Gunter Grass's 'The Tin Drum' and Oe Kenzaburo's 'My Tears': a study in convergence.
It was evident at the time of their 1978 encounter that Oe considered Grass, his senior by eight years, to be a "comrade" with whom he shared literary as well as political views. Oe acknowledged his visitor's "genuine" quality, commenting in an essay that "Grass is truly a person who has established a solid identity as a writer" (Hyogensurumono 10). By 1978 Oe had enthusiastically read the Japanese translations of Grass's works, including The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, and The Flounder (2) and had stated that The Tin Drum should be regarded as one of world literature's postwar masterpieces because of Grass's narrative technique - his protagonist Oskar's obscene, humorous, grotesque narration of a minutely detailed everyday reality (Dojidaironshu 7: 296-98). In the interview of 1990, held in Frankfurt twelve years after their first encounter and one day after the unification of Germany, Oe told Grass how popular The Tin Drum had become in Japan and how strong an impression Oskar had left on Japanese readers: when one of Oe's friends mentioned that he knew a No player who could shatter glasses with his voice, they simultaneously shouted at each other, "he's a Japanese Oskar!" And among Oe's friends, "s/he is like Oskar" had become a common phrase (Grass and Oe, "Doitsu" 293).
Behind Oe's admiration for Grass, visible in anecdotes such as these, there lies a deeper similarity in the positions the writers take up in their two societies. Both Grass and Oe insist that after Auschwitz and Hiroshima political neutrality in literature is unacceptable. They believe that writing as a medium, through its ability to create distance upon events, should urge readers to take an engaged but rational view of human actions. Grass's definition of a contemporary writer is one who "exposes himself to vicissitudes, gets involved, and takes sides. The dangers of such involvement and sidetaking are known: the writer's objectivity may be lost; his language is tempted to live from hand to mouth; the narrowness of present circumstances may prove confining to his imaginative powers" (Two States 118). Despite these dangers, both Grass and Oe clearly take sides against political centralization and authoritarianism by means of creating decentralized and nonauthoritative narrative forms in their fictions.
As a representative of "the Auschwitz generation" (Two States 102), Grass could engage in "writing after Auschwitz" only after he physically and psychologically distanced himself from Germany.(3) Hence The Tin Drum was born in Paris more than ten years after the end of the war. Through this novel Grass attempts to instill a feeling of guilt in his readers, as a 1979 essay manifests: "What shall we tell our children? ... to explain to [our] own children what was done 'in the name of the German people" in Auschwitz.... What are they to say of the German guilt that has lived on from generation to generation and must remain forever indelible?" (On Writing 75-76). By emphasizing his hero's free will in the novel, Grass wants to provoke his audience into considering their own roles in the Third Reich and invites them to make a commitment to improve postwar society.
Similarly, Oe intends to persuade readers that the "emperor system" - the entire set of cultural values focused on the emperor and rooted in Shinto mythology, in which the emperor or ten'no (heavenly king) is a descendant of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami - is the source of evil in Japan.(4) His criticism of this system centers on his belief that it victimizes people, for it functions as "a tool to suppress art and the people's consciousness" (Matsuzaki 44). Oe repeatedly calls the emperor system kakuremino, which means, literally "a magic raincoat." This image from Japanese legend connotes a hiding of the truth, a concealment that prevents people from seeing reality rationally and critically. Oe, who was obsessed with and feared for the divine emperor in his childhood, realized that he needed to reproduce his experience in fiction in order to free himself completely from it.(5) By presenting the protagonist of My Tears as a man totally preoccupied by the myth of the emperor system, Oe asks his readers whether they themselves are liberated from its bondage and forces them to re-examine its validity.
In these two novels, both Grass and Oe convey their belief in the political and historical responsibility of art as an interpreter of the past. The specific segment of the past which they interpret, in order to demystify it, is the recent authoritarian regime in their countries, Nazism for Grass and the emperor system for Oe. In The Tin Drum and My Tears, the same three methods are used to decentralize the narration and distance readers from it: alienation effect, untrustworthy narrators, and parody of literary forms.
The use of literary techniques which distance readers has the effect of making historical events seem "strange" and therefore open to reconsideration. Grass adopts Verfremdungseffekt, the V- or alienation - effect, which is a variant of the "defamiliarization" developed by Bertolt Brecht in his epic theater. In his critical writing, Oe uses the term ika, which can also be translated "defamiliarization," reflecting the version of the concept developed by the Russian formalists in the 1920s.(6) As Victor Shklovsky put it: "the technique of art is to make objects 'unfamiliar,' to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important" (12). The aesthetics of Grass and Oe go beyond this theoretical position, since unlike the formalists they do seem concerned about the object. In this respect they more closely resemble Brecht, whose use of the V-effect politicized the technique of defamiliarization. Brecht's aim was to deflect the audience from the action on stage and thus awaken their critical faculties. Rejecting the fatalism of German classical and Aristotelian plays, Brecht suggests not only that human nature can be changed, but that it is, in fact, always changing, and that art should be an instrument of social improvement. Correspondingly, in The Tin Drum Grass creates a V-effect in order to show, in John Reddick's translation, "how latently political the petty bourgeois classes were as carriers of a world-view like that of the National Socialist regime" (49). Grass's minute detailing of everyday life serves to make it strange, for he remolds the most ordinary fictional ingredients into unexpected and incongruous forms. As Donna Baker explains: "Grass meets the grotesque with the grotesque. That is, an extreme narrative perspective and extreme situations are necessary in the novel to unmask the unrecognized extremity of everyday Nazi reality" (90).(7)
In the opening passages of the two novels, both Grass and Oe employ anonymity to distance readers from the narration and induce the impression of an ambiguous and peculiar world. At the beginning of The Tin Drum, the narrator's name is withheld for the first two pages. The novel begins thus: "Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there's a peephole in the door, and my keeper's eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me" (15). While the first clause invites the reader to participate in the narration, the following lines induce estrangement as the reader puzzles over whether or not the narrator is expressing an Aryan, "superior" Nazi viewpoint and accusing the non-Aryan keeper of inferiority. Then at the bottom of the second page the reader is abruptly informed that the narrator, now named Oskar, is going to write his "memories": "You mean white paper, Herr Oskar?" says the keeper Bruno, when he is asked to buy "virgin" paper for Oskar (16). Moreover, Grass has Oskar shift his narration from the autobiographical first person to the third person freely and without warning: "However, and here Oskar must confess to development of a sort, something did grow - and not always to my best advantage - ultimately taking on Messianic proportions: but what grownup in my day had eyes and ears for Oskar, the eternal three-year-old drummer?" (61; emphasis added). The shift of perspective creates an "ironic distancing" (Ireland 339) between the narrator and the narration, as well as between the narrator and the reader.
Similarly, the opening passages of My Tears offer severely limited information and are utterly confusing and decentralized, immediately throwing readers into a grotesque world:
Deep one night he was trimming his nose that would never walk again into sunlight atop living legs ... when suddenly a man, perhaps escaped from the mental ward in the same hospital or perhaps a lunatic who happened to be passing, with a body abnormally small and meagre for a man save only for a face as round as a Dharma's and covered in hair, sat down on the edge of his bed and shouted, foaming - what in God's name are you? What? what? ... [he screamed back] - I'm cancer, cancer, liver Cancer itself is me! ... The only image he retained with eyes rendered uncertain by the tinted underwater goggles he always wore was the arabesque pattern ... along the outer edges of the Dharma's beard.... Objectively, such was the case, despite the fact that he was ever surer inside himself that he had perceived in the hairy Dharma's features a resemblance to a certain party.
Readers are initially puzzled about who the anonymous "he" is, why "he" is "trimming his nose," and how a nose could walk as if it had legs. The encounter between "he," who has liver cancer and wears tinted underwater goggles at night in a hospital, and the hairy Dharma-like man, who resembles a certain party (readers do not know who), is further perplexing. Soon another voice intrudes. "Must I put down even that kind of silliness? asks the 'acting executor of the will,' who is taking down his verbal account" (4). Here, at the bottom of the second page, readers are abruptly informed that "he" is the narrator of a spoken account, and that someone else, named the "acting executor of the will," is putting his narration into writing. The subsequent sentences express, from within the text, the readers' own puzzlement about who the "acting executor of the will" might be, though "he" dismisses this inquiry: we are told that "'he' makes no attempt to ascertain, nor is 'he' the least concerned, whether [the 'acting executor of the will'] is his wife, a nurse, or simply an official scribe sent by the government or the United Nations solely to record the 'history of the age' 'he' is relating" (4-5). In this manner, bit by bit, the reader is given information about the narrator, his mother, and his wife, and, very significantly, about someone identified as ano hito (boldface in the original) or "the person," "the man," a designation rendered as "a certain party" (italicized) in John Nathan's translation. We will come back to this term. The opening scene also suggests that chronological order is to be eliminated throughout the novel, for the narrator's memory of "Happy Days" is the crucial temporal point around which his "history of the age" revolves and which he repeatedly recalls in fragments.(8)
Furthermore, Oe gives his characters periphrastic locutions as names, if he gives them names at all. The narrator's wife, as it turns out, is the person called the "acting executor of the will," whereas his father is ano hito or "the man." Both the narrator and his mother lack names. In addition, by employing the term ano hito ("the person" or "the man"), Oe creates a central and continuing ambiguity, for the reader gradually realizes that "the man" while referring to the narrator's father, also implies the Man, the divine emperor. Just as the narrator's father secludes himself in a storehouse and lacks a name, the divine emperor seldom appeared in public and was never addressed by name prior to the end of the war. Here too the reader's awareness of the problematic nature of the designation is expressed from within the text, for the narrator's wife, who bears that strange designation of "acting executor of the will," discloses and questions the connection between the narrator's father and the emperor: "Why do you keep calling him a certain party? Can't I change [it] to 'father'? When you say "a certain party" he sounds like an imaginary figure in a myth or in history" (49-50). The narrator replies, "To make someone sound like an imaginary figure can be a way of debasing him, but it can also be a way of exalting him into a kind of idol" (50).(9)
Supporting anonymity as a technique of estrangement, Grass and Oe present distorted autobiographies. The general settings of the two works are clearly autobiographical. Grass's lower-middle-class background in the former free city of Danzig (now Polish Gdansk), his German father's grocery store, and his mother's Kashubian origin match Oskar's situation, while Oskar's decision to stop growing physically at the age of three in 1927 coincides with the author's own birth year. Pictures of Hitler and Beethoven hang in Oskar's house, while in Grass's home hung pictures of Hitler and the Holy Ghost. Like the young shop clerk and Oskar's stepmother Maria in The Tin Drum, Grass listened keenly to special radio communiques. Oskar leaves Danzig for Dusseldorf, where he works as a stone-cutter and a jazz player in postwar Germany, just as Grass did. Similarly, Oe's narrator is the same age as the author, and Oe sets his narrator's memories of "Happy Days" in his own native village in the remote mountains of Shikoku, which Oe left for Tokyo at the age of eighteen. Oe, like his narrator, endured his father's death at the age of ten, and Oe's difficulties in elementary school become his narrator's nightmare. The narrator's mother explains to the "acting executor of the will": "When he was a child he'd dream the teacher at elementary school was asking him If the emperor ordered you to die, would you die? and he'd sob and repeat the cruel answer in his sleep, Yes, I would die, I would die happily! and here he is thirty-five years old and still weeping away as if the teacher was asking the same question, it's a cruel business, yessir!" (105-6). Just as Oe himself suffered secretly from his lack of eagerness to die for the emperor-god, the narrator, who lives with memories of the past, still cannot rid himself of fear.
These realistic elements are made strange by the narrators' distorted memories, which enable readers to visualize familiar situations anew and with detachment. Based on his own experience as a jazz player, Grass creates, in a chapter titled "In the Onion Cellar," a heavily satiric description of the distorted and displaced behavior of people in postwar Germany. Oskar, like Grass, plays the drum in an expensive, high-class bar, here called the Onion Cellar, in which guests peel onions in a ritual manner in order to be able to "cry properly, without restraint, to cry like mad" (525). Grass's alienating portrayal of these rich people, who pay a high price for onions so that they can cry, reveals the emptiness of the postwar world. Furthermore, in order to shock the reader, both novels display quite a number of "obscene" scenes and words. In The Tin Drum, Grass openly uses unattractive sexual elements to defamiliarize everyday experiences.(10) For example, Oskar minutely describes a scene of lovemaking between his first love Maria and his "presumed" father Matzerath in the living room:
Matzerath's underdrawers were hanging down to his knees.... Maria's dress and petticoat had rolled up over her brassiere to her armpits. Her panties were dangling round one foot which hung from the sofa on a repulsively twisted leg. Her other leg lay bent back.... Between her legs Matzerath. With his right hand he turned her head aside, the other hand guided him on his way ... he wanted to know if she liked it the way he was doing it. She said yes several times and asked him to be careful.... Then he inquired if it was time. And she said yes, very soon. Then she must have had a cramp in her foot that was hanging down off the sofa, for she kicked it up in the air, but her panties still hung from it. Then he bit into the velvet cushion again and she screamed: go away.
Reddick correctly points out "the grotesquely cold and mechanical banality of the couple's "work" "Arbeit')" in this scene (44). Their Arbeit (work) ironically evokes the Nazi slogans about working and also refers to the six million unemployed Germans in 1933. In this context, Grass's description of sexual work instills feelings of disgust in the reader.
Oe, like Grass, employs repulsive sexual elements "as the most concrete means to defamiliarize the mundane lives of human beings" ("Interview" 373).(11) For example, the narrator teases the "acting executor of the will," asking "half in ridicule but half solicitously," "Are you afraid if my entire body has become a vagina in heat I may request some grotesque form of masturbation such as jamming a pole into the sea anemone of my body and stirring it around?" (11). In another case, the narrator relates an episode of his high school days, when, after mistakenly drinking ethyl alcohol instead of methyl alcohol and becoming drunk, he had gone to his mother, knife in hand, and declared, "Mother, you and I are the sole survivors here, we must marry secretly and have many children and strangle the abnormal fruit of our incestuous marriage while they are still newling infants and keep only the hale and healthy and provide for the prosperity of our heirs and thus, Mother, we must make amends for having killed a certain party" (38). The reader is intended to be shocked by this expression of the narrator's desire for an incestuous marriage. Through this bizarre picture, Oe suggests the Oedipus myth, with the narrator, the "abandoned" child, leaving his dead father/the emperor behind and wanting to marry his mother to "provide for the prosperity" of his nation's future. Even the aftermath of the emperor system functions to destroy normal human relationships.
The unreliable, uncertain, and grotesque figures chosen by both Grass and Oe to serve as the narrators of their decentralized fictions constantly compel the reader to examine the validity of the narrator's viewpoint. The narrators in these two works live in asylums, in which they relate their memories: Grass's narrator openly declares at the beginning of the story that he is an inmate of a mental hospital, and although Oe's narrator alleges that he is a cancer patient in a hospital, the reader is not sure whether he is, in fact, in a cancer ward or a mental institution. By placing their narrators in institutionalized seclusion, Grass and Oe create a double focus on reality and fantasy, on insane and sane visions, and widen the distance between the narrator and the reader.
Oskar, as The Tin Drum's sole narrator, reveals his uncertainty at the beginning of the story: "I only hope [my memories] are accurate" (16). He
contradicts himself as well. For example, early in the narrative Oskar seems to believe in his grandfather's death and to disbelieve the various tales of his grandfather's miraculous escape, but at the end he bursts out, "America, Buffalo, my old dream! Off I go, in search of my grandfather" (585). Moreover, the "three-year-old" dwarf Oskar, seeing the world as if it were enlarged and magnified, blurs the boundaries between child and adult, and his visual distortions challenge conventional notions of reality.
Throughout My Tears, Oe too accentuates the narrator's ambiguity and unreliability, a concept that in this work is emphasized through the presence of multiple narrative voices. Oe has explained that the purpose of a plural viewpoint is "to present reality with all its ambiguities and ambivalences.... That is to say, one reality convey[s] many meanings" ("Interview" 372). Accordingly, the narrator's stories are constantly examined and interrupted by two other individuals, the "acting executor of the will" (his wife) and his mother. The "acting executor of the will," who disturbs his narration with unexpected suggestions and questions, focuses upon the ambiguities of the main narrator's situation. When she asks him, "Why do you talk as if you believed you had terminal cancer and were about to go into a coma when all your symptoms contradict that?" (9), the reader of course suspects that the narrator is not really dying of cancer - and yet the "acting executor of the will" may be hiding the facts from him, because in Japan doctors normally do not tell the truth to cancer patients. She also points out the confusions and contradictions within his narration: "What do you mean by 'screams in a small voice'?" (39). Moreover, realizing the narrator's uncertainty, she tries to discover the source of his nightmare: "I wonder if there is something hidden in your life in the storehouse that you don't want to talk about, even though you speak of Happy Days" (67). Her constant disruptions of the narration in this manner provoke a re-examination of what the narrator has said.
The narrative is further subverted by the mother's contradicting it with "extremely negative evidence" (89). Indeed, it is his mother's unexpected appearance that breaks into the narrator's reminiscences of "Happy Days," for by the end of the novel the reader has realized that the Dharma-like man whom the narrator encountered in the opening passage was actually his mother (119). Not speaking directly to the narrator but to the "acting executor of the will," the mother points out the narrator's deliberately distorted memory. According to her, the narrator's idol (his father) resembles a madman, a cripple, or a child about to die:
A man who shuts himself up in a storehouse day and night is a madman, yessir! A man who's bleeding from his sick bladder but can't urinate by himself he's so fat he can't move is a cripple.... And a man who'd set out on a long trip in a wooden box with some deserters when he had no possible chance of returning alive is even worse luck than a dying child, yessir!
Furthermore, the narrator's mother proves that his father's supposed uprising to save Japan from defeat took place on August 16, the day after the end of the war, when such an action was futile, whereas the narrator insists that it took place on August 15. In addition to his mother's "negative evidence," the narrator himself periodically admits to his unreliable memory and his possible insanity: "what I said and what I experienced don't have to match" (22), he declares, and later remarks that "At times I've thought to myself maybe I have been mad since I was three just as my mother says ... if I'm a madman, fine, I'm resolved to stay that way and continue sharing life with my favorite phantom, a certain party. Ha! Ha! Ha!" (50).(12)
Both The Tin Drum and My Tears, as masterpieces of literary parody, challenge the reader's automatic response to the familiar ideology presented in traditional literature.(13) In The Tin Drum Grass employs deliberate parody of the bildungsroman, the novel of education and personal development, for he insists upon the impossibility of genuine personal development within a dehumanized society. The bildungsroman, as a major genre in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century German literature, recounts various educational adventures that lead to a young hero's integration into bourgeois society; or, as Roy Pascal puts it, "The 'bildungsroman' is the representation of an arduous journey out of inwardness into social activity, out of subjectivity into objectivity" (299). The ending of the conventional bildungsroman represents "both the final step of an initiation process and the beginning of active social participation which will affirm the highest ideological principles of bourgeois liberalism" (Zipes 154).
Grass's novel is a deliberate parody of the traditional bildungsroman, since through the book's fragmented, episodic style Grass stresses not Oskar's development and integration, but his retardation and alienation from the dehumanized bourgeoisie among whom he lives. The novel thus belongs to the type that Jack Zipes has described as the inverted contemporary German bildungsroman:
[It] is an episodic, realistic representation of a protagonist's growing alienation and his refusal to comply with the socio-economic pressures that lead to one type of reification or another. The traditional novel of development undergoes ... parody.... The protagonist's awareness of his alienation becomes a measure of his humanity; and his resistance to it, a guideline for establishing standards for real growth.
Grass inverts specific elements of the bildungsroman to prove that this traditional literary form and the ideology it represents are impotent in modern Germany after Auschwitz. As in the typical bildungsroman, Grass lets Oskar narrate both private and public history chronologically, beginning with his grandmother's conception of his mother Agnes in a potato field in 1899 and ending with his own thirtieth birthday in postwar Germany in 1954. Unlike the bildungsroman, however, Grass's novel is fragmentary and episodic within the steady chronological flow of history. For example, Oskar says at his birth: "I was one of those clair-audient infants whose mental development is completed at birth and after that merely needs a certain amount of filling in" (47). This remark denies the fundamental notion of the bildungsroman, in which the protagonist's mental and spiritual development is supposed to be gradually completed through experiences in society. Oskar's condition of "being intellectually adult at birth but never becoming physically adult" (Ireland 341) also mocks the notion of development. He declares, "I remained the precocious three-year-old, towered over by grownups but superior to all grownups . . . who were condemned to worry their heads about ~development,' who had only to confirm what they were compelled to gain by hard and often painful experience, and who had no need to change his shoe and trouser size year after year just to prove that something was growing" (60-61). Moreover, by transforming the retarded Oskar into a hunchback who lives in postwar Germany, Grass connotes the replacement of the "retarded" Nazi society with a "deformed" modern society. At both the beginning and the end of the story, Oskar is an inmate in a mental asylum, as if the confines of a hospital room are the maximum "development" now possible; he confesses: "My white-enameled, metal hospital bed has become a norm and standard. To me it is still more: my bed is a goal attained at last, it is my consolation and might become my faith" (15).
Grass appears to present a deliberate parody of the most famous bildungsroman, Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship (1795-1796). Like Goethe's protagonist Wilhelm, Oskar joins the theater and goes to the battlefront in France, but unlike Wilhelm's theater, Oskar's is "a theater of midgets," a symbol of multiple individuals' retardation or arrested development. Like Oskar, his master Bebra decided against growth - in his case, "on [his] tenth birthday" (114); Oskar's love of the midget Roswitha ends with her death. In addition, by parodying Goethe's notion of "two souls" ("Zwei Seelen"), Grass suggests that only dark souls dwell in Nazi Germany. Goethe's Faust describes "two souls" struggling in his breast -" Alas, there are two souls that live in me and one wants to part from the other" (200) - to express his condition of being torn between his material desires and spiritual demands, or, in other words, by the two impulses of nature and of reason. In The Tin Drum, after reading two books, Rasputin and Women and Goethe's Elective Affinities, Oskar describes his own two souls as Rasputin and Goethe, initially suggesting a contrast "between the faith healer and the man of the Enlightenment, between the dark spirit who cast a spell on women and the luminous poet prince who was so fond of letting women cast a spell on him" (90-91).(14) At the court of Czar Nicholas II, the mystic and charlatan Rasputin enjoyed his "dark" power over women, as well as his influence on political affairs, until his assassination. Goethe, on the other hand, enjoyed his life of intelligence, genius, and love in Weimar. This contrast between Rasputin and Goethe also reminds the reader of that between Hitler and Beethoven, whose pictures are placed face to face in Oskar's parents' living room. These ostensible opposites are in reality interrelated. As Oskar states, "it became clear to me that in this world of ours every Rasputin has his Goethe, that every Rasputin draws a Goethe or if you prefer every Goethe a Rasputin in his wake, or even makes one if need be, in order to be able to condemn him later on" (93). Oskar's comment suggests that the Germans made Hitler grow in order to "condemn" him later on, for they wanted to assert that Hitler was responsible for the evil acts and that the Germans were his victims. Hence, Grass's parody of the nineteenth-century "two souls" idea manifests his viewpoint that not two souls, but one soul in which the evil impulse predominates, could be found in every German under the Nazi regime.
Grass also seems to parody the concept of the Christian Trinity, which is first projected through his hero Oskar, who ceases to grow at the age of three and remains as a three-year-old child until the end of the war. The novel itself is divided into three books: before the war, during the war, and after the war. Instead of the union of the three divine figures of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in one Godhead, Grass's Trinity consists of Oskar's Kashubian mother Agnes and his two fathers, the German Matzerath and the Polish Jan Bronski, who are weirdly united in "a horse's head, a fresh and genuine horse's head, the head of a black horse with a black mane" (149). The grotesque picture of small, light-green eels in the horse head, in the chapter titled "Good Friday Fare," leads not to the Resurrection of Christ but to the death of Agnes. The love triangle is "inherited" or perpetuated into another generation to create another evil Trinity, that of the Kashubian Maria, the German Matzerath, and the Kashubian/German/Polish Oskar, because Oskar tries to make the reader believe that he, not Matzerath, is the father of Maria's child Kurt. By parodying the concept of the Trinity in these dubious three-somes, Grass not only mocks Nazi propaganda, with its notion of the purity of Aryan blood, but also exhibits an evil world in which no "Faith, Hope, Love" exist. Behind this parody there lies Grass's proclamation that "since Auschwitz, Christian institutions (in Germany, at least) have forfeited their claim to ethical leadership" due to their passive acceptance of the Nazis (On Writing 89).
Oe too uses literary parody to subvert any tendency to uncritically accept the past. My Tears is a parody of the I-novel, or shishosetsu, an autobiographical form that flourished in Japan at the beginning of the twentieth century. The conventional shishosetsu, narrated in the first or third person, "slices a chunk out of the author's life at any point in the time span, and it is thus free from restrictions of time, particularly of the past.... [Shishosetsu is characterized by] the narrowness of its scope and the obvious absence of interest in society" (Tsuruta 15). Just as My Tears' narrator tells about his "Happy Days" over and over in a secluded world, the shishosetsu writers repeatedly describe one or a few incidents of their lives in their works. The essence of shishosetsu as an autobiographical genre, however, rests on "its sincerity - which lets the reader view the author's experience 'unmediated' by forms, shapes, structures, or other 'trappings' of fiction' (Fowler 27). Based on traditional lyric poetry, particularly the tanka and haiku forms, and on Buddhist belief, a shishosetsu is evaluated according to whether it is ostensibly a faithful expression of the author's true feelings and sense of self. In other words, a shishosetsu's readers identify the author with the narrator and expect "sincerity" from the narrative. Contrary to these expectations, Oe removes the essence of "sincerity" by defamiliarizing the traditional form. He intentionally impedes the Japanese audience's habitual reaction to it, and thus, in the formalists' terms, increases the difficulty and length of perception. The general unreliability of Oe's narrator, a major factor in this process, is supported by other types of parody and distancing.
For example, Oe defamiliarizes the literary device of the "5-7-5" haiku form. The narrator's father or ano hito, as a representative of the "Manchurian Committee to Revere Basho) the Master," composes doggerel based on a famous poem by Matsuo Basho, the great seventeenth-century haiku master: "Fu ru i ke ya / ka wa zu to bi ko mu / Mi zu no o to" ("The old pond / A frog leaps in / And a splash"). For Basho, who connected the haiku form with Zen Buddhism, the attempt to achieve union with nature through haiku was motivated by a lifelong search for the enlightenment of Zen. Permanence, symbolized in Basho's haiku by the stillness of the old pond around the temple in spring (the frog is a seasonal term, or kigo, for spring), is broken by the sound of the water when the frog jumps in. At this aesthetic moment, Basho experiences a perception of truth, a "temporary enlightenment." Oe deconstructs this poem by punning on the word kaeru or kawazu and removing its context from the silent Zen temple to the profane world of money and mud:
Ka e ru to wa / Ta ma go no ka e ru / ka e ru na re
O ka ne ni ka e ru / ka e ru na re So ri ku ri ka e ru / ka e ru na re Hi k ku ri ka e ru / ka e ru na re Ko e n ni ka e ru / ka e ru na re De i do ni ka e ru / ka e ru na re Shi zu ma ri ka e ru / ka e ru na re O ku wa ni n ge n no / ri a ri zu mu
What is a frog? / It is hatching eggs
It is exchanging for money It is a pompous ass sitting back It is being knocked down flat on its back It is returning to an old garden It is returning to mud It is everything quieting down Many of these belong to human reality
In classical Japanese the word for frog is kawazu, but in modern Japanese it is kaeru, which also means "to change," "to hatch," "to return" and is often used with other verbs to form compounds. In the seventh line, for instance, shizumaru + kaeru = shizumarikaeru (to become silent as the grave).(15) Although Oe maintains the 5-7-5 form, Basho's famous haiku is "defamiliarized" by the playfully deconstructed poem, which has no center and thus no meaning. The parody of this haiku is connected to a second punning parody associated with ano hito. When a villager asks ano hito to write the words "prosper but be not proud," or "Tomite Ogorazu," in calligraphy, ano hito instead writes "hibernate but be not proud" (54), or "Tominshite Ogorazu" (65). The narrator comments that his father deliberately writes this phrase not simply because he wants to make fun of the villager, but also because "his father might describe his own situation as that of "a frog [hibernating] in the storehouse" (Nathan's translation omits this line). Through this pun and the parody of Basho's haiku, Oe mockingly connects ano hito - and thus the emperor - with a "frog in the storehouse" who confines himself within a secluded world and seldom appears in public. Furthermore, this metaphor of kaeru also recalls a popular Japanese idiom, "I no naka no Kawazu taikai o shirazu" ("a frog in the well does not know the ocean"), which refers to somebody who knows little but who believes that he knows everything because he cages himself within a small world.
Oe later parodies another famous classic, The Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari), which was written in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. The well-known phrase that its warrior-hero Taira Tomomori utters at the moment of his suicide in battle, "mirubekihodonokotowa mitsu" (113), which means "[I] have seen what must be seen" (101), is employed by Oe to emphasize the narrator's unreliability. According to the narrator, ano hito tells his chosen son before he dies, "For the next quarter-century that you will live remember always what you have seen, All has been accomplished, you have seen what must be seen, Survive and remember, that is your role, Do nothing else!" (101). According to his mother, however, "[to] see what must be seen" (102) is a line that her father (the narrator's grandfather) had found in The Tale of the Heike when he read the book in prison and sent it to her family before his execution - not part of ano hito's advice. The mother discredits the narrator's story by saying to the "acting executor of the will": "Can you imagine a certain party turning to a pitiful little child and speaking to him in classical Japanese?" (102).
Oe's subversions of traditional ingredients are not limited to Japanese materials. The title of his novel, in fact, points toward Germany. A parodying use of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach contributes to Oe's efforts to defamiliarize the emperor system. According to the narrator, on August 15, 1945, his father led a band of army deserters out of their mountain village to the nearby city in an attempt to rescue Japan from defeat. On the way to the city, they sang in German the refrain of a Bach cantata, which they had learned from a record the night before: "da wischt mir die Tranen mein Heiland selbst ab.... Komm, O Tod, du Schlafes Bruder" ("then the Savior himself wipes my tears away. . . . Come, O Death, you brother of sleep").(16) His father, who seldom communicated with the narrator, nevertheless kindly explained the meaning of the song:
TRANEN means "tear[s]," and TOD that means "to die," it's German. His Majesty the Emperor wipes my tears away with his own hand, Death, you come ahead, you brother of Sleep you come ahead, his Majesty will wipe my tears away with his own hand, that's what they're singing. I wait eagerly for his Majesty the Emperor to wipe my tears away with his own hand, they're singing!
Bach's music is surely "made strange" by this distorted interpretation: music created for church services becomes recontextualized as martial music, and Bach's "Heiland" is equated with the emperor-god, who expects the Japanese to die willingly for him. By having patriotic soldiers sing and misinterpret not a Japanese song but a Western one, and thus making the episode seem quite peculiar, Oe compels readers to re-examine traditional Japanese notions of an "honorable" death, such as the kamikaze pilots' suicidal attacks in the name of the emperor late in the war, or the practice of Junshi (suicide on the death of one's lord - here, the "death" of the divine emperor).(17) Furthermore, Oe allows the narrator's mother to explain how ridiculous the uprising was and to disclose its contradictions: "there's no way Heiland can mean ~emperor'! And as for having their tears wiped away, those soldiers had worked themselves up to where they were ready to bomb the personage that was supposed to do the wiping, yessir!" (96). The narrator tries to justify the uprising: "the ritual purification [misogi - I will come back to this term] of death by bombing at the hands of martyrs in a plane" (99), he says, was necessary for the emperor, "who swiftly descended to earth to announce the surrender in the voice of a mortal man" (98) so that he could then be revived as divine. Instead of the divine emperor wiping away the narrator's tears, however, it is his mother's "scratchy thumbs that expertly wipe away the tears in the corners of his closed eyes" (101). Oe's message of disillusionment with the emperor system is clear, for he has inverted, ironically, the appearance of the emperor on Japan radio for the first time, to order the nation's surrender, an event which made him less than divine, into the mythic descent of the god in mortal guise.
Due to their outspoken social criticism, Grass and Oe have been labeled traitors to their own countries.(18) As the decentralized narratives employed in The Tin Drum and My Tears show, Grass and Oe raise strong objections to the political and cultural centralization of Germany and Japan. Grass explains his opposition to the joining of East and West Germany: "Nothing, no sense of nationhood, however idyllically colored, and no assurance of late-born benevolence can modify or dispel the experience that we the criminals, with our victims, had as a unified Germany. We cannot get around ... it, because Auschwitz belongs to us, is a permanent stigma of our history - and a positive gain! It has made possible this insight: finally we know ourselves" (Two States 123). At the height of the German people's intoxication with the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 and the unification on October 3 of the following year, Grass soberly expressed his rejection of a united Germany (Two States 6), because he foresaw the "Fourth Reich" as a "giant" Germany in which, under the name of the "zero point" or the new beginning, the terrible memory of the Third Reich would be pragmatically erased. Similarly, Oe worries about the coming of a new age in Japan, marked by Emperor Hirohito's death on January 7, 1990 and the accession of the new emperor, Akihito, in November 1990, one month after German unification. Oe's cool eyes observe that the Japanese, like the German people, will now try to bury the dark memory of World War II. Oe calls this tendency misogi, which means, literally, the ritual purification that takes place before a Shinto ceremony. According to Oe, the government intended to reinforce the concept of misogi at the new emperor's enthronement, in which Akihito, like his father Hirohito before 1945, became a "god" through the Shinto ritual of onie no matsuri, or the acquisition of divinity (Grass and Oe, "Doitsu" 314). By singling out the irreconcilable duality of the emperor's status as the mere symbol of Japan according to the constitution but as a god in Shinto rite, Oe accuses the authoritarian elements of Japanese society by which people are blinded to the truth.
Grass's and Oe's refusal to accept the concept of a zero point or misogi, which would obliterate the past, also manifests their shared belief in the significance of history. Seeing history as a continuum of past, present, and future, they write "against the passage of time" (Grass, On Writing 87 and 140). Grass wants to convey this concept of history to the next generation, those who were born after Auschwitz: "the history which is now taking place in Germany began hundreds of years ago ... these German histories, with the rubble they leave behind them, with their ever new debits of guilt, cannot become obsolete, cannot die away" (On Writing 87). Similarly, Oe has stated that "postwar Japanese writers have been living with the ideology of the present within history as the continuation of the past, present, and future" (Grass and Oe, "Doitsu" 321). Both The Tin Drum and My Tears, accordingly, are works devoted to insisting on the present importance of the past.
Through the similar literary techniques of V-effect and defamiliarization in these novels, as I have shown, Grass demystifies the era of the Nazis and Oe the emperor system. By presenting untrustworthy narrators who live in grotesque worlds, Grass and Oe shock readers and distance or estrange them from the narrator and the story. Moreover, by parodying traditional literary forms such as the bildungsroman and shishosetsu, they criticize both the modern world and an unthinking acceptance of the past. Grass's and Oe's fictions are, in Mary N. Layoun's term, "the inversion of ... tradition, its negative image" (210). Far from the traditional German and Japanese works by writers such as Goethe and Kawabata, the decentralized and nonauthoritarian narrative forms chosen by Grass and Oe express their convergent intentions of taking an ideological stance against the political centralization and authoritarianism of their countries. In The Tin Drum and My Tears, Grass and Oe emphasize the memoir as a form, as in Oskar's "recording of [his] memories" (16) and Oe's narrator's "History of the [Contemporary] Age" (8). In both novels, the "subjectively" re-created type of history that is represented by memoir, with its exploration of "limited visions, faulty memories, narrow obsessions" (Schlant 21), activates the audience, requiring "two-track reading, looking simultaneously at the surface and at the implied depths" (Ryan 193). Grass's and Oe's use of memoir to depict an ambiguous world, full of negative images, reflects the overwhelming past through which they lived. The apparent three-year-old Oskar represents the "infantilism" of the Nazi era (Grass and Oe, "Bungaku" 322). Although Oskar's grotesque episodes shock readers, it soon becomes clear that his amorality, his manipulation of people, his treatment of them as objects, and his pursuit of money are not much different from the behavior of other Germans, both in the Third Reich and in the post-war years. Similarly, the narrator of My Tears, absorbed into the myth of the emperor system, represents the people of Imperial Japan. Escaping from reality, the narrator lives in what he calls the memory of his "Happy Days," yet at the end of the story the reader realizes that the "Happy Days" are actually the source of his nightmare. In this manner, both Grass's and Oe's narratives - defamiliarizing memoirs of grotesqueness and parody - are intended to be ambivalent and equivocal, so that their readers can experience, in Jean-Paul Sartre's term, "the synthesis of perception and creation" (52).
Yet despite their use of similar literary devices and their correspondingly grotesque descriptions of contemporary life, Grass and Oe present their narrators from diametrically opposed perspectives that reflect their own recent pasts: Grass stresses Oskar's life-long guilt, whereas Oe's narrator is portrayed as a victim of the myth of the emperor. These opposing views partly reflect the two writers' different experiences during World War II. Grass was an active member of the Hitler Youth at the age of fourteen and at seventeen became a soldier for the Nazis. At the end of the war, he was captured by the Americans and held in a POW camp. Grass explains his guilt in the following way:
I was a Hitler Youth, aged seventeen at the end of the war and called up with the last draft, too young to acquire guilt. But when I was asked, "What if you had been older?," it was hard to answer.... The belated anti-Nazism of my generation was never subjected to the danger test. I could not swear that, if I had been six or seven years older, I would not have participated in the great crime. My doubts were such that I was plagued (more and more often as time passed) by nightmares in which I felt myself to be guilty. The dividing line between real and potential action was blurred.
His feelings of responsibility for the sins committed by the Nazis have led Grass to write on behalf of the dead in the war (Grass and Oe, "Bungaku" 323; "Doitsu" 293 and 302) and also to criticize the emptiness of modern society. Elsewhere Grass has suggested that the German people's "weakness" helped the Nazis flourish (On Writing 147), a remark intended to prod his readers into questioning their own involvement in and responsibility for the Nazis' crimes.(19) Grass's context is a particular national audience, "specifically that of the German Federal Republic, an affluent society basking in the German ~economic miracle'; and ostensibly quite recovered from its traumatic past" (Hollington 30).
On the other hand, Oe's narrator expresses no guilt (though in other contexts Oe stresses Japan's responsibility for the war). Like the narrator, the patriotic ten-year-old Oe lost the coherence of his world at the end of the war, for his father's death, the national defeat, and Emperor Hirohito's public denial of divinity (ningensengen) in January 1946 all wounded him incurably. When his belief in dying for the living god Hirohito had to be replaced by the concept of American-style democracy, he felt victimized, betrayed both by the older generation and by the emperor. As in Oe's own nightmare in his school days, the narrator in My Tears weeps in his dreams, even twenty-five years later, at his hesitation to die for the emperor-god and at the deception involved in the fake uprising of 1945. In order to escape from these sources of tension and from his fear of the emperor, the narrator anxiously anticipates his death by cancer. By creating a protagonist who is still obsessed by the myth of the emperor, Oe asks his readers whether they too have not failed to break the spell of the emperor system and presses them to rethink its validity. Oe, like Grass, declares that his stories are meant exclusively for the national audience, in this case for Japanese readers, especially "of [his] own generation, people who have had the same experiences as [himself]" (Ishiguro and Oe 11).(20) Oe's perspective of the victim is problematic, however, for he develops a radical multiplicity of viewpoints. His narrator does not seem to consider himself a victim, but his mother, who sympathizes with him, regards him as one; by contradicting him, she tries to disillusion him. Acting as the author's mouthpiece, endowed with a rational voice, the mother tells the story not from within a victim's perspective but with a critical view.(21) Oe's strategy of decentralization includes conflicting perspectives on victimization itself.
In spite of their belief in the importance of literature, their 1990 interview shows that, after nearly thirty-five years of speaking out, Grass and Oe realize that their words have had little effect on the behavior of their compatriots. However, they do not abandon the task of sending ideological messages. On the contrary, Grass and Oe seem determined to continue to write about the chaotic past, to criticize the tendencies toward centralization and authoritarianism in their countries, and to try to make audiences see the truth behind kakuremino, the magic raincoat of concealment. At the conclusion of their 1990 interview, Grass admits that he, like Oe, is a contemporary Sisyphus - yet he sees this as a positive state, with himself as "the happy boulder-pusher," in Camus's term, who, in spite of the fruitlessness of his efforts, desires to persevere in his labors forever (Grass and Oe, "Doitsu" 323).
(1.) In 1978, Oe indicated that he had read The Tin Drum eleven years earlier, which would have been in 1967 (Grass and Oe, "Bungaku" 322 and 324). However, in a June 15, 1992 letter, Oe stated that he did not read The Tin Drum before writing My Tears (Letter). (2.) At the beginning of the 1978 interview, Oe explained that he was chosen to talk with Grass, in spite of not being a specialist on German literature or history, not only because he was the first Japanese writer to review Japanese translations of Grass's works, but also because he had reviewed most of them (Grass and Oe, "Bungaku" 312). (3.) Grass regards the young poets of the fifties, such as Peter Ruhmkorf and Hans Magnus Enzensberger, as the Auschwitz generation, who "are not ... criminals, to be sure, but in the [POW] camp of the criminals" (Two States 102). The question raised by Theodor Adorno - whether one can write after Auschwitz, or whether it is permissible to write poetry after Auschwitz - always weighs heavily on Grass (Grass and Oe, "Doitsu" 317). (4.) The imperial line has reigned through either symbolic or real power since the beginning of known Japanese history in 660 B.C. (5.) In the prelude to My Tears, Oe acknowledges that "in this story I, through the protagonist, tried to confine myself in the shackles of the Emperor system [once more]" (7). (6.) In Atarashii Bungaku no Tameni, Oe quotes Shklovsky's definition, explains the Russian formalists' technique of defamiliarization (which he calls ika), and discusses his use of this technique (25-65). See also Shosetsu no Hoho. (7.) Similarly, commenting upon Grass's use of "discordant combination, physical abnormality, spatial disproportion, and distorted vision," Kenneth R. Ireland also analyzes the grotesque in The Tin Drum (347). (8.) Michiko Wilson in The Marginal World remarks that "My Tears is [Oe's] most complicated text in its repetitions" (67). See also her "Oe's Obsessive Metaphor," where she explains Oe's use of repetition as a technique of "grotesque realism" (Bakhtin's term in Rabelais and His World). (9.) My Tears, written within a year of the public and ritualistic suicide (harakiri) of the distinguished Japanese writer Mishima Yukio (1925-1970), shows the strong impact of that event. Oe underscores his belief in the wickedness of the emperor system by deliberately choosing as his protagonist a person who, like Mishima, is possessed by the myth of the emperor. Oe critiques Mishima's worship of the emperor, who becomes "a kind of idol" through whom Mishima believed he could accomplish his fanatical goals, which included an attempted coup against the government and a samurai's death. (10.) Shortly after the publication of the novella Katz und Maus (Cat and Mouse) in 1961 - Die Blechtrommel, Katz und Maus, and Hundejahre (Dog Years) together form the Danzig trilogy - grass was accused by a subministerial official in the state of Hessen, Germany, of writing "pornographic" literature and thus exerting a bad influence on youth. This accusation was later withdrawn (Lawson xii). (11.) Oe himself states, "I used sexuality in my novels as a means of defamiliarization ..., especially when I was in my twenties and thirties" "(Interview" 373). By writing two sensational stories, "Sevenchin" ("Seventeen") and "Seijishonen Shisu" ("Death of a Political Youth") in 1961, Oe violated two taboos of the time - those against dealing with sex and with the emperor in public. His two stories were attacked by right-wing parties and critics. As a result, Oe was threatened with death by right wingers, the publisher apologized to the public for creating such a "nuisance," and "Death of a Political Youth" remained unpublished when Oe's other writings appeared in book form. (12.) It is worth mentioning that Oe, like Grass, makes his narrator become "mad" at the age of three. Oe's notion of three might originate in a Japanese proverb, "mitsugo no tamashii hyaku made" (literally, "the soul of a three-year-old child remains unchanged until s/he becomes a hundred years old"), which means that one's personality is formed by the age of three. (13.) According to Susan J. Napier, "My Tears is not a consistently successful parody" ("Death" 84), whereas according to Michiko Wilson, it is a "masterpiece of parody" (Marginal World 74). I would agree with Wilson's assessment. (14.) In his essay "The Tin Drum in Retrospect or The Author as Dubious Witness," Grass describes the figures of Rasputin and Goethe as "elective affinities" (On Writing 28). As he did with the "two souls" of Faust, in Elective Affinities Goethe presents an encounter between nature and mind, or sensuality and morality, as the essence of human striving. (15.) In order to create a new type of imaginative writing, Oe stresses the significance of punning, or goroawase. For example, in an essay about the distinguished Meiji poet Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), Oe discusses the young Shiki's goroawase or pun in a political speech of 1883, when he used the term kokkai (black lump) for kokkai (National Diet) Dojidaironshu 10: 56-96). In his political writings as well as fictions, Oe often employs goroawase, such as using the term kokkai as a metaphor for the emperor system. (16.) Oe's title, Mizukara Waga Namida o Nuguitamauhi, is taken from this song. The English title, The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away, is a faithful translation of the Japanese. (17.) Nathan's footnote misinterprets Junshi as "The suicide in the emperor's name that was the goal of the Kamikaze pilots" (94). (18.) In an essay titled "Short Speech by a Rootless Cosmopolitan," Grass tells of his experience in a Hamburg railway station shortly before Christmas 1990: "A young man approached [him] . . . and called [him] a traitor to the fatherland .... The expression, paired with the term ~rootless cosmopolitan' - a term used by the Right, in the thirties, to stigmatize German leftist intellectuals, many of whom were Jewish - belongs to the special vocabulary of German history" (Two States 1). (19.) In a speech given in Frankfurt in 1983, Grass said that "Hitler's power was consolidated not by his own strength, but the weakness of his adversaries. Determination to resist was lacking [among] . . . a people that after fifty years is still suffering the consequences of its failure to resist Hitler's seizure of power" (On Writing 142, 147). (20.) Oe expressed a similar opinion in conversation with Yoshida Sanroku: "literature should be written for people who live in the same country and in the same age as the author" ("Interview" 373). Oe's appreciation of Grass (in translation) is thus somewhat ironic. (21.) Oe depicts the narrator's mother as the daughter of the "traitor" in the historical Daigaku Incident of 1910-1911. In this political incident, twenty-six socialists were arrested on the charge of attempting to assassinate the emperor. Without any conclusive evidence, half of them were immediately executed and the other half sentenced to life in prison. In Japanese history, this incident is considered to be the beginning of the suppression of the socialists and of freedom of speech. Using this incident as the symbol of suppression in the name of the emperor, Oe criticizes the emperor system. Susan J. Napier (Escape 171) argues that the mother's narrative here lacks rationality because she has "her own axe to grind, an old hatred towards her husband and a contempt for her son," as is evident when the mother calls the boy's participation in the insurrection a "cruel business" but adds, "I didn't go out of my way to interfere." Napier misinterprets these lines, for the mother is talking about her husband's participation, not her son's. On the contrary, referring to dragging the child along on the fake uprising as her husband's meanest act, the mother says, "If I'd known it was going to hold [the boy's] mind prisoner all those years I would never have let him set out that morning all determined like a silly fool and his bayonet a-clanking!" (102).
Baker, Donna. "Nazism and the Petit Bourgeois Protagonist: The Novels of Grass, Boll and Mann." New German Critique 5 (1975): 77-105. Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Cambridge: MIT P, 1968. Fowler, Edward. The Rhetoric of Confession: "Shishosetsu" in Early Twentieth-Century Japanese Fiction. Berkeley: U of California P, 1988. Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust. Ed. R-M. S. Heffner. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1975. _____. Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre. Bouvier Bibliothek 1. Bonn: Bouvier, 1986. Grass, Gunter. Die Blechtrommel. Berlin-Spandau: Hermann Luchterhand, 1959. _____. On Writing and Politics, 1967-1983. Trans. Ralph Manheim. San Diego: Harcourt, 1985. _____. The Tin Drum. Trans. Ralph Manheim. 1961. New York: Vintage, 1990. _____. Two States - One Nation? Trans. Krishna Winston, with A. S. Wensinger. San Diego: Harcourt, 1990. Grass, Gunter, and Oe Kenzaburo. "Bungaku to Sensotaiken" [Literature and the War Experience]. Interview. Umi May 1978: 312-27. _____. "Doitsu to Nihon no Dojidai" [The Contemporary Age in Germany and Japan]. Interview. Gunzo Jan. 1991: 292-323. Hollington, Michael. Gunter Grass: The Writer in a Pluralist Society. London: Marion Boyars, 1980. Ireland, Kenneth R. "Doing Very Dangerous Things: Die Blechtrommel and Mid-night's Children." Comparative Literature 42 (1990): 335-61. Ishiguro, Kazuo, and Oe Kenzaburo. "The Novelist in Today's World." Interview. Japan Foundation Newsletter Mar. 1990: 8-14. Lawson, Richard H. Gunter Grass. Literature and Life 12. New York: Ungar, 1984. Layoun, Mary N. Travels of a Genre: The Modern Novel and Ideology. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1990. Matsuzaki, Haruo. Demokuratto no Bungaku [Democratic Literature]. Tokyo: Shin'nippon, 1981. Napier, Susan J. "Death and the Emperor: Oe and the Politics of Betrayal." Asian Studies 48 (1989): 71-89. _____. Escape from the Wasteland: Romanticism and Realism in the Fiction of Mishima Yukio and Oe Kenzaburo. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1991. Nathan, John, trans. The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away. Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: Four Short Novels by Kenzaburo Oe. New York: Grove, 1977. 3-110. Oe, Kenzaburo. Atarashii Bungaku no Tameni [Toward a New Literature]. Tokyo: Iwanami, 1988. _____. The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away. Nathan 3-110. _____. Dojidaironshu [Collected Theories of the Contemporary Agel. 10 vols. Tokyo: Iwanami, 1981. _____. Hyogensurumono [The Person Who Expresses]. Tokyo: Kawade, 1978. _____. "An Interview with Kenzaburo Oe." With Sanroku Yoshida. World Literature Today 62 (1988): 369-74. _____. Letter to the author. 20 June 1992. _____. Mizukara Waga Namida o Nuguitamauhi [The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away]. 1971. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1974. _____. Shosetsu no Hoho [The Method of the Novel]. Tokyo: Iwanami, 1978. Pascal, Roy. The German Novel, Studies. 1956. Manchester, Eng.: Manchester UP, 1965. Reddick, John. The "Danzig Trilogy" of Gunter Grass: A Study of "The Tin Drum," "Cat and Mouse," and "Dog Years." New York: Harcourt, 1975. Ryan, Judith. "Postoccupation Literary Movements and Developments in West Germany" Schlant and Rimer 189-206. Sartre, Jean-Paul. "What Is Literature?" and Other Essays. Trans. Bernard Frechtman. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988. Schlant, Ernestine. Introduction. Schlant and Rimer 1-31. Schlant, Ernestine, and J. Thomas Rimer, eds. Legacies and Ambiguities: Postwar Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan. Baltimore; Johns Hopkins UP, 1991. Shklovsky, Victor. "Art as Technique." Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays. Trans. Lee T. Lemon and Marion J. Reis. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 1965. 3-24. Tsuruta, Kinya. "Akutagawa Ryunosuke and I-Novelists." Monumenta Nipponica 25 (1970): 13-27 Wilson, Michiko. The Marginal World of Oe Kenzaburo: A Study in Themes and Techniques. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1986. _____. "Oe's Obsessive Metaphor, Mori, the Idiot Son: Toward the Imagination of Satire, Regeneration, and Grotesque Realism." Journal of Japanese Studies 7 (1981): 23-52. Zipes, Jack D. "Growing Pains in the German Novel: East and West." The Novel and Its Changing Form. Ed. R. G. Collins. Winnipeg: U of Manitoba P, 1972. 151-68.
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|Author:||Nemoto, Reiko Tachibana|
|Date:||Dec 22, 1993|
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