hawaii, 2003), and the editor of The Rhetoric of Hiddenness in Traditional Chinese Culture (SUNY, 2016). Her articles pertain to such questions as the literary uses of landscape and spatiality; configurations of the self in poetry; and the intersection of language and the ineffable, sometimes with attention to the problems these practices present for translation.