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Master of Arts (M.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
rakugo, encho, sanyutei, kaidan, stenography, meiji
As a text Botandōrō demonstrates bibliographic codes that straddle the border between modern and pre-modern literature. Wakabayashi would present his work as the fruit of his technique of ‘photographing language’ that, by extension, would provide closer and more direct access to the interiority of “author.” In his prologue he presented his shorthand method as a technique that would come to represent the new standard of modern writing. As they created a new system for transcribing language, stenographers were wrestling with the philosophical nature and limitations of language in spoken and written form, and their discoveries and accomplishments would provide a framework for future authors during a highly transformative period in the history of Japanese literature, whether intentional or not. By focusing on these paratextual elements in Botandōrō in the context of the tale’s intertextual construction we find that it is best viewed as a text that exhibits aspects of modern and pre-modern literature in its presentation as a material object, the claims it makes for sokki as a modern writing technique, and its negotiations with the idea of authorship.
Amanda C Seaman
Timothy J. Van Compernolle