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The dilemma of the modern in Japanese fiction /

Main Author: Washburn, Dennis C. 1954-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New Haven : Yale University Press, 1995
Series: Studies of the East Asian Institute
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Review by Choice Review

In Tokyo there is a museum of "modern" Japanese art that is, in a way, alarming. It contains Matisses, C'ezannes, Monets, and Picassos--all painted by Japanese. Whereas once there were any number of clever Japanese imitations of Western arts and crafts, and also "cheap" imitations, scholars are still coming to grips with Japanese innovation. Washburn's study, which derives from a doctoral dissertation, deals with the Meiji period (1868-1912) and its aftermath, during which Japan embraced the "modernist idiom"--a term fraught with peril, since "modern" has been idiomatically and idiotically frozen in time, requiring use of such inadequate terms as "contemporary" to supplant it. Readers will not reach for this volume to look up familiar names from postwar Japanese literature, for it deals instead with a cultural cusp--and valuably. The author (Dartmouth College) has appended a rich bibliography and generous annotations. This book, with its admirable coverage, fills a need in most serious library collections, a salient one not often addressed. Upper-division undergraduate and above. J. M. Ditsky; University of Windsor

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.