Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Kb Abe was twenty-one years old when the atomic bombs were exploded in two Japanese cities. What effects of this experience do you detect in his literary works?

In The Face of Another, to what extent is the chemist’s attempt to test his wife’s love for him unfair to her?

Does the humor in The Woman in the Dunes successfully relieve the tone of despair? Justify your answer.

Compare Abe’s use of such devices as a man who turns into a wall or a stick with some of the transformations in Franz Kafka’s fiction.

How does Abe understand the concept of freedom?


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Cassegård, Carl. Shock and Naturalization in Contemporary Japanese Literature. Folkestone, England: Global Oriental, 2007. Uses the concepts of “naturalization” and “naturalized modernity” to analyze how modernity has been experienced and depicted in post-World War II Japanese literature. Emphasizes the works of Abe as well as writers Yasunari Kawabata, Haruki Murakami, and Ry Murakami.

Cornyetz, Nina. The Ethics of Aesthetics in Japanese Cinema and Literature: Polygraphic Desire. New York: Routledge, 2007. Explores Japanese literature and film from the 1930’s through the post-World War II period by studying the ethical dimensions of Japanese aesthetics. Describes how works by Abe and others were influenced by changing artistic, political, and intellectual issues.

Currie, William. “Abe Kb’s Nightmare World of Sand.” In Approaches to the Modern Japanese Novel, edited by Kinya Tsuruta and Thomas E. Swann. Tokyo: Sophia University, 1976. Contribution to an informative and comprehensive collection of essays on twentieth century Japanese fiction presents a detailed analysis of The Woman in the Dunes.

Goodman, David. Japanese Drama and Culture in the 1960’s: The Return of the Gods. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1988. This translation of five plays representative of the period provides commentary by a leading Japanese critic. The central thesis is that the decade of the 1960’s was characterized by disillusionment with the radical politics of the pre-World War II era and a quest for viable alternatives.

Iles, Timothy. Abe Kb: An Exploration of His Prose, Drama, and Theatre. Fucecchio, Italy: European Press Academic Publishing, 2000. Study devotes individual chapters to Abe’s prose, drama, and techniques for training actors. Examines numerous themes in Abe’s work, including the function of...

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