Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

1994

Abstract

This thesis is a broad-based study of the modern Japanese novelist, Hayashi Fumiko. It is meant to provide the student of modern Japanese literature with an introduction to this popular writer and her works. While some of Fumiko's most famous works are discussed, attention is also given to a number of works which have heretofore not been discussed in Western literary discourse. The first chapter is a biographical sketch of the author's life. The second chapter is a survey of Fumiko's writing which identifies a number of prominent aspects in her work, including the importance of free will, her fear of ideology, vagueness of objectives and terminology, escapism, women's issues, the influence of Yokomitsu Riichi and Tokuda Shusei, and olfactory imagery. The third chapter discusses her first novel, Horoki, as well as her early short stories "Seihin no sho," "Shoku," "Mimiwa no tsuita uma, " and "Fukin to uo no machi," and examines how Fumiko's faith in free will instills these works about poverty with a positive sense of life. Fumiko's tentative connection to political leftist movements is also discussed. Chapter 4 examines Fumiko's travel writing--both travel-related fiction and travelogues from abroad--and identifies the element of loneliness as the literary catalyst in these works. Chapter 5 discusses Fumiko's fiction on the subject of marriage and illegitimacy, including the novels Inazuma, Kawa uta, Ame, and Jokazoku, and how these works display a pronounced concern with man's exercise of his freedom of choice as an extension of his free will. The final chapter covers Fumiko's post-war works, including the novel Ukigumo and the short stories "Fubuki," "Nagusame," and "Yoru no komorigasa," which exhibit the author's turn towards fatalism and determinism in her later years. Complete English translations of the essays "Watashi no chiheisen," "Bungaku, tabi, sono ta," and "Watashi no shigoto" are provided in the appendices.

Comments

Posted with Permission: Fessler, S. (1994). Hayashi fumiko: The writer and her works. Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304135563).

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