Sunday, February 8, 2009

Letter from Mother Regarding Ishikawa Jun

This just in from Mother:

Today I came across the following passage in Eiko Ikegami’s Bonds of Civility. It relates to the Ishikawa essay you recently translated, so I thought I’d send it along. Ikegami also hints at some of the “big discoveries” you speak of. Writes Ikegami:

“An important component in the cognitive complexity of haikai poetry was in its incorporation of two different sources of subject matter as well as its literary technique. One source was derived from the classical standards of the imperial court; the other was drawn from the contemporary interests, tastes, and opinions of the commoners. What we may call the ‘haikai-nization’ of the poetic tradition involved the transfer of classical images to the settings, contexts, and sensibility of urban commoner life. Ishikawa Jun, a perceptive critic and fiction writer, once articulated the inherently deconstructive nature of haikai poetry in that it breaks down the identity of words as signifiers by transferring them into different contexts that alter their meanings. Ishikawa offered a useful insight when he noted in his essay first published in 1943, long before deconstruction and post-modernism became fashionable in Western literary criticism, that this method of haikai-nization is ‘generally the fundamental literary method at work in any type of literature that arose from the sensibility of Edo commoners . . . The spirit of Edo literature . . . would mislead and elude the grasp of any modernist approach to literary analysis.'” (Ikegami, 191-192)

She goes on. If you’d like to read more, it’s available here.

Good luck with your interview this week,

1 comment:

Alicia Landers said...

Your mother calls you Beholdmyswarthyface? That's kinda weird.