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‘The Terrible Weapon Of The Gravely Injured’ – Mishima Yukio’s Literature And The War

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Chapter Summary

In the context of post-war literary and intellectual history, Mishima Yukio tends to be seen as a romantic nihilist and ultra reactionary, a prolific but ultimately predictable writer whose spectacular seppuku accentuated his artistic career. The author depicts a single scene, the visit of a first person narrator to a garden of peonies, in which each of the 580 magnificently blooming flowers has its own poetic name. The distance between the idealized beauty constructed in his imagination and the real monument, as well as the unbridgeable distance between the temple and his own ugly existence, remain and produce a paralysing weariness and impotence in Mizoguchi. The war provides the protagonist with a heightened sense of existence in the imminence of death, again smacking of a Nietzschean 'high noon', and it is the vague expectation of a disaster, magagoto, which provides the necessary excitement in the otherwise unbearable conformity of existence.

Keywords: magagoto; Mishima Yukio; Mizoguchi; post-war literary



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