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Sirens of the Western Shore


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part One Foreign Letters, the Vernacular, and Meiji Schoolgirls 1. Translation as Origin and the Originality of Translation 2. Meiji Schoolgirls in and as Language Part Two Tayama Katai and the Siren of Vernacular Letters 3. Portrait of the Naturalist as a Young Exote 4. Literary Desire and the Exotic Language of Love: From "Shoshijin" to Jokyoshi 5. Haunting the Laboratory of Vernacular Style: The Sirens of "Shojobyo" and Futon Part Three Staging the New Woman: The Spectacular Embodiment of "Nature" in Translation 6. Setting the Stage for Translation 7. Gender Drag, Culture Drag, and Female Interiority Final Reflections: Gender, Cultural Hierarchy, and Literary Style Notes Bibliography Index

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The cross-fertilization of languages, cultures, and literary forms that produced modern Japanese literature also gave birth to a new literary archetype: the "Westernesque femme fatale," an alluring figure who is ethnically Japanese but evokes the West in her physical appearance, lifestyle, behavior, and use of language. Tracing the genesis of this archetype from her first appearance in the vernacularist fiction of the late 1880s to her role in Naturalist fiction of the mid-1900s and her embodiment by the modern Japanese actress in the early 1910s, Sirens of the Western Shore identifies the Westernesque femme fatale as the hallmark of an intertextual exoticism that prizes the strange beauty of modern Western writing. By illuminating the exoticist impulses that informed this archetype, Indra Levy offers a new understanding of the relationships between vernacular style and translation, originality and imitation, and writing and performance.

About the Author

Indra Levy is assistant professor of Japanese literature at Stanford University.


[An] insightful, carefully researched study... Highly recommended. Choice Richly textured... cogently argued, lucidly written, and offers the reader insights on both theoretical and biographical levels. -- Nanette Gottlieb Monumenta Nipponica Sirens of the Western Shore takes a fresh and detailed look at the topic of vernacular style in Meiji literature. -- Sarah Frederick Journal of Japanese Studies

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