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Title: Gender, love and text in the early writings of Kanai Mieko
Author: Tamura, Hannah Lucy Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 5309
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines and contextualises the early writings of Kanai Mieko, concentrating on the ways in which they instigate challenges to conventional inscriptions of gender, love, and text through a deployment of avant-garde narrative techniques. The first chapter argues that Kanai’s early writings interrogate and problematise conventional inscriptions of identity and gender: her short stories ‘Rabbits’ and ‘Rotting Meat’ borrow the form of paradoxical concepts that arise out of various surrealist avant-garde theories (such as Okamoto’s polaroppositionalism and Sakaguchi’s ‘Discourse on Decadence’) and can be read as a commentary upon the collective endeavours by contemporary feminists and women writers to create a written ‘feminine’. The second chapter further explores the subversive potential of Kanai’s writings. It argues that Kanai’s debut novella, Love Life, addresses the crisis of representation of the late 1960s by constructing two constellatory matrices of literary meaning: Ai-body-presence and F-narrative-absence. The first of these matrices, Ai-body-presence, is discernible in the inscription of the protagonist Ai’s physical origin as abject and can be read as a specific critique and enactment of how the crisis of representation affected the female body. The second, F-narrative-absence, is present in Ai’s attempts to inscribe her absent husband F, enabling her to pursue an understanding of what it means to love. The final chapter examines another matrix of literary meaning in Kanai’s writings in which text is described as if it is a body possessed of a consciousness, which Kanai herself refers to in her essay, ‘Text/Reality/The Body’, as the ‘corporeal text’. It contends that the ‘corporeal text’ acts as a challenge to conventional understandings of both the relationship between body and consciousness, and between the reader and a given text. In so doing, it pursues a deliberate textual strategy to transform the reader into an active creator of meaning.
Supervisor: Hayter, Irena ; Atack, Margaret Sponsor: ESRC ; JFEC ; GBSF ; BAJS John Crump Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available