Modernist writers built on the experiences of Nineteenth-century Americans who embraced the arts and letters of China and Japan. Some traveled to the Far East while others explored galleries and libraries in the United States, England and France. For all of them, an immersion in "Oriental" aesthetics seems to have prepared them to become "modern."
Leo Stein, who with his sister Gertrude would become an important collector and patron of modern painters, and Hutchins Hapgood, who would found the Provincetown Players, toured Japan together for several months after their graduations from Harvard in 1892.
Hutchins Hapgood. A.MS. itinerary of trip to Japan. Ca. 1895-96.
Hapgood records his trip with Stein. Their longest stays were at Kyoto, a center for ancient Japanese history and art, three weeks in all, and Tokyo.
Leo Stein. Autograph letter signed to Gertrude Stein. Kyoto, December 22, 1895.
Leo Stein sends his address in Kyoto to his sister. The Steins began to acquire Japanese prints when they lived in Oakland and added to their collection in Paris.
The Twentieth Century: American Modernists:
Harriet Monroe and the "Imagists"
Ezra Pound and Fenollosa
H.D., Amy Lowell and John Gould Fletcher
Katherine Anne Porter and Arthur Davison Ficke
Eastern Themes and Modernist Theater; Eugene O'Neill
William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore
E.E. Cummings and Gertrude Stein