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the great wave; a splendid book

updated mon 7 apr 08


Lili Krakowski on sun 6 apr 08

I was looking for info on Okakura, and came across this book, "The Great
Wave", by Christopher Benfey. ISBN 0-375-50327-7
Subtitle is "Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics,and the Opening of

It is a delight to read, which is good enough. But for me it opened an
insight into Bernard Leach! "The Great Wave" covers the latter part of the
19th century when for this and that reason numbers of Western intellectuals
looked upon Japan as a mythical,
mysterious, wondrous place. And "adapted" Japan to their own needs.

Leach was born in 1887, and must have been affected by being in the East,
and later influenced by those Westerners influenced by Japan. He sort of
hopped back and forth between fire and frying pan.

"The Great Wave" also gives me some sort of inkling about why Leach was such
an influence .
There already was a good deal of Nipponophilia about, which WWII certainly
put on hold. But it was only on hold. Many
artists had already been impressed by Japanese art, and as many by what
earlier Westerners had done with Japanese influences.

I could write an essay. I won't. The book is available on the used book
market, at affordable prices.

Lili Krakowski

Be of good courage