Apparently, you can spend years reading literature and miss absolutely everything important and moving about it

January 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I get a great deal from reading Nagai — to me, he was the last of the Chinese-style retired scholars, and therefore a person close to my heart:  like me he found the world a disgusting place and cultivated another life — a life of culture — as an antidote; he had a deep and insightful appreciation for many art forms and artists; his taste and aesthetic judgment were impeccable; his observation on east/west are especially keen; his comments on the changes in the world around him strike a chord with me; his view of his life-task, which I think is best summed up making himself into a work of art, seems inspired; he wrote especially beautiful bungo, an archaic form of erudite Sino-Japanese, now dead; and, perhaps most importantly, his discussion of sexual relationships has really broadened my understanding of the facts of life and my own erotic entanglements.

So I can only stare in disbelief at this:  a review of Fictions of Desire.  “Critique of capitalism symbolized by the
licensed quarters”?  “Kafu’s stories “thematize the act of narration””?  And how about this:

“It may be that the narrative
“frame” is presenting a contrast to the embedded narrative,
which has the thematic focus on desire. Thus, Kafu is not
merely proposing a case in favour of a particular kind of writing,
but demonstrating that case by contrasting one view of
love with another clearly more convincing.”

Apparently, you can spend years reading Nagai and miss absolutely everything important and moving about him!

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