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Gender, Love and Text in the Early Writings of Kanai Mieko

Tamura, Hannah Lucy Elizabeth (2015) Gender, Love and Text in the Early Writings of Kanai Mieko. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis examines and contextualises the early writings of Kanai Mieko, concentrating on the ways in which they instigate challenges to conventional inscriptions of gender, love, and text through a deployment of avant-garde narrative techniques. The first chapter argues that Kanai’s early writings interrogate and problematise conventional inscriptions of identity and gender: her short stories ‘Rabbits’ and ‘Rotting Meat’ borrow the form of paradoxical concepts that arise out of various surrealist avant-garde theories (such as Okamoto’s polaroppositionalism and Sakaguchi’s ‘Discourse on Decadence’) and can be read as a commentary upon the collective endeavours by contemporary feminists and women writers to create a written ‘feminine’. The second chapter further explores the subversive potential of Kanai’s writings. It argues that Kanai’s debut novella, Love Life, addresses the crisis of representation of the late 1960s by constructing two constellatory matrices of literary meaning: Ai-body-presence and F-narrative-absence. The first of these matrices, Ai-body-presence, is discernible in the inscription of the protagonist Ai’s physical origin as abject and can be read as a specific critique and enactment of how the crisis of representation affected the female body. The second, F-narrative-absence, is present in Ai’s attempts to inscribe her absent husband F, enabling her to pursue an understanding of what it means to love. The final chapter examines another matrix of literary meaning in Kanai’s writings in which text is described as if it is a body possessed of a consciousness, which Kanai herself refers to in her essay, ‘Text/Reality/The Body’, as the ‘corporeal text’. It contends that the ‘corporeal text’ acts as a challenge to conventional understandings of both the relationship between body and consciousness, and between the reader and a given text. In so doing, it pursues a deliberate textual strategy to transform the reader into an active creator of meaning.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Modern Japanese literature, Kanai Mieko, gender, love, text, early writings, puratonteki ren'ai, platonic love, postmodern, rabbits, usagi, rotting meat, funiku, Okamoto Tarō, Sakaguchi Ango, Karatani Kōjin, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, Luce Irigaray, feminist, theory, love life, ai no seikatsu, Dazai Osamu literary prize, committee, Ishikawa Jun, Ibuse Masuji, Julia Kristeva, Emmanuel Levinas, abject, alterity, food, fiction, Roland Barthes, Elizabeth Grosz, new age science, butō, Hi-Red Center, Hijikata Tatsumi, essay, Towards a Theory of Corporeality, Text/Reality/The Body, Kotoba/genjitsu/nikutai, nikutairon e josetsu dai'ippo, Suga Hidemi, The Story of the Inflated Man, Kūki otoko no hanashi, Disney, Pinnochio, Jonah's whale, Gustave Dore, A Hunger Artist, Momo Tarō, Peach Boy
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > East Asian Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.666596
Depositing User: Ms HLE TAMURA
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2015 13:38
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2015 13:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9721

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