Monday, October 24, 2011

This Just In From Mother

This just in from Mother:

Honey, I read your translation of Ishikawa Jun's xxxxx, but I'm not sure I get it. What does it mean? 

Mother,

Your question reminds me of that line in Whitman's “Leaves of Grass” where a young boy asks the narrator, What does the grass mean? and the narrator replies, rather opaquely, it’s the “flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven,” which is about as good an answer as I can give, so let’s just say that xxxxx is the flag of my disposition (though I don’t think it’s woven of any hopeful green stuff).


But that’s not much of an answer. Let me try again. You see, Ishikawa Jun’s debut work xxxxx (1935), which I have translated as xxx xxxxxx, is a relatively short modernist self-portrait constructed through the largely ironic appropriation of at least three historically antecedent genres of novel: the künstlerroman (artist-novel), the possession novel, and the symbolist novel. The work is part künstlerroman in that … (click here to continue reading my rough exegesis of the work). (**Removed to prevent plagiarism, Sally Suzuki, 1/25/12).