Thursday, October 23, 2008

Using Hawthorne in Meiji Japan

Waiting for the day when I can research the following topic in the middle of the night from the comforts of home to my satisfaction: could Kyoka Izumi have been consciously alluding to Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" at the end of the first part of "One Day in Spring" (1906)? The answer is most likely "no." Not only does the standard list of conscious Japanese Hawthorne-alluders start in 1908 (with the exception of one 1887 novel by Kososhi Miyazaki), but Izumi would also most likely had to have read Hawthorne's tale in English, as it wasn't a favorite of his early Japanese translators. Still, there are enough textual (journey into woods, bizarre encounters, possible dream, chilling effects) and generic (gothic, fantastic, romanticism) parallels to warrant further investigation. Charles Shiro Inouye mentions in his critical biography The Similitude of Blossoms that Izumi read Hawthorne's Peter Parley's Universal History, so it's at least possible he could have read Hawthorne's short stories before 1906. Looks like I'll also be interlibrary-loaning Susan Napier's The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature.

When I get onto campus in a few hours, it'll be a nice break from grading to check out the MLA Bibliography and email Inouye and Napier. I'll let you all know what I dig up.

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