Reality and Fiction in Modern Japanese Literature

Reality and Fiction in Modern Japanese Literature

Reality and Fiction in Modern Japanese Literature

Reality and Fiction in Modern Japanese Literature

Excerpt

In twentieth century Japanese literature, the opposition and interaction of realism and romanticism on the level of literary concepts, and of Marxism and aestheticism (including, in part, modernism) on the level of literary ideology, supplies a most vital basis for writers searching for new methods of literary expression, fostering debates among the writers and creating the setting for active experimentation with style, form and language. Cosmopolitanism and traditionalism were also vital cultural concerns for Japanese writers, whose exposure to Western culture and literature supplied a significant source of imagination and energy for their creative activities. Many Japanese writers who went through a period of active learning from the West, however, later turned to the cultural and literary heritage of Japan as their source of inspiration. Although their "return" was certainly influenced by Japan's nationalistic war effort and their feeling that the cultural tradition was threatened, at a much more basic level, it was the outcome of their vital concern with the relation of art to the self, reality, and the cultural tradition of Japan. This concern, underlying the aesthetic and ideological debates of the modern period, was shared by practically all writers and, as expressed in the major literary movements of the twentieth century, may indeed be regarded as the defining characteristic of modern Japanese literature.

The studies in this volume approach an understanding of modern Japanese literature by focusing on three of the most basic . . .

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