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“Ninjō and Sōseki's Writing of "Literature" in Early Twentieth-Century Japan”
Speaker: Professor Daniel Poch, Associate Professor in Japanese Studies, University of Hong Kong

Description:
Why did Natsume Sōseki, today canonized as one of Japan’s most important novelists, start writing novels in the early twentieth century despite his suspicion, if not dislike, of the genre? The talk explores the clash between premodern and modern conceptions of “literature” within Sōseki’s novels, asking what consequences the intersection of the modern novel with older, didactic conceptions of literature held for his representation of love, desire, and emotion. It also contextualizes the contradictions inherent in Sōseki’s literary project within the broader contentions surrounding “human emotion” (ninjō) in the nineteenth-century Japanese novel, across the early modern-modern divide—the subject of my recently published book Licentious Fictions (Columbia UP, 2020).

Speaker Bio:
Daniel Poch is an Associate Professor in Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong, specializing in early modern and modern Japanese literature. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2014. His first book, Licentious Fictions: Ninjō and the Nineteenth-Century Japanese Novel, was published by Columbia University Press in 2020. Other recent peer-reviewed publications include the article “Reclaiming Ethics Through Love: ‘Literature’ in Natsume Sōseki’s Novel Sorekara (Japan Forum 2020), as well as articles on Sōseki’s literary theory and early Meiji translation published in such journals as Monumenta Nipponica and Japanese Language and Literature.

The Nissan Seminars will be live-streamed only, with no recorded version or slides shared after the event, so please be sure to register and attend the live seminar to avoid disappointment. Thank you for your interest in the Nissan Seminar series.

Convenors: Professor Jennifer Guest and Dr Chigusa Yamaura

May 14, 2021 12:00 PM in London

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