Topographies of Japanese Modernism by Seiji Lippit

By Seiji Lippit

What occurs whilst a critique of modernity -a "revolt opposed to the traditions of the Western global" -is located inside a non-European context, the place the idea that of the trendy has been necessarily tied to just like the West? Seiji M. Lippit deals the 1st entire learn in English of jap modernist fiction of the Twenties and Nineteen Thirties. via shut readings of 4 top figures of this stream - Akutagawa, Yokomitsu, Kawabata, and Hayashi -Lippit goals to set up a theoretical and historic framework for the research of jap modernism. The Twenties and Nineteen Thirties witnessed a common feel of concern surrounding the establishment of literature, marked by means of either the unconventional politicization of literary perform and the explosion of latest sorts of cultural construction represented by way of mass tradition. by contrast backdrop, this learn lines the heterogeneous literary topographies of modernist writings. via an engagement with questions of illustration, subjectivity, and beliefs, it situates the disintegration of literary shape in those texts in the writers' exploration of the fluid borderlines of jap modernity.

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Topographies of Japanese Modernism

What occurs while a critique of modernity -a "revolt opposed to the traditions of the Western global" -is located inside of a non-European context, the place the concept that of the trendy has been unavoidably tied to a dead ringer for the West? Seiji M. Lippit deals the 1st finished examine in English of jap modernist fiction of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties.

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Inoue himself recognized this connection. In the same essay, he wrote: “Akutagawa’s Cogwheels may have indeed been, as people say, the literature of defeat. Yet, five years after Akutagawa’s death, what surrounds us today is no longer even the literature of defeat. The “defeat of literature” was thus a crisis for not only the “aesthetic school” (geijutsu-ha) but also Marxist writers, whose practice was necessarily premised on a faith in the political value of literary expression. The internal collapse of the ideology of literature in the s thus may offer a way to define modernism more specifically.

Akutagawa’s late writings reflect this shifting cultural and aesthetic landscape. More significantly, they mark the decline of a specific, historically determined conception of literature. Aeba Takao has found that for some Taisho writers and thinkers, what the concept of “self-cultivation” in fact  Disintegrating Mechanisms of Subjectivity signified was a rejection of a particularist notion of culture and a desire for universality. He quotes a passage from Abe Jiro’s Diary of Santaro (Santaro no nikki, –):“The fundamental motivation that drove us to seek cultivation was a desire to achieve a universal content.

16 What he admired most in a novel was its plot (suji), which he defined as “architectural beauty,” the ability to assemble in “geometric” fashion a variety of complex story lines: The appeal of plot, in other words, is the method of construction, the appeal of structure—an architectural beauty. It cannot be said that there is no artistic value in this. To exclude the appeal of plot is to discard the special privilege of the novel form. 17 Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s Last Writings  In distinguishing between material (zairyo) and construction (kumitate),Tanizaki was careful to emphasize that by “plot,” he was not referring simply to the narrative or story.

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