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Literature among the Ruins, 1945-1955


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Table of Contents

Introduction, Atsuko Ueda, Richi Sakakibara, Michael K. Bourdaghs, and Hirokazu Toeda Part I: Foregrounding the Cold War Chapter 1: Early Freeze Warning: The Politics and Literature Debate as Cold War Culture, Michael K. Bourdaghs Chapter 2: The Korean War and Disputed Memories: Kim Dal-su's Nihon no fuyu and the 1955 System, Ko Youngran, translated by Michael K. Bourdaghs Chapter 3: Politics and Culture of Fascism, Ann Sherif Part II: Structures of Concealment: Cultural Anxieties Chapter 4: Cultural Resentment and Valorization in Postwar Japanese Literary Criticism: Nakamura Mitsuo's Literary History, Atsuko Ueda Chapter 5: Small Hopes and a Terror: Kato Shuichi's and Mori Arimasa's 1955 Return from France, Doug Slaymaker Chapter 6: Language and the People: The Amateur Writing Subject in Kindai bungaku, Shin Nihon bungaku, and Shiso no kagaku, Richi Sakakibara, translated by Atsuko Ueda Part III: Continuity and Discontinuity: Subjective Rupture and Dislocation Chapter 7: Temporalities of Ruin: Shiina Rinzo and the Subject of Tenko, Seiji M. Lippit Chapter 8: Literature at War's End: The Prosecution of Writers in Bungaku jihyo, James Dorsey Chapter 9: From the God of Literature to War Criminal: The Media and the Shifting Image of Yokomitsu Riichi from Prewar and Wartime to the Postwar Era, Toeda Hirokazu, translated by Atsuko Ueda

About the Author

Atsuko Ueda is associate professor of modern Japanese literature at Princeton University. Michael K. Bourdaghs is Robert S. Ingersoll Professor in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Richi Sakakibara is professor of modern Japanese literature at Waseda University. Hirokazu Toeda is professor of modern Japanese literature at Waseda University.


This collection of essays by distinguished scholars on both sides of the Pacific is an excellent companion volume to The Politics and Literature Debate in Postwar Japanese Criticism, 1945-52. The provocative essays take up the topic of literary criticism in postwar Japan and open it up to rigorous and multifaceted examination. Japanese literary criticism was intensely argumentative during this period, embroiling writers in debates about political commitment, war responsibility, literary autonomy, and human subjectivity. These debates are discussed and contextualized here in admirably lucid prose. This is essential reading for students and scholars of modern Japan, but is also highly recommended to anyone whose reading and thinking touch on the relation of art and politics in the modern world. -- Ayako Kano, University of Pennsylvania
Literature among the Ruins, 1945-1955 takes up the most vital debates of Japan's immediate postwar period, an era of great hardship that saw profound reflections on literature's relationship to individual political agency. This collection of critical essays-drawn from leading scholars in both the United States and Japan-illuminates what was at stake then and what remains relevant today. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the relationship between culture and power in the twentieth century. -- Edward Mack, University of Washington
This work, together with its companion volume, The Politics and Literature Debate in Postwar Japanese Criticism, 1945-52, fills a substantial lacuna in postwar scholarship on Japan. While the essays collectively address the question of literature, the complex relations literature invariably maintains with history and the political are examined here with remarkable insight. The core notion of `literature among the ruins' helps pave the way for a rethinking of trauma beyond the personal in properly geopolitical terms. -- Richard Calichman, City College of New York

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