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Modern Japanese Fiction: Persistence of the Nation, Empire, and Self-Identity
ALIT 234
Spring 2007
Section: 01  

The course will examine a wide range of Japanese fiction whose plots revolve around the cultural dilemma of modern Japanese subjects. Our main focus will be on the crucial relationship between the production of literature and the experience of historical struggles in the making of modern Japan. At first, we will look at how the concept of the "novel," originally imported as an accoutrement of Western influences, grew into a distinctive literary form. Then, we will consider how a "unification of spoken and written language" known as "genbun itchi" had served to effectuate a transparency of literary expression. After grasping the magnitude of the "genbun itchi" as cognate with nascent nationalist consciousness, we will look into various trajectories of literary trends: fetishization of the colonial Other, the rise of proletarian literature, aestheticization of rural impoverished Japan, narrativization of wartime and postwar memories. The authors covered in the class will include: Natsume Soseki, Mori Ogai, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, Shiga Naoya, and Kawabata Yasunari. Aside from reading primary texts by these canonical authors, we will regularly scrutinize recent theoretical approaches in Japanese literary studies. Through textual and contextual readings, the class will emphasize the interlocking structure of industrial modernity, imperialist nationalism, and colonial encounters between the West and the East.

Essential Capabilities: Speaking, Writing
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA AL&L
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on DEC-03-2023
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