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In many cases the japanese chose in fact to fight to

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Unformatted text preview: ms of “haiku and waka —those arts of suggestion and evocation, reversal and juxtaposition, so deeply rooted in the alogical, intuitive, and ‘irrational’ sensibility of the East,”37 Masao Miyoshi observes that Kawabata, in his novels, just lets his language flow in time, lets it weave its own strands, almost come what may. The “shape” of the novel is thus not architectural or sculptural, with a totality subsuming the parts, but musical in the sense of continual movement generated by surprise and juxtaposition, intensification and relaxation, and the use of various rhythms and tempos. The renga form is often mentioned in connection with Kawabata and for good reason: it too is characterized by frequent surprises along the way and only the retrospective arrangement of the parts into a totality as they approach a possible end.38 Kawabata published his prewar masterpiece, Snow Country (Yukiguni), serially between 1935 and 1937, and made further additions and revisions in the early and late 1940s. Even among Japanese authors, accustomed to preparing their works for serial publication in magazines and newspapers, this is an extreme case of novel writing in fragments. Yet Kawabata seems to have found the procedure congenial because it allowed him to feel his way carefully with his material and provided maximum opportunity to extend or, whenever he should wish, terminate the narrative line. Snow Country is the story of a love affair between Shimamura, a world-weary dilettante, and Komako, a geisha in a hotsprings resort. The setting for the affair is suggested in the opening lines: “The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country. The earth lay white under the night sky.” Shimamura is on his way to visit Komako, and Kawabata reveals much of the man’s character with the startling device of his reactions to reflections in the train window: In his boredom Shimamura stared at his left hand as the forefinger bent and unbent. Only this had seemed to have a vital and immediate memory of the woman he was going to see. The more he tried to call up a clear picture of her, the more his memory failed him,...
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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 UBC.

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