Narrating the Self examines the historical formation of modern Japanese literature through a fundamental reassessment of its most characteristic form, the 'I-novel, ' an autobiographical narrative thought to recount the details of the writer's personal life thinly veiled as fiction. Closely analysing a range of texts from the late nineteenth century through to the present day, the author argues that the 'I-novel' is not a given form of text that can be objectively identified, but a historically constructed reading mode and cultural paradigm that not only regulated the production and reception of literary texts but also defined cultural identity and national tradition. Instead of emphasising, as others have, the thematic and formal elements of novels traditionally placed in this category, she explores the historical formation of a field of discourse in which the 'I-novel' was retroactively created and defined.
About the Author
Tomi Suzuki is Associate Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature at Queens College of the City University of New York.