The literary career of Uchida Hyakken (1889–1971) encompassed a wide variety of styles and genres, including fiction, zuihitsu (essays), war diaries, poetry, travelogues, and children’s stories. In discussing his oeuvre, critics have circumscribed Hyakken to a private literary realm detached from the era in which he wrote.Rachel DiNitto provides a critical corrective by locating in Hyakken’s simple yet powerful literary language a new way to appreciate the various literary reactions to the modernization of the early decades of the twentieth century and a means to open up a literary space of protest, an alternate intellectual response to the era of militarism.This book takes up Hyakken’s fiction and essays written during Japan’s prewar years to investigate the intersection of his literature with the material and discursive surroundings of the time: a consumer-oriented print culture; the popular entertainment of film; the capitalist and cultural force of an emergent middle class; a planned, yet sprawling metropolis; and the war machine of an expanding Japanese empire. Emerging from this analysis is a writer who relied on the quotidian language of the everyday and the symbols of cultural modernism to counter the harsh realities of modernization and imperialism and to express sentiments contrary to the mainstream ideological rhetoric of the time.
Yanagita Kunio (1875–1962) was a public intellectual who played a pivotal role in shaping modern Japan’s cultural identity. A self-taught folk scholar and elite bureaucrat, he promoted folk studies in Japan. So extensive was his role that he has been compared with the fabled Grimm Brothers of Germany and the great British folklorist James G. Frazer (1854–1941), author of The Golden Bough. This monograph is only the second book-length English-language examination of Yanagita, and it is the first analysis that moves beyond a biographical account of his pioneering work in folk studies.An eccentric but insightful critic of Japan’s rush to modernize, Yanagita offers a compelling array of rebuttals to mainstream social and political trends in his carefully crafted writings. Through a close reading of Yanagita’s interdisciplinary texts, which comment on a wide range of key cultural issues that characterized the first half of Japan’s twentieth century, Melek Ortabasi seeks to reevaluate the historical significance of his work. Ortabasi’s inquiry simultaneously exposes, discursively, some of the fundamental assumptions we embrace about modernity and national identity in Japan and elsewhere.
The Tale of Genji (ca. 1008), by noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, is known for its sophisticated renderings of fictional characters’ minds and its critical perspectives on the lives of the aristocracy of eleventh-century Japan. Unreal Houses radically rethinks the Genji by focusing on the figure of the house. Edith Sarra examines the narrative’s fictionalized images of aristocratic mansions and its representation of the people who inhabit them, exploring how key characters in the Genji think about houses in both the architectural and genealogical sense of the word.Through close readings of the Genji and other Heian narratives, Unreal Houses elucidates the literary fabrication of social, architectural, and affective spaces and shows how the figure of the house contributes to the structuring of narrative sequences and the expression of relational nuances among fictional characters. Combining literary analysis with the history of gender, marriage, and the built environment, Sarra opens new perspectives on the architectonics of the Genji and the feminine milieu that midwifed what some have called the world’s first novel.
Browse our collection.
See BiblioVault's publisher services.
Files for college accessibility offices.
UChicago Accessibility Resources
BiblioVault ® 2001 - 2023
The University of Chicago Press