Bungakuron and ‘literature’ in the making

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Abstract

The article takes a new approach to the study of Natsume Sōseki’s Bungakuron (Theory of literature, 1907) by examining it in the context of the formation of ‘literature’ in late-Meiji Japan, with a specific focus on the development of national literary history (kokubungakushi) and rhetoric (bijigaku). The dialogue between Bungakuron and the context in which Sōseki published the text is particularly important because it was a time in which the institution of ‘literature’ was beginning to take form in Japan. My paper examines Bungakuron’s contribution to the realm of ‘literature’ and identifies how Bungakuron functioned as a criticism of how ‘literature’ was being conceived in Japan. The ultimate goal of my project is thus double: situating Bungakuron within the movement of literary formation and identifying how the text becomes a theory that critiques the trend itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalJapan Forum
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Literary history
  • National literature
  • Natsume Sōseki
  • Rhetoric
  • Theory of literature

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