The Novel Ave Maria: The Legacy of Cinema in the Construction of Tanizaki’s Literary World of Dreams

  • Luisa Bienati (Autor/in)
    Ca' Foscari University of Venice

    Associate Professor, Department of Asian and North African Studies

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The aim of my paper is to highlight the influence of cinema and of visual techniques in Tanizaki Jun’ichirō’s narratives of his Yokohama period (1921–23). Famous novels by Tanizaki have been adapted for the screen, and they are widely studied by critics of the history of Japanese cinema. My perspective is not these filmic adaptations, nor the correlations between text and film. I will focus instead on the impact of Tanizaki’s experience of cinematic production during his stay in Yokohama on his narrative style. In Yokohama he actively cooperated with the Taishō Katsuei film company and with the director Thomas (Kisaburō) Kurihara after the latter’s return to Japan from Hollywood. The focus of my paper is on the novel Ave Maria (1923), which has not yet been studied from this point of view, and on the effect cinematic techniques had on Tanizaki’s literary world of dreams. I will examine in particular the references to films and Hollywood actresses, literary descriptions influenced by close-ups and motion pictures as well as the black and white cinema as sensual and aesthetic experiences of light and shadow.





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Akademisches Fachgebiet und Untergebiete
Japanese Literature
Modern literature, Taisho period