Thursday, December 23, 2010

Ishikawa Jun's "xxx xxxxxx" (1935)

This just in from Molly Cessess: 

I heard you were translating Ishikawa Jun's xxxxxx into English (hats off to you for that), and I was wondering if you could either a) send me a copy of it, or b) post it online. I was hoping to quote parts of the story in an essay I'm writing about (re)presentations of the self in 1930s fiction. What do you say?
Also, could you remind me what the novel (récit?) is about? It's been a while since I last read it, and I've sort of forgotten the plot line.  Thanks, Molly Cessess
Thanks for your mail, Molly. Yes, it is true that I'm working on a translation of Ishikawa Jun's xxxxx, which I've tentatively titled xxx xxxxx. (If you can think of a better English title, please let me know.)

As for posting it online, I think I'm going to hold off from doing so, at least for a while, as I hope eventually to have it published. What I can do, however, is convert it to Ispeech and post the Ispeech button here:

As for the plot line, it can be summarized as follows:

Guy (the story's narrator and protagonist who in many ways resembles the real-life Ishikawa Jun) wanders around a NE suburb of Tokyo in search of the axis mundi, discovers that there is no such thing, begins a disappearing act (by which he sheds, one by one, the various layers of self (i.e., emotions, affects, desires, etc.) in an effort to become pure cogito), finds only a void at self's center, attempts suicide, fails, is reduced to pure physicality, ravishes his wife's sister (suggesting the possibility of spiritual redemption through the flesh/barbarization/daraku), confesses that he suffers from a condition known as "nympholepsy," and abruptly cuts narrative off in media res.  

And finally, I am indebted to the Beholdmyswarthyface Foundation for the grant that made experimental work on this translation possible. I am also indebted to Professor xxxxxxx, who read my translation against the original, and made many helpful suggestions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guest Lecture: Prof. Suzuki Sadami (Nichibunken, Kyoto)

This just in from Mabel Callahan:
Hey, Swarthyface. It was great seeing you at the Suzuki Sadami lecture the other day. What a great talk, and how hectic was that nomikai that followed!

Anyway, I didn't mention it at the time, but I actually secretly recorded Professor Suzuki's lecture. (Reason: my Japanese is not so great, so I have to listen to lectures two or three times before I get the gist.)
If you'd like to hear the recording, click here. And for those who weren't there, the talk took place at the University of Tokyo, on Dec. 13, 2010. The title: 「日本モダニズム文藝史のために」 . (Note: The first few minutes are a little scratchy, but it gets clearer around the two-minute mark.) 
Mabel of Dublin

Monday, December 13, 2010

Suzuki Sadami Lecture

This just in from Mabel Callahan:
Say, Beholdmyswarthyface, you planning to attend this?


講師: 鈴木貞美氏(国際日本文化研究センター教授)

テーマ: 「日本近現代文学史再編の新構想」

 鈴木貞美先生は、京都の「日文研」に依拠しながら、広い視野からたいへん精力的に、次 々と実証的かつ理論的に大胆な著作を世に問い続けて来られました。現代日本を代表する近現代文学研究者の一人です。代表的な著作に「梶井基次郎の世界」 「日本人の生命観」「日本の「文学」概念」(英訳あり)、「「日本文学」の成立」など。最新著書は「「文藝春秋」とアジア太平洋戦争」。その他の著書・編 書多数。