I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Vol.3 2018.03.12 Masahiko ABE

Modern Novels and “Gastrointestinal Imagination”

In this lecture, we are going to examine the relation between literature and the “gastrointestinal tract”. I am going to focus on negative responses such as “not wanting to eat”, “feeling bad” and “feeling sick” rather than taking up the scenes of dining on gourmet food or being hungry.

The so-called father of modern novels in Japan, Soseki Natsume, was a well-known dyspeptic. I am going to investigate various examples of “nausea” drawing in his novels and then I will consider several examples of “nausea” of Japanese contemporary writers as after a certain era, it is quite common to draw scenes of feeling nauseous or sick. Through these investigations, I would like to make clear how the “discomfort of a digestive system” is coming to play an important role in modern literature.

Masahiko ABE
Born in 1966. An Associate Professor of the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology and Faculty of Letters, the University of Tokyo whose special fields are British and American literature and literary criticism. He is mainly teaching British and American poetry at the university. His literary works included: “Bungaku o gyōshi suru (Looking up at literature)” (Iwanami shoten), “Zen-i to aku-i no eibungakushi (The history of British and American literature through the terms of good intention and ill will)” (Tokyo daigaku shuppankai), and “Osanasa to iu senryaku (The strategy using a childishness)” (Asahi sensho).

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