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Master of Arts (M.A.)

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Kanai Mieko, Dream Time, Yume no Jikan, translation, intertextuality, authority of subject, temporal ambiguity


The text that I have translated below, and for which the paper that precedes it is a critical introduction, is Kanai Mieko’s short novel, Yume no jikan. I have translated the title quite literally as Dream Time. The following critique will focus primarily on Yume no jikan, read with special attention paid to its intertextual relationship with Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and how I see those texts as informing Kanai’s treatment of the perceiving subject not only in Yume no jikan, but also in much of her fiction through the 1970s. In the end, I hope to articulate those elements of this piece that make it utterly fascinating to me as a reader, namely how I see Kanai constructing a Carrollian unsolvable riddle that thoroughly dismantles the authority of the perceiving subject, and by extension, challenges the authority of the narrative itself. I will demonstrate how this deconstruction is achieved through direct questioning of self-identity, omnipresent intertextuality, and persistent use of temporal ambiguity. In Yume no jikan, descriptions of the protagonist's dreams are interwoven into its basic framework, imbuing the narrative with an atmosphere resembling the liminal space/time between sleep and waking. In this narrative universe, dreams operate as unreliable memory, and the dreaming self as unreliable narrator.


First Advisor

Amanda C Seaman

Second Advisor

Stephen D. Miller