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Open Access Thesis

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Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

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The text that I have translated below, and for which the paper that precedes it is a critical introduction, is Hagiwara Sakutarō's Zetsubō no Tōsō, a collection of 204 aphorisms which I have translated as The Flight from Despair. My introduction concentrates on Sakutarō's use of the aphoristic form in order to show how he both follows and subverts the genre's conventions. First, I concentrate on the author's goal to tackle the "everyday" matters of life through his text rather than intellectual abstractions. I also bring attention to the concision of Sakutarō's style and the protean nature of the aphorism, which occupies an ambiguous zone between poetry and philosophy. Finally, I demonstrate how The Flight from Despair is a modernist text, and that Sakutarō's brand of modernism reveals itself most distinctly through his use of irony and paradox. However, I also indicate that Sakutarō remained a maverick in the literary establishment, and that pigeonholing him into any particular literary movement is risky.


First Advisor

Amanda C. Seaman

Second Advisor

Stephen Miller