Canon Breeds Canon
Murakami Haruki, World Literature, and the Hegemonic Representation of Japan in the United States
In this article, I explore the relationship between the reproduction of hegemonic discourses of national representation in the reception of literature in translation and processes of canonization. I argue that World Literature as a paradigm hinders our efforts of overcoming the burdens of canonization. As a case study, I analyze the implications of building and reproducing a canon of Japanese literature in translation in the United States for the way Japan has been represented in public discourse in the last thirty years. I will focus on the reception of Murakami Haruki as the contemporary representative of the canon of Japanese literature in translation. My goal is to examine how the circumstances of Japanese literature in translation perpetuate mechanisms of canonization in their engagement and legitimation of an ongoing logic of representation that is non-confrontational with agents in power. I aim to test the extent to which studying the reception of East Asian literature in translation can help us promote a broader discussion on the appropriateness of such frameworks in our understanding of the contemporary literary phenomenon.
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