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Authors: Chung, Young-ah
Advisors: Ueda, Atsuko
Contributors: East Asian Studies Department
Keywords: AFFECT
Subjects: Literature
Asian literature
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation addresses intricate intersections among the affective body, global modernity, and literary history in Japanese literature in the early twentieth century, that is, the imperial eras of late Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1926). Uno Koji (1891-1961) and his best-known novella Kura no naka (1919) afford the gravitation that draws together such disparate topics as hysteria, melancholia, ownership and debt, collecting, and biography into mutually generative constellations. As Uno's ambivalent position within canonical literary history forms a fertile relation with the stylistic experimentalism of the text, the pair presents felicitous events across the epistemological boundary between life and writing, and bodily and literary style. Geared towards properly expanding the horizon of inquiry, this study emphatically pursues the reverberations between Uno and Kura no naka and such varied contemporaries as Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Walter Benjamin, Charlie Chaplin, Natsume Soseki, and Virginia Woolf; and thereby illuminates the ineluctably global milieu that was modernity in the early twentieth century. The discussion closely engages with theoretical writings, drawing most extensively on psychoanalytic approaches in order to account for some of the most intractable questions that have tested the disciplinary limits of modern Japanese literature. Chapter 1 explores hysteria as a fresh conceptual passage for feminist criticism, a provocation to the current preoccupation with ideological investigation which uniformly effaces the body as a differential event. Chapter 2 is a metonymic experiment deriving theoretical prompts from the larger discussion on hysteria in order to vitalize the increasingly expiring notion of shishosetsu in light of postcolonial melancholia. While Chapter 3 magnifies an intimate scene of the two visual subjects transpiring on the precipice of hysteria, Chapter 4 traces the kinetic body within particular narrative-spatial coordinates. Both chapters impel towards the question of the relation to the other, and the world, by way of the narrative. Finally, Chapter 5 attempts to reimagine bio-graphy--differentiated from biography--as a form of literary history new precisely for its being a writing of the body. Overall, the human and objectal figures arising from the study are a call of love attuned by several related mimetic modalities: distance to the intimate other, remembering the mother, and becoming the (m)other.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:East Asian Studies

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