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Fiction Japanese Gothic Tales

Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939) was among the most popular writers who continued to work in the old-fashioned genres of fantasy, mystery, and romance.

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Resisting the various forms of realism popular during the Meiji "enlightenment," Izumi Kyoka (1873-1939) was among the most popular writers who continued to work in the old-fashioned genres of fantasy, mystery, and romance. Gothic Tales makes available for the first time a collection of stories by this highly influential writer, whose decadent romanticism led him to envision an idiosyncratic world--a fictive purgatory --precious and bizarre though always genuine despite its melodramatic formality.

The four stories presented here are among Kyoka's best-known works. They are drawn from four stages of the author's development, from the "conceptual novels" of 1895 to the fragmented romanticism of his mature work. In the way of introduction, Inouye presents a clear analysis of Kyoka's problematic stature as a "great gothic writer" and emphasizes the importance of Kyoka's work to the present reevaluation of literary history in general and modern Japanese literature in particular. The extensive notes that follow the translation serve as an intelligent guide for the reader, supplying details about each of the stories and how they fit into the pattern of mythic development that allowed Kyoka to deal with his fears in a way that sustained his life and, as Mishima Yukio put it, pushed the Japanese language to its highest potential.

About the author:

Izumi Kyōka (泉鏡花)
Izumi Kyōka (泉鏡花, 4 November 1873 – 7 September 1939), real name Kyōtarō Izumi (泉鏡太郎), was a Japanese author of novels, short stories, and kabuki plays who was active during the prewar period. Kyōka's writing differed greatly from that of the naturalist writers who dominated the literary scene at the time. Many of Kyōka's works are surrealist critiques of society. He is best known for a characteristic brand of romanticism, preferring tales of the supernatural heavily influenced by works of the earlier Edo period in Japanese arts and letters, which he tempered with his own personal vision of aesthetics and art in the modern age. He is also considered one of the supreme stylists in modern Japanese literature, and the difficulty and richness of his prose have been frequently noted by fellow authors and critics. Like Natsume Sōseki and other Japanese authors with pen names, Kyōka is usually known by his pen name rather than his real given name. - Wikipedia

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Kyōka Izumi
University of Hawai'i Press
Year of publication
1 June 1996
Number of pages
JPY 2,785

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