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Monday, November 27

DEATH AND LITERATURE: TIME, SICKNESS, AND WRITING
Time:
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Presenter:
Prof. Robert Tierney
Location:
4130 Wesley W Posvar Hall
Sponsored by:
Asian Studies Center

This talk will offer an overview of professor Robert Tierney's research on
modern Japanese death literature. He defines "death literature" as a body
of works defined by an existential encounter with sickness and death,
rather than as a specific literary genre. He focuses on works by three
writers from the Meiji period: Nakae Chōmin (1847-1901) ,Masaoka Shiki
(1867-1902), and Natsume Sōseki (1867-1916). The philosopher
Chōmin wrote One Year and a Half (Ichinen yūhan), and Sequel to One
Year and A Half (Zokuichinen yūhan) in 1901 after a doctor discovered a
cancerous tumor in his throat and told him he had a year and a half left to
live. The poet Shiki, bedridden with spinal tuberculosis from 1896, wrote
daily chronicles of his life that appeared in the Nihon Newspaper in 1901
and 1902: A Drop of Ink (Bokujū itteki) and A Sickbed Six Feet Long
(Byōsho rokushaku). After a near-death experience in Shūzenji in 1911,
the novelist Soseki came "back to life" and wrote Reminiscences and
other matters (Omoidasu koto nado) in 31 installments in the Asahi
Newspaper. He will look at similarities and differences in the way these
writers approached sickness and time and found meaning through
writing.

The lecture is open for public. Refreshments will be served.