Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Ishikawa Jun and the Tradition of the Modern"

Beholdmyswarthyface proposes to translate Ishikawa's "On the Ways of Thinking of the People of Edo" and to use this important essay as the basis for a reconsideration of the meaning of "modernization" in the context of Japanese literary studies. For Ishikawa, the true Japanese modernization should be understood as Edo elaborations of parody of previous Japanese poetic forms and motifs, collected and analyzed in his essay under rubrics "haikaika" (modification of inherited form) and "zokka" (secularization), rather than as some supposed enlightenment achieved at a stroke by contact with advanced foreigners.

The Committee consider translation an activity to be encouraged if the humanities is to survive the current travail. We further believe that Ishikawa's essay is an important document for any student of the continuity of Japanese literary belief and practice. Beholdmyswarthyface has shown himself capable of carrying out such a demanding and quite worthy project, and fully understanding of the need to place the occasionally tendentious Ishikawa and exemplars in proper context.

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