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Title: Gender, the body, and desire in the novels of Natsume Sôseki (1867--1916), focusing on Meian 
Author: Ridgeway, William N
Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: This dissertation employs categories of analysis that previously have been under-appreciated, Ignored or unapplied in Soseki studies-gender, the body, and desire-both for textual explication and to examine the intrapersonal relationships in the novels of Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), with emphasis placed on his final, uncompleted work, Meian (Light and Darkness, 1916). Instead of presenting literary representations of prevailing Meiji ideological positions such as risshin shusse (rising in the world) entrepreneurism and success scenarios for men or ryosai kenbo (good wives, wise mothers) domestic scenarios for women. Soseki focuses on erotic triangles which expose gender difference and gender inequalities of Meiji-Taisho Japan. Investigation of fictional erotic triangles also reveals the possibility of homosocial desire in an age when discourse was increasingly antithetical to non-normative expressions of male-male desire. Soseki's gender representations frequently invert conventional gender expectations with his depictions of passive males and women desiring mastery over the male, and these depictions in turn are mapped and analyzed throughout the novelist's brief ten-year career as a novelist. Foucault's observation of the body-where local social practices are linked up with organization of power-assists in our better comprehending the formation of gender identities and the development of a national subject. Always embodying a historical moment, Soseki's novels open a window onto gender conflict, further the historicization of gender concepts, and finally suggest the possibility, in some cases, of resistance to gender/role stereotyping, as well as narrativize the author's personal ambivalence toward Western egalitarianism of the sexes.
Description: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2002. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 221-241). Also available by subscription via World Wide Web xvi, 241 leaves, bound ill. 29 cm
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/3034
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Keywords: Natsume, Sōseki -- Criticism and interpretation

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