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Japanese Literature Tradition to New
Transcript of Japanese Literature Tradition to New
Love Suicides at Sonezaki
What are some Japanese traditional values?
EDO ERA (16-18th century)
Ruled by Samural Class
MEIJI ERA (18th-1912)
Reform and Social Change
TAISHO ERA (1912-1926)
Democracy / Popular Culture
Literature in Taisho Era: New Currents
Modernism: Tradition of the New
Akutagawa Ryunosuke (1892—1927)
was one of the greatest Taisho Modernists.
In a Grove
In a Grove
Think of a specific experience from your own life in which two witnesses (or participants) of the same event recalled it quite differently.
In this modernist literature,
In a Grove
, which one is a “true” account?
The traveling Buddhist priest
The old woman (the mother of Masago)
The slain man’s wife (Masago)
The slain man (Takehiko)
What does Akutagawa accomplish by telling the same story from seven viewpoints?
What are the motives behind the different characters' accounts of what happened in the grove?
What attitude does the story reveal toward writers who put personal experience at the center of their works?
Personal fictions of “I-novelists”
A sense of Contemporaneity is that Japanese writers could be at the forefront of the latest developments in the literature and culture of the world.
An attempt to reject old habits of thought while expressing contemporary history in all its chaos, anxiety, technological development, and rapid change.
New Ways of Looking
Break away from established rules, traditions and conventions.
Fresh ways of looking at man’s position and function in the universe
“The Past is dead. God is dead.”
Emotion and self-will superseded reason and virtue.
New and Experimental Forms and Styles
How language is used.
Integrating, restorative force, a remedy for the uncertainty of the modern world.
“Ways of knowing” is emphasized.
Criticism of the preceding century’s “positivism”.
Perhaps because he wrote his first story in 1914 and his last in 1927, shortly before his suicide, his career is closely identified with the Taishô period (1912-1924).
Point of view and narrative form
Akutagawa seems to have had a greater interest in how stories are told as opposed to what they tell. From this point of view borrowing from other works freed him to experiment with point of view and other aspects of narrative form. He shared his taste for experimentation with many modernists, not only in Japan but also in Europe and North and South America.
7 subjective accounts of the same event
In a Grove
" consists of seven subjective accounts of the same events.
Personal motive of each witness
Each account is detailed and thus appears to be accurate, but taken together they suggest that the "witnesses" may have personal motives for giving their versions of the chain of events.
Discrepancies among the accounts
Close reading reveals discrepancies among the accounts—for example regarding who killed the husband, how and why the woman fled the grove, and what happened to the husband's short sword.