Kyoko Omori, Associate Professor in Japanese, East Asian Languages and Literatures Department, Hamilton College
Usher Unsilenced: Edgar Allan Poe, Benshi, and Modernist Narrative Art in Japan"
In this talk, I will focus on the emergence and development of tantei shosetsu (lit. sleuthing fiction), or horror/mystery fiction more broadly, as a case study in the development of modernism in early twentieth-century Japan. First, I will show how the genre served as a medium through which writers sought to explore and cultivate concerns and techniques historically identified with modernism as a global artistic phenomenon, including the complexities of personal psychology, challenging the epistemological assumption of realism, formal experimentation, and foregrounding the multiplicity of perspectives. Second, I will examine in particular the efforts of the leading benshi and writer, Tokugawa Musei and his benshi performance for French director Jean Epstein's silent film, The Fall of the House of Usher. In doing so, I will discuss some of the facets of Poe's complex reputation within modern Japanese culture, especially his role in the development of Japanese modernism as a multimedia phenomenon.
Location: FEAS Seminar Room (Mary Houghton Freeman Room) Admission: Free Sponsor: East Asian Studies Program URL: Contact: Ann Gertz, firstname.lastname@example.org or ext.