A. Critical and Comparative Studies

66. Etô, Jun. ‘Some Reflections on the Japanese Contribution to Western Arts and Letters’. Japan Society Review 112 (1989): 70-81.

Offers a critique of ‘Euro-Centric’ narrative and a description of Japanese narrative principles that, according to Etô, if properly understood could bring about a revolution in European and American literature as significant as the overthrowing of the laws of perspective in European art in the nineteenth century. Begins by reviewing the role of Japanese visual arts in helping to revolutionise Western painting in the nineteenth century, and following this argues that Western writers and readers share unexamined concepts of narration that like perspective are ‘institutional device[s], peculiar to Western arts’. Etô does not focus particularly on writers under discussion here, but his criticism of Eurocentric understanding implicitly includes them all. Originally a lecture sponsored jointly by the Japan Foundation and the Japan Society, delivered 4 October 1988 at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University.





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