Purloined Letters: Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937 Mark Silver

ISBN: 9780824831882

Published:

Hardcover

217 pages


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Purloined Letters: Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937  by  Mark Silver

Purloined Letters: Cultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937 by Mark Silver
| Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 217 pages | ISBN: 9780824831882 | 8.69 Mb

This engaging study of the detective storys arrival in Japan--and of the broader cross-cultural borrowing that accompanied it--argues for a reassessment of existing models of literary influence between unequal cultures. Because the detective storyMoreThis engaging study of the detective storys arrival in Japan--and of the broader cross-cultural borrowing that accompanied it--argues for a reassessment of existing models of literary influence between unequal cultures.

Because the detective story had no pre-existing native equivalent in Japan, the genres formulaic structure acted as a distinctive cultural marker, making plain the process of its incorporation into late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japanese letters. Mark Silver tells the story of Japans adoption of this new Western literary form at a time when the nation was also remaking itself in the image of the Western powers.

His account calls into question conventional notions of cultural domination and resistance, demonstrating the variety of possible modes for cultural borrowing, the surprising vagaries of intercultural transfer, and the power of the local contexts in which imitation occurs.

Purloined Letters considers a fascinating range of primary texts populated by wise judges, faceless corpses, wily confidence women, desperate blackmailers, a fetishist who secrets himself for days inside a leather armchair, and a host of other memorable figures.

The work begins by analyzing Tokugawa courtroom narratives and early Meiji biographies of female criminals (dokufu-mono, or poison-woman stories), which dominated popular crime writing in Japan before the detective storys arrival. It then traces the mid-Meiji absorption of French, British, and American detective novels into Japanese literary culture through the quirky translations of muckraking journalist Kuroiwa Ruikō. Subsequent chapters take up a series of detective stories nostalgically set in the oldcity of Edo by Okamoto Kidō (a Kabuki playwright inspired by Arthur Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes) and the erotic, grotesque, and macabre works of Edogawa Ranpo, whose pen-name punned on Edgar Allan Poe.



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