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Kawabata Yasunari: Shock And The Reunion With Inner Nature

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Chapter Summary

The author first describes the aesthetization of shock in the novels of Kawabata. This will involve exploring the formal relationship between their endings and the narrative as a whole, and how this relationship enables them to undermine their own unity. This detour is necessary since he believes that Kawabata's notion of shock manifests itself not only on the level of the contents of his works, but also in the way that these works are constructed. Secondly, he attempts to reconstruct the model of the good life that informs his novels. He argues that Kawabata presents us with an ideal of inner nature, which dispenses with the ideal of authenticity and is animated by the Zen Buddhist notion of nothingness and the aesthetics of mono no aware. Finally, he attempts to explore the implications of this reconstruction for the problem posed by Benjamin concerning the possibility of experience in modern societies.

Keywords: Benjamin; inner nature; Kawabata; shock; Zen Buddhist



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