Three-dimensional Reading: Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932

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Angela Yiu
University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2013 - Literary Collections - 262 pages
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A 29th-century dystopian society seen through the eyes of a mutant-cum-romantic poet; a post-impressionist landscape of orbs and cubes experienced by a wandering underdog; an imaginary sick room generated entirely from sounds reaching the ears of an invalid: These and other haunting re-presentations of time and space constitute the Japanese modernist landscape depicted in this volume of stories from the 1910s to the 1930s.

The fourteen stories selected for this anthology by both relatively unknown and must-read authors experiment with a protean modernist style in the vivacious period between the nation-building Meiji and the early years of Showa. The writers capture imaginary temporal and spatial dimensions that embody forms of futuristic urban space, colonial space, utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia. Their work invites readers to abandon the conventional naturalistic approach to spatial and temporal representations and explore how the physical and empirical experience of time and space is distorted and reconfigured through the prism of modernist Japanese prose.

An introduction and prefatory materials provide historical and critical context for Japanese modernism, making Three-Dimensional Reading a valuable teaching text not only for the study of modern Japanese literature, but for world literature, global modernism, and utopian studies as well. The volume also includes drawings by contemporary artist Sakaguchi Kyohei, whose ability to create a stunning visual reality beyond the borders of time and place is a testament to the power and reverberations of the modernist imagination.

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