Aarhus Universitetsforlag

Objective Description of the Self

The Literary Theory of Iwano Homei

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240 pages
ISBN 87 7288 611 0



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About the book

Iwano Homei (1873-1920) was the first Japanese writer to concern himself theoretically with the question of presenting a point of view within a narration. His works and theories of literature remain largely unknown and unstudied in the West; only one of his novels has been translated into a western language, Czech.

Yoichi Nagashima first provides a comprehensive overview of Iwano's life and his distinctive body of work. Both a poet and novelist, Iwano's work centered on his egocentricity, his fanatical nationalism, and his belief in monogamy. Nagashima then introduces the reader to Iwano's theory of literature, its development and content, as well as reactions to the theory, giving examples of how this theory came to be reflected in Iwano's novels. Lastly, Iwano's theories are placed within a larger context, compared with traditional Japanese and Western theories concerning point of view within a narration, as found in the work of Henry James, Boris Uspensky, and Gérard Genette.

Table of contents



I. An Overview of Iwano Hômei's Work:
1. The Island of Awaji, Iwano's Birthplace
2. The Early Years
3. The Creation of a Poet
4. The First Marriage
5. The Book The Mystic Semi-Animalism
6. The Novel Tandeki
7. The Journey to Sakhalin
8. Iwano's Novel-Series and Monistic Narration
9. 'The Conqueror and the Conquered'
10. The Productive Author and His Death

II. The Background For Iwano Hômei's Literary Theory:
1. Iwano Hômei the Man
2. The Anti-social Male
3. The Mystic Semi-Animalism
4. 'Momentariness' and Iwano Hômei's Views on Love and Sex
5. Iwano Hômei's View on Literature/Art and 'the New Naturalism'
6. Iwano Hômei's Theory of Narration

III. The Creation of The Theory:
1. The Point of Departure
2. The Creation

IV. The Theory in Translation with a Commentary

V. Criticism and Practice:
1. Criticism of the Theory
2. The Theory and Iwano Hômei's Writings

VI. The Theory in a Broader Perspective:
1. Iwano's Theory in Relation to that of watakushi shôsetsu - Japanese Confessional Writing
2. The Theory in Relation to Point of View Theories in General

VII. Conclusion

Appendix: Iwano Hômei's Major Works
Index to the Writings of Iwano Hômei
Index of Persons

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