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Drs. Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton, eds. Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature

Rachael Hutchinson

Drs. Rachael Hutchinson and Leith Morton, eds. Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature (London and New York: Routledge, 2016). The Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature  provides a comprehensive overview of how we study Japanese literature today. Rather than taking a purely chronological approach to the content, the chapters survey the state of the field through a number of pressing issues and themes, examining the ways in which it is possible to read modern Japanese literature and situate it in relation to critical theory. The Handbook examines various modes of literary production (such as fiction, poetry, and critical essays) as distinct forms of expression that nonetheless are closely interrelated. Attention is drawn to the idea of the bunjin as a ‘person of letters’ and a more realistic assessment is provided of how writers have engaged with ideas – not labelled a ‘novelist’ or ‘poet’, but a ‘writer’ who may at one time or another choose to write in various forms. The book provides an overview of major authors and genres by situating them within broader themes that have defined the way writers have produced literature in modern Japan, as well as how those works have been read and understood by different readers in different time periods.

On Feb. 1, 2017 Rachael Hutchinson was invited to speak at Temple University about her experience compiling the the Routledge Handbook of Modern Japanese Literature. The talk was titled ‘Meiji, Manga and Murakami – what we mean by Modern Japanese Literature.”

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