East Asian Languages and Cultures | Modern Japanese Fiction
E472 | 1490 | Alvis


E472 focuses on psychological "realism" as a mainstream goal of
modern Japanese literature from the late nineteenth century to the
present. Psychological "realism," as we will discover, is not an
absolute term. Rather, an author's idea of what is
psychologically "real" works to critique "idealized" thoughts and
feelings attributed to people in his or her social period. We will
see, for example, how the weak willed and lustful hero of Futabatei
Shimei's Drifting Clouds challenges the ideal of a purposeful, high
minded samurai, and how the angry heroines of woman writer Takahashi
Takako question the social idea of a nurturing and devoted mother.

E472 covers 75-100 pages of reading a week, including both short
stories and secondary material. Students' work will be evaluated
through regular homework assignments, 6 microthemes (or short
papers), a midterm and a final.