, Literary Strategist.
The Evolution of his Agenda and Rhetoric in the Context of Postwar Japanese
Avant-garde and Communist Artist's Movements
2004 • ISBN 978-3-89129-822-0
· 508 p., Paperback · EUR 40,—
Hijiya-Kirschnereit, Irmela (ed.): Iaponia Insula. Studien zu Kultur und Gesellschaft Japans (Bd.
Among the great authors of postwar
Japan, Abe Kōbō (1924–1993) is the mechanic. Works such as The Woman in
the Dunes (1962), which brought him worldwide renown, conduct a profound
analysis of human existence, while revelling in technical detail. The early
postwar years were not only formative for Abe as a writer and political
activist, they were also formative years for Japanese literature, culture,
and politics. While progressing, in his own words, "from existentialism, to
surrealism, and on to Communism", Abe published numerous treatises, tracts
and other essays of various kinds concerning revolutionary aesthetics and
the historic role of the arts, between artistic autonomy and social
commitment. Abe's essays show the maturing of both his artistic and
aesthetic agenda, and of his essay style. This process also involves
political disillusionment, raising the question of what bearing Abe's
earlier radical positions have on his more mature work.
This study examines Abe Kōbō's
programmatic essays written between his repatriation from Manchuria in 1947
and his expulsion from the Communist Party in 1962. The texts are placed in
the context of the artistic and political groups in which he was active, and
of the broader literary issues of the time, centring on the quest for a new
beginning in literature.
Thomas Schnellbächer was born in Frankfurt/Main, but received most of his
school education in the United Kingdom. He studied Japanese Studies, later
supplemented by German Literature and Chinese Studies, at the Universities
of Cambridge and Frankfurt/Main. The present book is a slightly revised
version of his doctoral dissertation (2001) at Berlin Free University, where
he has taught since 2002.