Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0020822, Sat, 2 Oct 2010 22:11:54 -0300

[Nabokov-L] {Sighting] Casual find in the internet about Japanese
writer Kanai Mieko (Austen& Nabokov)

Jane Austen and Kanai Mieko: comic sisterhood
Hecate, Nov, 2008 by Tomoko Aoyama
Excerpts: "A number of modern Japanese writers--both men and women--have expressed their strong respect and admiration for Jane Austen's literature. Kanai Mieko (b.1947), ...in particular...The following discussion will show the ways in which Kanai skillfully subverts the patriarchal canonisation of Austen and other texts, and creates laughter that empowers women[...] Soseki's phrase the 'authority of realism' was to be quoted again and again; ...Here we have the prototype of the conventional reception of Jane Austen in Japan--the emphasis on canonicity, authenticity, and realism, sanctioned by the canonical writer and authority on English literature, Soseki, and maintained and propagated by his readers and disciples and their students, resulting in a preponderance of male translators, (10) scholars, teachers, and commentators on Austen literature. Notably, Soseki's lengthy quotations from Austen's original English text are usually removed in these secondary sources and, hence, the comic element evident in the Bennets' dialogue disappears, leaving only the 'realism' and 'authority'. Besides Soseki's comments, those of other male authorities, including Walter Scott, (11) Somerset Maugham (12) and Vladimir Nabokov, (13) have been introduced (and translated by male translators) to strengthen this construct.."

references and bibliography:
(10) Even though women have played important roles in translation since the late nineteenth century, they have tended to be assigned peripheral genres such as children's literature, romance and mystery. Because of the canonical status of Austen, the majority of Japanese translations are published by male scholar-translators. We may also note that until relatively recently university professors were mostly men - even at women's colleges.
(13) Nojima Hidekatsu has translated Nabokov's Lectures on Literature as Yoroppa bungaku kogi, Tokyo: TBS Britannica, 1982.
(22) Vladimir Nabokov Lectures on Literature, ed., Fredson Bowers, introduction by John Updike, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, p.10. It seems an ironic coincidence that this book is introduced by John Updike, the author the 'inferior' girl student chooses in Kurahashi's novel. It is not clear whether Kurahashi might have had access to the Nabokov lecture (circa 1950) before the above posthumous publication but it seems reasonable to assume that the similarity of the handicraft metaphor is coincidence.
(40) This unfortunate man is named Teiichiro, sharing the first Chinese character with Teinosuke, the husband of the second Makioka sister. Kanai calls Part I of her novel 'Sankan shion' (lit., three cold days and four warm days, indicating the gradual change from winter to spring) which Tanizaki had in mind as an alternative title for Sasameyuki... There is also a comic reference to The Makioka Sisters in Kanai, Ren'ai taiheiki, vol. 1, pp. 115-16, where the eldest sister Yuka, who is working as a librarian in a public library in America, is asked by a man which she would recommend, The Snow Country or The Makioka Sisters. .. Yuka's former husband, Harold, took Nabokov's literature course at university (Kanai, Ren'ai taiheiki, vol. 1, p. 112).

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