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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter presents an overview of this book, which attempts to formulate a practice of comparativism which can assess the literatures of recent and contemporary East Asia within the regional context. More precisely, the book explores intellectual responses to the new modernities that have emerged in these two East Asian societies during the years 1960 and 1990, and it organizes its argument around case studies of paradigmatic literary texts and the complex social, historical, and ideological contexts which have brought these narratives into being. Japan and Taiwan present themselves as among the most obvious candidates for an intraregional comparative practice of this kind. The book argues that many Japanese and Taiwanese writers flatly contradict prevailing notions on the imperative of economic growth, the wisdom of alliance with the US, and the pleasures of prosperity.

Keywords: contemporary East Asia; economic growth; Japan; modernities; regionalism; Taiwan



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