ASIA212Varley

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Unformatted text preview: ed Inovel—as their preferred medium of expression. Among the leading figures of late nineteenth century romanticism in Japan was Mori Ògai (1862–1922), although his participation in this trend constituted only one phase of a long and varied career as writer, translator, and critic. A graduate of the medical school of Tokyo Imperial University, Mori spent the period 1884–88 studying medicine in Germany under the sponsorship of the Japanese army. Even after entering the literary field upon his return to Japan, he remained an army doctor, rising to the rank of surgeon-general before his retirement from active service in 1916. Mori was the first major Japanese novelist to study the literature of a Western country at its source, and not surprisingly the dominant foreign influence on his writing was German. He produced the earliest quality translations from German literature in the late 1880s, shortly after Futabatei began his translations from the Russian, and, in 1890, he published his first novel, The Dancing Girl (Maihime). Based on Mori’s personal experiences and labeled by him an ich Roman, or I-novel, The Dancing 278 The Fruits of Modernity Girl is the story of a Japanese student in Germany, Toyotarò, who has an affair with a German girl but ultimately abandons her in order to return home and accept a position in the Meiji officialdom. In some ways, Toyotarò represents the exact opposite of Bunzò, the pathetic hero of Futabatei’s The Drifting Cloud. Whereas Bunzò, a failure in the competition to get ahead in a rapidly modernizing Japan, also finds his hope for happiness in love threatened, Toyotarò rejects love for personal ambition. Romanticism, which influenced many novelists and poets in the period up to the Russo-Japanese War, gave way shortly thereafter to the more clearly identifiable movement of naturalism. Stimulated in particular by the writings of Zola and Maupassant, the naturalists took their stand on the premise, derived from the philosophical positivism of nineteenth-...
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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.

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