Poetik der Transgression: Modernistische Erzähltechniken in Kawabata Yasunaris Suishō gensō

  • Sebastian Breu (Autor/in)
    Tōkyō University
    Free Dramaturge.
    Ph.D. Candidate, Culture and Representation, Tokyo University.

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Kawabata Yasunari is known not only for the traditionalist poetics of his later days but also for his modernist period during the late 1920's and early 1930's, when he wrote as a member of the avant-garde movement Shinkankakuha. This paper provides a detailed reading of one of his last modernist works, the experimental novel Suishō gensō (Crystal Fantasies). While showing certain parallels to the psychological I-novel of its time in its exploration of subjectivity, the text distinguishes itself especially on a narrative level, implementing new forms of storytelling that unleash a lyrical and fragmented imagery upon the reader. My analysis seeks to illuminate the diegetic structure of Kawabata's text, showing how it functionally replaces the omnipresent voice of the self-reflexive narrator by cinematographic techniques of montage and collage, and how it provides an alternative „interior view“ of its characters, mediated via stream of consciousness. Following the split-second flow of associations, sounds and images, the reader is drawn into a world of intertextual cross-references to mythology, (pseudo-)science, psychoanalysis and popular culture ‒ discourses that left their imprints on the language of modernity and, in their contradictory co-presence, reveal a conflicted scenography of the modern mind.


Akademisches Fachgebiet und Untergebiete
Literaturwissenschaft, Kulturwissenschaften, Japanologie, Philologie
Forschungsansatz, -methode oder -verfahren
Intertextualitätsforschung; Hermeneutik; Narratologie
Literatur, Moderne, Japan, Kawabata Yasunari, Shinkankaku-ha, Modernismus,