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To Make Gods And Demons Weep: Witnessing The Sublime In “Death In Midsummer” And “Patriotism”

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Chapter Summary

Mishima Yukio (192570) assiduously cultivated callousness as an aesthetic attitude. He was obsessed with the possibilities of violence, with the beauty produced by destruction, and he created a number of memorable characters who revel, often sadistically, in the pleasures of pain. In spite of the particular circumstances out of which Mishimas artistic response to the War developed, the author sees in that response a tension that mirrors a broadly shared ambivalence in Japanese society over the meaning of the conflict and the consequences of defeat. As an aesthete, Mishima lived out Angos call to adopt decadence as the moral ideal and artistic attitude most appropriate for postwar Japanese society. Death in Midsummer and Patriotism illustrates the ways in which the ambivalence toward the war that informed Angos essay also inflected the style and subject of Mishimas writings.

Keywords: Death in Midsummer; Mishima Yukio; patriotism; postwar Japanese society



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