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Licentious Fictions


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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Part I: Ninjō and the Early-Modern Novel
1. From Ninjō to the Ninjōbon: Toward the Licentious Novel
2. Questioning the Idealist Novel: Virtue and Desire in Nansō Satomi hakkenden
Part II: The Age of Literary Reform
3. Translating Love in the Early-Meiji Novel: Ninjōbon and Yomihon in the Age of Enlightenment
4. Historicizing Literary Reform: Shōsetsu shinzui, Translation, and the Civilizational Politics of Ninjō
5. The Novel’s Failure: Shōyō and the Aporia of Realism and Idealism
Part III: Late-Meiji Questionings
6. Ninjō and the Late-Meiji Novel: Recontextualizing Sōseki’s Literary Project

About the Author

Daniel Poch is assistant professor of Japanese literature in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Hong Kong.


[A] bold, ambitious, and deeply researched monograph.
*Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies*

An invaluable resource for anyone wishing to better understand the discursive backdrop that shaped how major works
were conceptualized and received across this period through the lens of ninjo.
*Journal of Japanese Studies*

In Licentious Fictions, Daniel Poch identifies the emergence of a distinctive literary modernity in nineteenth-century Japan based on the idea that human emotion was politically disruptive and morally dubious. Breaking new ground with his analysis of narrative practices surrounding love and desire, Poch truly shines when he anchors his examination of the Japanese novel in a global history of modernity.
*Paul Schalow, Rutgers University*

Licentious Fictions is an important work that resituates our perception of Japan’s literary modernity. With a broad sweep that moves from Edo to Meiji and from Chinese antecedents to Western influences, Daniel Poch challenges the long-standing but artificial divide between historical eras and provides a new integrative framework for our understanding of the modern novel in Japan.
*Rebecca Copeland, Washington University in St. Louis*

Licentious Fictions provides the most compelling account to date of the nineteenth-century Japanese novel as exhibiting a coherent discursive economy that spans the Edo/Meiji divide. It stands out for both the sophistication of its analysis and the impressive scope of primary source material that it covers. It is a groundbreaking work that is sure to make a major impact on the field.
*Peter Flueckiger, Pomona College*

The novel has always been about love—its dangerous and disruptive power. Daniel Poch's wide-ranging book explores how Japanese writers and translators attempted to contain, explain, and exploit the problematic power of love in their fiction.
*Gaye Rowley, Waseda University*

Licentious Fictions presents the most sustained and penetrating exploration of the Japanese novel’s ambitious and problematic engagement with dangerous emotions and desires. Tracing the pervasive anxiety over the social potency of the mass-produced novel, Poch impressively delineates a new genealogy of the modern novel in nineteenth-century Japan. A truly path-breaking book.
*Tomi Suzuki, Columbia University*

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