When Our Eyes No Longer See: Realism, Science, and Ecology in Japanese Literary Modernism by Gregory GolleyWhen Our Eyes No Longer See: Realism, Science, and Ecology in Japanese Literary Modernism by Gregory Golley

When Our Eyes No Longer See: Realism, Science, and Ecology in Japanese Literary Modernism

byGregory Golley

Hardcover | March 1, 2008

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As industrial and scientific developments in early-twentieth-century Japan transformed the meaning of “objective observation,” modern writers and poets struggled to capture what they had come to see as an evolving network of invisible relations joining people to the larger material universe. For these artists, literary modernism was a crisis of perception before it was a crisis of representation. When Our Eyes No Longer See portrays an extraordinary moment in the history of this perceptual crisis and in Japanese literature during the 1920s and 1930s.

The displacement in science of “positivist” notions of observation by a “realist” model of knowledge provided endless inspiration for Japanese writers. Gregory Golley turns a critical eye to the ideological and ecological incarnations of scientific realism in several modernist works: the photographic obsessions of Tanizaki Jun’ichiro’s Naomi, the disjunctive portraits of the imperial economy in Yokomitsu Riichi’s Shanghai, the tender depictions of astrophysical phenomena and human-wildlife relations in the children’s stories of Miyazawa Kenji.

Attending closely to the political and ethical consequences of this realist turn, this study focuses on the common struggle of science and art to reclaim the invisible as an object of representation and belief.

Gregory Golley is an independent scholar living in Chicago.
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Title:When Our Eyes No Longer See: Realism, Science, and Ecology in Japanese Literary ModernismFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0 inPublished:March 1, 2008Publisher:HarvardLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0674027949

ISBN - 13:9780674027947

Reviews

Table of Contents

  • Prologue
  • Introduction

    Part I: Art, Empire

  1. Erotic Science: Realism and Aesthetics in the Fiction of Tanizaki Jun’ichiro
  2. A Dark Ecology: Yokomitsu Riichi’s Universe
  3. Part II: Earth, Stars

  4. Things Near and Far Away: Geometry and Ethics in the Stories of Miyazawa Kenji
  5. The Wild and the Cultivated: Kenji, Darwin, and the Rights of Nature
  6. Brethren in Pain: Beauty, Objectivity, and the Lives of Bears
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • List of Characters
  • Index

Editorial Reviews

Golley's book is eloquent and erudite, offering subtle critiques of our understanding of the literary history of Japan in the 1920s and 1930s through both a fine-grained historical account of the discourses of the "new scientific realism" in prewar Japan and through a series of rereadings of some of the major figures of the interwar period.