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Objective Description of the Self (Hardback)

Literary Theory of Iwano Homei

Imprint: Aarhus University Press
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9788772886114
Published: 19th December 1997
Casemate UK Academic

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This study provides a comprehensive overview of Iwano Homei's life and his distinctive body of literary work. Iwano Homei (1873-1920) was the first Japanese writer to concern himself rhetorically with the question of presenting the point of view within a narration. His works and theories of literature remain largely unknown and unstudied in the West. He is infrequently included in studies of Japanese literature, and only one of his novels has been translated into a Western language, Czech. Iwano's writings reflect his central theory of "monistic narration" (ichigen byosha). This sense of the momentary became a philosophy of life. For Iwano, "literature" and "action" were of equal value. He saw literature and art "as the most individual and most momentary of activities, both capable of bringing to life the symbolic mystic world." Both as a poet and novelist, Iwano's writing centred on his egocentricity, his fanatical nationalism and his belief in monogamy. The book then introduces the reader to Iwano's theory of literature, its development and content, as well as reactions to the theory. 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, for instance, Henry James.

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