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Literature > Asian Literature

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Results 91-100 of 179

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Murder Most Modern Cover

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Murder Most Modern

Detective Fiction and Japanese Culture

Sari Kawana

The quintessential international genre, detective fiction often works under the guise of popular entertainment to expose its extensive readership to complex moral questions and timely ethical dilemmas. The first book-length study of interwar Japanese detective fiction, Murder Most Modern considers the important role of detective fiction in defining the country’s emergence as a modern nation-state.

 

Kawana explores the interactions between the popular genre and broader discourses of modernity, nation, and ethics that circulated at this pivotal moment in Japanese history. The author contrasts Japanese works by Edogawa Ranpo, Unno Juza, Oguri Mushitaro, and others with English-language works by Edgar Allan Poe, Dashiell Hammett, and Agatha Christie to show how Japanese writers of detective fiction used the genre to disseminate their ideas on some of the most startling aspects of modern life: the growth of urbanization, the protection and violation of privacy, the criminalization of abnormal sexuality, the dehumanization of scientific research, and the horrors of total war.

 

Kawana’s comparative approach reveals how Japanese authors of the genre emphasized the vital social issues that captured the attention of thrill-seeking readers-while eluding the eyes of government censors.

 

Sari Kawana is assistant professor of Japanese at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism Cover

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Nagai Kafu's Occidentalism

Defining the Japanese Self

Describes how writer Nagai Kafuµ (1879–1959) used his experience of the West to reconcile modernization and Japanese identity. Nagai Kafuµ (1879–1959) spent more time abroad than any other writer of his generation, firing the Japanese imagination with his visions of America and France. Applying the theoretical framework of Occidentalism to Japanese literature, Rachael Hutchinson explores Kafuµ’s construction of the Western Other, an integral part of his critique of Meiji civilization. Through contrast with the Western Other, Kafuµ was able to solve the dilemma that so plagued Japanese intellectuals—how to modernize and yet retain an authentic Japanese identity in the modern world. Kafuµ’s flexible positioning of imagined spaces like the “West” and the “Orient” ultimately led him to a definition of the Japanese Self. Hutchinson analyzes the wide range of Kafuµ’s work, particularly those novels and stories reflecting Kafuµ’s time in the West and the return to Japan, most largely unknown to Western readers and a number unavailable in English, along with his better-known depictions of Edo’s demimonde. Kafuµ’s place in Japan’s intellectual history and his influence on other writers are also discussed.

Naipaul's Strangers Cover

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Naipaul's Strangers

Dagmar Barnouw

From his reporting on Islamic true believers to his descriptions of the postcolonial world, V. S. Naipaul has been a controversial figure in contemporary letters. Winner of the Nobel Prize, Naipaul has traveled throughout the world, looking at its varied cultures and seeking out others' stories, recording and transforming them. His engagement with postcolonial cultures informs his novels, such as Guerrillas and A Bend in the River. However, it is his documentaries (such as Among the Believers and Beyond Belief) and his works that combine actual and fictional histories and memories (Finding the Center, The Enigma of Arrival, and A Way in the World) that best exhibit a growing awareness of the complexities of cultural difference -- and the incompleteness and uncertainty of understanding "strangers." In this book, Dagmar Barnouw explores the sophisticated strategies and experimentations that Naipaul employs in his cultural critique and in his enterprise of learning about and documenting the enduring strangeness of this world.

Nakagami, Japan Cover

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Nakagami, Japan

Buraku and the Writing of Ethnicity

Anne McKnight

How do you write yourself into a literature that doesn’t know you exist? This was the conundrum confronted by Nakagami Kenji (1946–1992), who counted himself among the buraku-min, Japan’s largest minority. His answer brought the histories and rhetorical traditions of buraku writing into the high culture of Japanese literature for the first time and helped establish him as the most canonical writer born in postwar Japan.

In Nakagami, Japan, Anne McKnight shows how the writer’s exploration of buraku led to a unique blend of fiction and ethnography—which amounted to nothing less than a reimagining of modern Japanese literature. McKnight develops a parallax view of Nakagami’s achievement, allowing us to see him much as he saw himself, as a writer whose accomplishments traversed both buraku literary arts and high literary culture in Japan.

As she considers the ways in which Nakagami and other twentieth-century writers used ethnography to shape Japanese literature, McKnight reveals how ideas about language also imagined a transfigured relation to mainstream culture and politics. Her analysis of the resulting “rhetorical activism” lays bare Nakagami’s unique blending of literature and ethnography within the context of twentieth-century ideas about race, ethnicity, and citizenship—in Japan, but also on an international scale.

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The New Asian City

Three-Dimensional Fictions of Space and Urban Form

Jini Kim Watson

Under Jini Kim Watson’s scrutiny, the Asian Tiger metropolises of Seoul, Taipei, and Singapore reveal a surprising residue of the colonial environment. Drawing on a wide array of literary, filmic, and political works, and juxtaposing close readings of the built environment, Watson demonstrates how processes of migration and construction in the hypergrowth urbanscapes of the Pacific Rim crystallize the psychic and political dramas of their colonized past and globalized present.

Examining how newly constructed spaces—including expressways, high-rises, factory zones, department stores, and government buildings—become figured within fictional and political texts uncovers how massive transformations of citizenries and cities were rationalized, perceived, and fictionalized. Watson shows how literature, film, and poetry have described and challenged contemporary Asian metropolises, especially around the formation of gendered and laboring subjects in these new spaces. She suggests that by embracing the postwar growth-at-any-cost imperative, they have buttressed the nationalist enterprise along neocolonial lines.

The New Asian City
provides an innovative approach to how we might better understand the gleaming metropolises of the Pacific Rim. In doing so, it demonstrates how reading cultural production in conjunction with built environments can enrich our knowledge of the lived consequences of rapid economic and urban development.

New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction Cover

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New Woman in Early Twentieth-Century Chinese Fiction

by Jin Feng

Jin Feng proposes that representation of the "new woman" in Communist Chinese fiction of the earlier twentieth century was paradoxically one of the ways in which male writers of the era explored, negotiated, and laid claim to their own emerging identity as "modern" intellectuals.

Noh Drama and

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Noh Drama and "The Tale of the Genji"

The Art of Allusion in Fifteen Classical Plays

Janet Emily Goff

The Japanese noh theater has enjoyed a rich, continuous history dating back to the Muromachi period (1336-1573), when virtually the entire repertoire was written. Some of the finest plays were inspired by the eleventh-century masterpiece of court literature, The Tale of Genji. In this detailed study of fifteen noh plays based upon the Genji, Janet Goff looks at how the novel was understood and appreciated by Muromachi audiences. A work steeped in the court poetry, or waka, tradition, the Genji in turn provided a source of inspiration and allusion for later poets, who produced a variety of handbooks and digests on the work as an aid in composing poetry. Drawing on such sources from the Muromachi period, Goff shows how playwrights reflected contemporary attitudes toward the Genji, even as they transformed its material to suit the demands of the noh as a theatrical form. This book includes annotated translations of the plays, many of them appearing in English for the first time. The translations are preceded by essays covering the history of each play and its use of Genji material.

Originally published in 1991.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Oe and Beyond Cover

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Oe and Beyond

Fiction in Contemporary Japan

Stephen Snyder

Are the works of contemporary Japanese novelists, as Nobel Prize winner Oe Kenzaburo has observed, "mere reflections of the vast consumer culture of Tokyo and the subcultures of the world at large"? Or do they contain their own critical components, albeit in altered form? Oe and Beyond surveys the accomplishments of Oe and other writers of the postwar generation while looking further to examine the literary parameters of the "Post-Oe" generation. Despite the unprecedented availability today of the work of many of these writers in excellent English translations, some twenty years have passed since a collection of critical essays has appeared to guide the interested reader through the fascinating world of contemporary Japanese fiction. Oe and Beyond is a sampling of the best research and thinking on the current generation of Japanese writers being done in English. The essays in this volume explore such subjects as the continuing resonances of the atomic bombings; the notion of "transnational subjects"; the question of the "de-canonization" (as well as the "re-canonization") of writers; the construction (and deconstruction) of gender models; the quest for spirituality amid contemporary Japanese consumer affluence; post-modernity and Japanese "infantilism"; the intertwining connections between history, myth-making, and discrimination; and apocalyptic visions of fin de siecle Japan. Contributors pursue various methodological and theoretical approaches to reveal the breadth of scholarship on modern Japanese literature. The essays reflect some of the latest thinking, both Western and Japanese, on such topics as subjectivity, gender, history, modernity, and the postmodern. Oe and Beyond includes essays on Endo Shusaku, Hayashi Kyoko, Kanai Mieko, Kurahashi Yumiko, Murakami Haruki, Murakami Ryu, Nakagami Kenji, Oe Kenzaburo, Ohba Minako, Shimada Masahiko, Takahashi Takako, and Yoshimoto Banana.

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Officialdom Unmasked

T.L. Yang

Officialdom Unmasked (官場現形記) was written by Li Boyuan in the early years of the twentieth century as the dynasty crumbled. Bizarre though they may seem, the stories told in the novel are based on true stories.

Out of Bounds Cover

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Out of Bounds

Anglo-Indian Literature and the Geography of Displacement

Alan Johnson

Out of Bounds focuses on the crucial role that conceptions of iconic colonial Indian spaces—jungles, cantonments, cities, hill stations, bazaars, clubs—played in the literary and social production of British India. Author Alan Johnson illuminates the geographical, rhetorical, and ideological underpinnings of such depictions and, from this, argues that these spaces operated as powerful motifs in the acculturation of Anglo-India. He shows that the bicultural, intrinsically ambivalent outlook of Anglo-Indian writers is acutely sensitive to spatial motifs that, insofar as these condition the idea of home and homelessness, alternately support and subvert conventional colonial perspectives.

Colonial spatial motifs not only informed European representations of India, but also shaped important aesthetic notions of the period, such as the sublime. This book also explains how and why Europeans’ rhetorical and visual depictions of the Indian subcontinent, whether ostensibly administrative, scientific, or aesthetic, constituted a primary means of memorializing Empire, creating an idiom that postcolonial India continues to use in certain ways. Consequently, Johnson examines specific motifs of Anglo-Indian cultural remembrance, such as the hunting memoir, hill station life, and the Mutiny, all of which facilitated the mythic iconography of the Raj. He bases his work on the premise that spatiality (the physical as well as social conceptualization of space) is a vital component of the mythos of colonial life and that the study of spatiality is too often a subset of a focus on temporality.

Johnson reads canonical and lesser-known fiction, memoirs, and travelogues alongside colonial archival documents to identify shared spatial motifs and idioms that were common to the period. Although he discusses colonial works, he focuses primarily on the writings of Anglo-Indians such as Rudyard Kipling, John Masters, Jim Corbett, and Flora Annie Steel to demonstrate how conventions of spatial identity were rhetorically maintained—and continually compromised. All of these considerations amplify this book’s focus on the porosity of boundaries in literatures of the colony and of the nation.

Out of Bounds will be of interest to not only postcolonial literary scholars, but also scholars and students in interdisciplinary nineteenth-century studies, South Asian cultural history, cultural anthropology, women’s studies, and sociology.

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