Focusing on two sets of classical-style poems describing the experience of climbing up the Eiffel Tower and gazing upon the moon in exploratory overseas voyages, this contribution explores the visual imagination of the world (shijie) found in late Qing poetry. Instead of presenting an argument about the “revolutionary” transformation of classical poetry and poetics, this article shows how mediated poetic visions, fraught with complexity and tension, were a contested arena of conventional rhetoric and new travel experiences. It accordingly explores the underexamined terrain of the recurring tropes of “categorical associations” (lianlei ) and poetic empathy that structured late Qing poets' encounters with the “new world.”

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