9780804732123

Dangerous Women, Deadly Words : Phallic Fantasy and Modernity in Three Japanese Writers

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780804732123

  • ISBN10:

    0804732124

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1999-06-01
  • Publisher: Stanford Univ Pr

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Summary

Dangerous Women, Deadly Wordsis a materialist-feminist, psychoanalytic analysis of a modern Japanese literary tropethe dangerous womanin the works of three twentieth-century writers: Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939), Enchi Fumiko (1905-86), and Nakagami Kenji (1946-92). Linked to archaisms and magical realms, the trope of the dangerous, spiritually empowered woman culls from and commingles archetypes from throughout the Japanese canon, including mountain witches, female shamans, and snake-women. In radical opposition to the conventional interpretation of the trope as a repository for transhistorical notions of "female essence" and "Japaneseness," the author reads the dangerous woman as connected in complex ways with twentieth-century Japanese epistemological upheavals: the negotiation of modern phallic subjectivity, modernization of a homosocial economy, the radically changed status of women, reified maternity, compulsory heterosexuality, and the function of literature. The dangerous woman enabled the literary birth of a modern, phallic, national subject as its constitutive Other, the locus of "originary" desire, thus the domain of the Lacanian Real and, accordingly, the abject. Determined by the cultural abhorrence that gives shape in language to the earliest psychic processes of separating self from not-self, the dangerous woman is also the locus forjouissance,a type of erotic pleasure that threatens the stability of the experiential subject. The book's close literary readings are deeply anchored in the gendered cultural and literary characteristics of three periods in Japan's modernity. The author traces the trope of the dangerous woman through its establishment as a male imaginary by gothic storyteller Kyoka, its subsequent cooption for female erotic agency by Enchi, and its ultimate destabilization by Nakagami through a phallic retroping of archaisms partly dependent on an equation of the social discourses on outcaste pollution with those of homosexual and female abjection.

Author Biography

Nina Cornyetz is Assistant Professor of Japanese at Rutgers University.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1(20)
PART I. IZUMI KYOKA
Speculum
21(7)
Leaky Archetypes
28(17)
Perverse Maternity: Blood from the Breast
45(15)
Michiyuki Toward Jouissance
60(15)
Language and Bodies; or, Never Write Words on Sitting Cushions
75(24)
PART II. ENCHI FUMIKO
Vengeance
99(5)
(Un)reproductivities: Maternity and Sex
104(11)
Scripted Women Bound by Blood: Polluted Flows, Sacred Flows
115(12)
Gendered Performances: Masculinizing Buddhism, Feminizing Shinto
127(13)
Matrix and Metramorphosis
140(17)
PART III. NAKAGAMI KENJI
Dangerous Men and All That Jazz
157(11)
Tracing Origins: Landscape and Interiority
168(18)
The Body: Deformities, Nasty Blood, and Sexual Violence
186(19)
An Ambivalent Masculinist Politics
205(22)
Afterword 227(8)
Notes 235(40)
Works Cited 275(18)
Index 293

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