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Paradoxes Of Reclusion: Between Aesthetics And Anti-Aesthetics

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Chapter Summary

Reclusion imposes the tolls of forgetfulness of self and others, and of dissolution of the self into nothingness. In Japan, the idea of reclusion was brought to the attention of modern readers by scholars who found in pre-modern times, especially medieval times, samples of reclusive lives. The paradox of expression derives from the paradox of apparently contradictory spaces: the court on one side, and a no-land of reclusion on the other. The space of reclusion is a fiction that discloses the co-presence of a courtly aesthetics of refinement and politeness on the one hand, and an anti-aesthetics of desolation and destruction brought about by nature and human conflict on the other. The aesthetic encounters a major obstacle when it faces a barren field of destruction and desolation from which it can only retreat in despair, as in the case of the confrontation of narrative with the atomic conflagration.

Keywords: aesthetics; anti-aesthetics; reclusion



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