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Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 140

One of the most striking features of Mishima’s work is its variety; he adopted a style as if donning a mask. With its broad canvas and its political concerns, After the Banquet marked a new departure for Mishima; in this work, Donald Keene observes, “Mishima demonstrated that he was capable of writing a novel in the manner of nineteenth-century French fiction.” On its publication, After the Banquet was both successful and controversial: As noted above, Mishima’s plot was based in part on a scandal then very much in the news in Japan, involving prominent political figure Hachiro Arita, who sued Mishima and won a judgment against him. Despite the novel’s political themes, there is no indication in After the Banquet of the commitment to a radical right-wing stance that was to lead to Mishima’s suicide in 1970.

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