By Stephen Snyder
The literary profession of Nagai Kafu is usually visible as an act of nostalgia, the essential go back to Japan within the kind of an extended look for the normal earlier in a speedily modernizing Tokyo. Kafu is better often called a lyrical author of elegies to a vanished Tokyo, whose paintings is stylistically wealthy but lacks highbrow intensity. instead of specialise in the writer's lyricism and imagery as different critics have performed prior to him, the writer examines Kafu's fiction when it comes to narrative method, putting him squarely inside probably the most vital currents of literary modernism - on the nexus of naturalism and the mostly antithetical improvement of the modernist reflexive novel. Snyder argues persuasively that Kafu either realized from and finally parodied the naturalists, hence making a type of self-conscious fiction, which instead of trying the naturalist technique of proposing "real life", attracts realization to its very fictionality and the crucial position of language in narrative.
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Extra info for Fictions of Desire: Narrative Form in the Novels of Nagai Kafū
Since Paul did not know a word of the language, I would have to serve as interpreter. ”26 Maupassant suggests interpretation as a metaphor for narration (Pierre’s other role) much as Ògai proposes the trope of “messenger” a few years later in “Fumizukai” or of “bystander” later still in more complicated fashion in Gan. In Ògai’s fiction and in Gan in particular, it seems that the narrator’s insinuation into the action is almost unconscious; he has not accepted himself in the role of rival to Okada, and the reader must make this discovery on his or her own, as it were.
20 The women and the madam continually pull the customers in different directions, since the proprietress makes the majority of her income from the champagne consumed by the customers in the waiting area, while the women make theirs upstairs. Money is constantly changing hands, most notably passing into those of the detectives who come to extort a bribe from Mrs. Stanton, who subsequently inflates the amount of the payment with each retelling of the story. Kafû is careful, however, to provide a unique character for each of the women in the house and to create the kind of Maupassant and Amerika monogatari 39 “normative” (if tragic) existence for them on which Maupassant also insists.
It has been said that art demonstrates sexual desire in the public arena. ”69 Jerusalem, like Ògai in the writing of Gan, seems to anticipate the complex relationship elaborated by a number of recent critics between the depiction of sexual desire in a text (erotic textuality) and the seduction of the reader by a text (textual erotics). Ògai, however, while apparently fully aware of this potential relationship, is problematizing rather than celebrating it. In Vita sexualis, sexual desire is in the foreground and yet oddly absent.
Fictions of Desire: Narrative Form in the Novels of Nagai Kafū by Stephen Snyder