Shock and Naturalization in Contemporary Japanese Literature by Carl Cassegård Göteborg University

By Carl Cassegård Göteborg University

This learn introduces the strategies of naturalization and naturalized modernity, and makes use of them as instruments for knowing the best way modernity has been skilled and portrayed in eastern literature because the finish of the second one international struggle. distinct emphasis is given to 4 prime post-war writers Kawabata Yasunari, Abe Kobo, Murakami Haruki and Murakami Ryu. the writer argues that notions of outrage in smooth urban lifestyles in Japan (as exemplified within the writings of Walter Benjamin and George Simmel), whereas found in the paintings of older eastern writers, don't seem to carry precise in a lot modern eastern literature: it really is as though the surprise influence of swap has advanced as a naturalized or Japanized method. the writer specializes in the results of this phenomenon, either within the context of the speculation of modernity and as a chance to reevaluate the works of his selected writers."

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Extra info for Shock and Naturalization in Contemporary Japanese Literature

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Even a modern ego imprisoned in a self-preservative identity of the sort portrayed by Horkheimer and Adorno is always in danger of being destabilized by the shocks which it seek to contain. Conscious attempts to dehumanize society constantly run up against the ‘rehumanizing’ forces of history, which reasserts itself in the form of shocks. Let us return to Baudelaire’s sonnet to the passer-by. The shock conveyed in the poem is evidently due to the desire that seizes the lonely poet. This desire shows that the crowd is not entirely dehumanized in his view, that the people are not entirely indifferent to him.

This ability to look back, I suggest, can be described as its ability to call up the past libido invested in it. We find an illustrative example of the relation between the aura and past libido in Tanizaki. In In Praise of Shadows he asks why it is that the Chinese and Japanese love jade, this ‘strange lump 16 Shock and Naturalization in Contemporary Japanese Literature of stone with its faintly muddy light’ that lacks the brilliance of diamonds and rubies? His answer is that ‘we seem to find in its cloudiness the accumulation of the long Chinese past’, an accumulation that is materially present in the ‘grime’ and ‘filth’ that comes of centuries of affectionate handling (Tanizaki 1977:11f).

Intoxicated, the flaneur surrenders to the ‘empathy’ of the commodities, which comfort him for his Modernity and Shock 29 humiliations. That this ‘intoxication’ is linked to the aura is hinted at by Benjamin’s curious description of the ‘commodity-soul’ as the ‘most empathetic encountered in the realm of souls’, which sounds like a perverse echo of the definition of the aura as an object’s ‘ability to look at us in return’ (ibid. ). Here, as elsewhere, Benjamin hints at the political dangers of refusing to confront shock by taking refuge in the aura, which foreshadow the conscious attempt at reviving the aura in fascism.

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