Seminar by Professor Rebecca Copeland “Digging Out: Kirino Natsuo’s Grotesque Fiction”
- Full Description:
- “A crime is like a crack in reality,” Japanese novelist Kirino Natsuo informed an interviewer, “and it is the author’s role to explore those cracks. As a writer, I like to see how they impinge on people.” One of the more frequently translated of contemporary Japanese novelists, Kirino uses the formula of crime or detective fiction to peer into reality’s cracks and glean from them what she sees as penetrating insights on contemporary Japan’s social ills—particularly as those ills relate to women. Something of a literary archeologist, Kirino uses her fiction like a sharp-edged trowel, digging expertly into Japan’s ruined society and laying bare its failures. This presentation will focus on Kirino’s 2003 novel Grotesque. I will examine the way the author activates the artistic principle of the “grotesque” to enable her excavation of post-bubble Japanese civilization.
Rebecca L. Copeland, professor of Japanese literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, received her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature from Columbia University in 1986. Her published works include The Modern Murasaki: Writing by Women of Meiji Japan (2006), co-edited with Dr. Melek Ortabasi; Woman Critiqued: Translated Essays on Japanese Women’s Writing (2006); The Father-Daughter Plot: Japanese Literary Women and the Law of the Father (2001), coedited with Dr. Esperanza Ramirez- Christensen; Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan (2000); and The Sound of the Wind: The Life and Works of Uno Chiyo (1992). She has also translated the works of Kirino Natsuo, Uno Chiyo, and Hirabayashi Taiko, among others.
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