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Unformatted text preview: ost other naturalistic novels, The Broken Commandment deals with a
significant social problem, although any message that might be derived
from Shimazaki’s handling of it is largely vitiated by the improbable ending he has contrived. The Fruits of Modernity 279 Tayama Katai (1871–1930) was the second major writer of the naturalist school, and his 1907 novel The Quilt (Futon) was the earliest purely
autobiographical work of the I-novel genre. Dealing with the unhappy
love affair between a novelist and his young female pupil, The Quilt was
for its time an especially daring revelation of the intimate relations between a man and a woman. To Tayama, personal confession was the most
scientifically valid and “sincere” of literary techniques; and in his conscientious application of it throughout his career he, more than any other
novelist, epitomized the real spirit of Japanese naturalism.
Although other authors began to react against naturalism shortly after
it was established and popularized as a movement by Shimazaki and
Tayama in the years immediately following the Russo-Japanese War, they
in fact shared with the naturalists the important common desire to be free
of the restraints of imposed moralism in Japanese society and to investigate at their will the sources of human behavior. One group of these
authors, including Nagai Kafû (1879–1959) and his disciple Tanizaki
Junichirò (1886–1965), became known as “aesthetes” or “decadents.”
Whereas the naturalists proclaimed a scientific interest in all aspects of
life, no matter how trifling, such aesthetes as Kafû and Tanizaki were expressly concerned with the more unwholesome, hedonistic, and even
bizarre patterns of conduct observable in man.
Nagai Kafû spent the years 1903–8 in the United States and France.
His chief reaction to the United States seems to have been a mild distaste
for the materialistic character of American life as he saw it. In France,
on the other hand, the pleasures of Parisian life only intensified the sentiment that was to be the most persistent in K...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.
- Spring '13