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.


Mother said...

Do you really think anyone is going to listen to this? And why are there two i-speech buttons?

Joshua Landars said...

Best line from story: "There he goes again, always with the crazy talk."

Ian Hogarth said...

When does he discover that he is a void? That's the only part I want to hear.

Sally Suzuki said...

That would be around the 25:30 mark.

Sally Suzuki said...

Correction: 25:00 mark

Anonymous said...

What about the scene where he ravishes Yura's sister? Where is that?

Sally Suzuki said...

The lead-up to the ravishing scene begins around 44:40.

Anonymous said...

oh my. mother

Sally Suzuki said...

Ignore all the above comments. I've re-uploaded it. It's slightly longer now than the first uploaded draft.