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Three-Dimensional Reading

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
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Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
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Three-Dimensional Reading

X
Stories of Time and Space in Japanese

Modernist Fiction, 1911–1932

Edited by
Angela Yiu

University of Hawai‘i Press
Honolulu

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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Publication of this book has been assisted by a grant from the
Kajiyama Publications Fund for Japanese History, Culture, and

Literature at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

© 2013 University of Hawai‘i Press
All rights reserved

Printed in the United States of America

19 18 17 16 15 14 6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Three-dimensional reading : stories of time and space in Japanese

modernist fiction, 1911–1932 / edited by Angela Yiu.
pages cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-8248-3662-7 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN

978-0-8248-3801-0 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Time in literature. 2. Space in literature. 3. Japanese fiction—20th

century—History and criticism. 4. Experimental fiction, Japanese—
History and criticism. I. Yiu, Angela, editor of compilation.

PL747.63.T52 T57 2013
895.6’34408—dc23

2012049637

University of Hawai‘i Press books are printed on acid-free
paper and meet the guidelines for permanence and durability

of the Council on Library Resources.

Designed by Wanda China
Printed by Sheridan Books, Inc.

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
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carol
Cross-Out

this book is
dedicated to

my family

Hitoshi
Masaki

Hiroyuki

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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Contents

X

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction by Angela Yiu 1

Part I
Scenes of the Mind

Natsume Sōseki 29
A Strange Sound (Hen na oto, 1911)

Uno Kōji 37
The Law Student in the Garret (Yaneura no hōgakushi, 1918)

Kajii Motojirō 50
Scenes of the Mind (Aru kokoro no fūkei, 1926)

Kawabata Yasunari 62
The Sound of Footsteps (Ningen no ashioto, 1925)

Part II
Time and Urban Space

Inagaki Taruho 69
Astromania (Tentai shikōshō, 1928)

Tamura Taijirō 85
Configuration (Keitai, 1932)

Yokomitsu Riichi 101
The Underside of Town (Machi no soko, 1925)

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
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viii Contents

Hori Tatsuo 109
Aquarium (Suizokukan, 1930)

Ryūtanji Yū 123
Pavement Snapshots (Peibumento sunappu–

yonaka kara asa made, 1930)

Nakajima Atsushi 143
Landscape with an Officer: A Sketch in 1923 (Junsa no iru fūkei, 1929)

Part III
Utopia and Dystopia

Tanizaki Jun’ichirō 161
A Golden Death (Konjiki no shi, 1916)

Akutagawa Ryūnosuke 201
Wonder Island (Fushigi na shima, 1924)

Satō Haruo 211
A Record of Nonchalant (Nonsharan kiroku, 1929)

Yumeno Kyūsaku 240
Hell in a Bottle (Binzume no jigoku, 1928)

Selected Bibliography 251
List of Contributors 255

Index 259

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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ix

Acknowledgments

X

This book began with a happy meeting of minds. I was working on Satō
Haruo’s “A Record of Nonchalant” and teaching it in my graduate semi-
nar in June 2008 when one of my graduate students said she had found
an image of the story on line. Thinking it improbable that a relatively
unknown story would attract anyone’s interest, I accessed the website
immediately, and the whole class was overwhelmed when the incredible
image of “Nonchalant” floated on-screen before our eyes. This marked
the unforgettable beginning of my friendship with the artist Sakaguchi
Kyōhei. I e-mailed him promptly after class, and he replied within five
minutes, promising to visit my class in a couple of weeks. When he came,
a yet-to-be-discovered young artist in a yellow T-shirt, I knew that col-
laboration between us was inevitable. “When I read a story, the entire
spatial configuration just appears in my mind, and I sit down to draw
for hours, sometimes through the night, until the image materializes on
paper,” he said. “What do you use to draw?” one of the students asked.
“A Mackee pen,” he said, referring to a commonplace oil-based felt-tip
pen produced by Zebra that comes in various tips of precision. “Why?”
“Why, because it’s affordable,” he laughed. Yet the vision of him conjur-
ing the entire spatial and temporal dimension in one sitting using a non-
erasable writing instrument always seems something out of this world to
me. We spent the summer reading stories from the 1910s to 1930s—the
age of modernism—I in the library and he among used-book stores, and
we ended up with a short list that we both felt comfortable working with.
That was the birth of this anthology.

Since then, in the span of a couple of years, Sakaguchi has acquired

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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x Acknowledgments

a high public profile as an artist, writer, and social mover for his work
on what he called the “zero yen house”—a concept that rejects the doc-
ile acquiescence to the astronomical cost of urban living in Japan and
explores an alternative configuration of living space by means of urban
hunting and gathering of materials at no cost. After the Fukushima
nuclear plant explosions in the wake of the tsunami in March 2011, he
moved from Tokyo to Kumamoto and built a community living center
called Zero Center, attracting the attention of the media, artists and musi-
cians, academics, and politicians. Despite a demanding schedule and new
commitments, when I e-mailed him about the image for another story
after receiving a book contract from the publisher, he sent me a beautiful
composition of Aquarium within forty-eight hours of my request. This
anthology would not be complete without Sakaguchi’s artistic input and
friendship, and to him I convey my deep appreciation.

I am also grateful to the translators who contributed their valuable
time and effort to this volume. Jeffrey Angles, Alisa Freedman, Elaine
Gerbert, Kyoko Kurita, James Lipson, D. Cuong O’Neill, Stephen Sny-
der, and Dennis Washburn all responded without a moment’s hesitation
when I requested their help. Not only did they give me their best work,
they also had to live with my endless demands on revisions and strict
deadlines. Many of them are prize-winning translators, yet they were all
willing to work through every turn of phrase over many e-mail exchanges
to perfect the translations. They also contributed significantly to the
prefatory materials for the stories, and made helpful suggestions at vari-
ous stages of the preparation of the manuscript. I feel very fortunate to
be able to work with such conscientious translators and good friends.

This anthology would not have been possible without the generous
permission to translate the stories and publish worldwide that the hold-
ers of copyrights gave me unconditionally. Many of them were descen-
dents of the writers, and not only were they prompt in granting me the
permission, their encouragement and faith in me were the driving force
behind this project. To Hashizume Hikaru, Inagaki Miyako, Kawabata
Kaori, Kanze Emiko, Satō Masaya, Toda Yuki, Uno Kazuo, and Yokomitsu
Yūsuke—the anthology embodies my sincere and deep gratitude for your
willingness to share great works of art with the world. My gratitude also

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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Acknowledgments xi

goes to Aida Hirotsugu at Kyōdō News and Kawakami Shōko at Shinchō
bunko for their advice on the matter of copyrights.

The initial stage of this project was funded by a special grant from
the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University. I am indebted
to the director, James Farrer, for his unwavering support. With the fund-
ing, we were able to hold a workshop for the project and hire a manag-
ing editor for the first draft of the translation. I would like to thank my
colleagues Shion Kono and Michio Hayashi for their direct and indirect
support. Tom Kain, a former M.A. student in my literature seminar in
the Graduate School of Global Studies at Sophia, served as my loyal and
persevering managing editor, going through over half of all the transla-
tions and making painstaking and constructive criticism for every word
and phrase. That the draft manuscript was submitted in good shape and
received a contract rather smoothly was no doubt thanks to Tom’s metic-
ulous editing. I would also like to thank Yoo Seonggoo for his help with
the Korean Romanization in the Nakajima story.

My special gratitude goes to Pamela Kelley of the University of
Hawai‘i Press, who guided and encouraged me in every step from submis-
sion to publication. With her help and advice, I was able to focus on the
manuscript and not worry about anything else, and I felt truly blessed
to be working with her. I also wish to convey my heartfelt thanks to the
two anonymous readers whose valuable comments were indispensable to
the revision of the manuscript. I would add that I was genuinely touched
not only by their enthusiasm but also by their promptness in sending
their reports—while I was prepared to wait for months, they responded
in a matter of weeks, and the speediness of their responses added great
momentum to a manuscript that at one point I feared might disappear
under the heavy demands of administrative duties. In the final and cru-
cial stage of preparing the manuscript for publication, I was fortunate
to receive the prompt and professional assistance from the copy editor
Wendy Bolton, whose enthusiasm for the manuscript was heartwarming
and encouraging.

I was fortunate to have a chance to present different parts of this
manuscript at Yale and Columbia in October 2011. I would like to thank
John Treat, Edward Kamens, and Aaron Gerow at Yale for their feedback

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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xii Acknowledgments

and advice, and the graduate students in East Asian Languages and Lit-
eratures who attended my talk for their comments and enthusiasm. My
sincere appreciation goes to Paul Anderer, Tomi Suzuki, and Hikari Hori
at Columbia for their thought-provoking criticism. I was also thankful
for the intelligent questions and positive responses from the audience,
especially the graduate students in East Asian Languages and Cultures.

I would also like to thank Lyman Tower Sargent, Professor Emeritus
of Political Science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, for showing
a keen interest in my work on Japanese utopianism these past few years.
He read my articles on Taishō utopianism and Satō Haruo’s dystopian
fiction and solicited my opinions on many occasions on utopianism in
non-Western literature. Thanks to his invitation, I presented the last sec-
tion of this manuscript “Utopia and Dystopia” at the Society for Utopian
Studies Conference in October 2011 and received positive and helpful
feedback.

Eager to try out the effectiveness of this manuscript as a teach-
ing text, I had students in my graduate seminar JS 511 Interpretations
of Modernity read and present on the near-final manuscript in fall
2011. There was nothing more gratifying and heartwarming than their
thoughtful responses and close readings. Many of them read both the
translation and Japanese texts and made excellent suggestions for fine-
tuning the manuscript. Students in art history reacted sensitively to the
visual impact of the stories, while others responded intelligently to the
political and philosophical aspects of the texts. We read the manuscript
immediately after William Tyler’s Modanizumu: Modernist Fiction from
Japan 1913–1938, and students found the link and comparison informa-
tive and meaningful. To graduate students in JS511, a big thank-you for
sharing ideas and a memorable reading experience.

The final phase of preparation for this manuscript took place when
I assumed office as the Vice President for Academic Exchange at Sophia,
immediately after the triple natural and man-made disasters of earth-
quake, tsunami, and nuclear plant explosions in Japan. There were times
when the demands of administrative work and teaching nearly pushed
the manuscript off the horizon, but in the end, the intransigence, feisti-
ness, and urgency of the stories proved to have a much larger hold on the

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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Acknowledgments xiii

totality of my existence than I ever imagined. I would like to thank my
friend and closest colleague Yoshiaki Terumichi for standing in for me at
times when I ploughed away at my desk on this volume.

This book is written in the memory of two teachers who had a last-
ing impact on me as a scholar and an individual. Sister Agnes McKeir-
nan (1911–2011) taught me the profound simplicity of light and life, and
Edwin McClellan (1925–2009) revealed to me the complexity of darkness
and humor. Together they nurtured what is worthy in me as a scholar
and teacher, and now in their absence, I hope to approximate what they
have done for me by nurturing the next generation of scholars.

I would like to dedicate this book to my family with love and affec-
tion. To my son Hitoshi, who shares my love of metaphors, may the
adventure in reading never end. To my daughter Masaki, my steadfast
companion and inspiration, follow your dreams and never give up. To my
husband Hiroyuki, who is always there for me, thank you for being my
home, my only home.

Finally, to all those who supported me in ways that I cannot fully
enumerate, thank you for giving me a chance to narrate my dreams.

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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1

Introduction

X
by Angela Yiu

This anthology examines the profound ways in which the modernist
imagination re-presents time and space in Japanese experimental fiction
in the interwar years of the 1910s to the 1930s. The fourteen writers
selected for this anthology experimented with a protean modernist style
in a vivacious period between the nation-building Meiji (1868–1912) and
the dark war years of Showa (1926–89). Their works capture imaginary
temporal and spatial dimensions that embody various forms of futuris-
tic urban space, colonial space, utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia. The
development of mass consumer culture and moneyed capital stimulated
the publication of many new and experimental journals in that period,
and these in turn became the venues for the debut and development of
nouveau art and literary movements, such as the Shinkankaku (New
Sensation) School, the Shinkō geijutsu (New Art) School, the Proletar-
ian School, and mass literature (taishū bungaku). Meanwhile, the frantic
development of Tokyo as a leading modern metropolis in Asia to rival the
capitals in the West and the expansionist vision of the Imperial state to
extend its colonial transformation of other Asian cities into model mod-
ern metropolises continued to tease the imagination of experimental
writers, who developed narrative strategies and a language drawn from
new forms of visual representation to reconfigure time and space. This
results in mind-bending spatial and temporal re-presentations in art
and literary texts that are constantly in flux—fantastical, futurological,
haunting, and cautionary—and shaped an experimental language that
aims at the distortion of space, time, and motion. The modernist impulse

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
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2 introduction

in the stories challenges realism, naturalism, temporal linearity, and the
laws of physics. It is a language that is disorienting because of its formal
disruption but also exhilarating and engaging for the same reason.

Modernism rejects the mimetic function of art through a re-imagi-
nation of the human experience, and this includes new forms of presenta-
tion in space and time. In the West, impressionist and post-impressionist
art privileges the new conception of space in its departure from a rep-
resentation of objective reality, while modernist fiction privileges the
individual experience and presentation of temporality in its rejection of
linear chronological time. This diversification in art and literature has to
do with the inherent difference in the two art forms: visual art captures
effectively the presentation of space, and literary art, especially narra-
tives, appeals to one’s sense of time. However, the perception of time
and space is inextricably linked since modernist texts tend to juxtapose
planes of existence and consciousness across geographical and temporal
borders to create a multidimensional and multiperspective experience.
This anthology attempts to explore how the physical and empirical expe-
rience of time and space is distorted and reconfigured through the prism
of modernist Japanese prose. In locating modernism in the spatial and
temporal reality of Japanese narratives, I hope to provide a context to
examine Japanese modernism on its own terms as well as to situate it in
global modernism, overall.

The title “Three-Dimensional Reading” does not refer to the Renais-
sance system of perspective that created an illusion of three-dimensional
depth on a flat, two-dimensional canvas. The term “three-dimensional”
(rittaiteki) in this anthology comes from Rittai-ha, which is what cubism
is called in Japanese, even though it is common now to refer to cubism as
Kyubizumu. Rittai-ha suggests both a visual effect of presenting a single
image from different temporal and/or spatial perspectives and a concep-
tual cubist effect that emphasizes abstraction over realistic representa-
tion. In 1908, the art critic Louis Vauxcelles, in writing about the art
of George Braque, commented that he “reduces everything, places and
figures and houses, to geometrical complexes, to cubes.”1 This form of
reduction is a clear rejection of realism and a conventional three-dimen-
sional perspective. Thus three-dimensional reading here refers to a

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
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Introduction 3

cubist reading that involves the discovery of a conceptual depth in a two-
dimensional presentation of time and space, when the modernist writer
breaks away from the seemingly coherent and stable representation of
linear time and external reality in a single perspective and re-imagines
the world in multiple time and spatial planes jostling simultaneously and
spontaneously in a text, as in the way dreams seep into consciousness
or when past and future time crowd into a present moment to gener-
ate a spectrum of meaning and possibility in an otherwise flat surface.
One of the clearest examples in Western visual art is Marcel Duchamp’s
(1887–1968) “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2” (1911), a work that
depicts the successive phases of the movement of a single machine-like
body on a flat canvas. Another example is Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Portrait
circa 1936” in which the left and right sides of the canvas contain differ-
ent expressions and emotional states to symbolize the multiple selves
within a single person. In Japanese literature, Yokomitsu Riichi cites
Akutagawa Ryūnosuke’s Yabu no naka (1922; trans. “In a Grove,” 1954,
1999, 2006) in his treatise “Shinkankaku-ron” (On New Sensation)2 as
an exemplary work that presents a single event in multiple perspectives
without a unifying narrative voice (or the conventional omniscient point
of view) and thus renders the event unstable and conceptually unfath-
omable. Yokomitsu emphasizes the rittaisei in modernist prose—in the
rejection of chronology and temporal linearity in plot development, the
breakdown of a conventional and recognizable concept of time and space
and a shift to mental images, as well as the use of a sensual or aural real-
ity to express conceptual depth and three-dimensionality.

To the three-dimensional reading of spatiality, I would add the need
and possibility of a three-dimensional reading of temporality in order
to understand the challenging presentation of time in the selected sto-
ries. In an essay written in 1917, Satō Haruo provides a clue for a three-
dimensional reading of time:

Since the critic of civilization (bunmei hihyōka) is neither simply an

idealist nor a sentimentalist prone to self-righteousness, he dwells

in a place where it is possible to be simultaneously idealistic and

realistic. In fact, his ideal finds its true meaning precisely when it

Three-Dimensional Reading : Stories of Time and Space in Japanese Modernist Fiction, 1911-1932, edited by Angela Yiu, University
of Hawaii Press, 2013. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ras/detail.action?docID=3413489.
Created from ras on 2021-08-18 06:45:23.

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4 introduction

penetrates the innermost core of reality. A critic is also a prophet,

a philosopher, and a poet. Yet precisely because he sees himself as

a critic, he stares reality in the eye and maintains close contact with

the flat temporal surface of “today.” He is in firm grasp of the fine

point where the ideal three-dimensionality of eternal time (eien to iu

risōteki rittai) penetrates the two-dimensional plane of today. That is

where he anchors the basis of his existence.3

Here Satō has provided a model or a metaphor for thinking about
the intersection between eternal time (past, present, future) and each
existential moment. Eternal time takes the form of a three-dimensional
shaft that penetrates the two-dimensional plane of this very moment of
existence. He suggests that it is in the fine point of crossing between the
two kinds of time that the critic anchors his or her existence to critique
the world. Without the three-dimensionality embodied in the crossing,
any attempt in criticism will be superficial at best. Satō’s idea of time is
a modernist attitude found elsewhere in the world. “To me there is no
past and future in art,” said Picasso,4 referring to the endless possibili-
ties of reinterpretation and adaptation of past art in creating new works.
In a similar vein, James Joyce and T. S. Eliot’s works are so abundant in
allusions that the past is summoned to life in the present to address the
future. In a modernist moment, past, present, and future exist simulta-
neously in a work of art and demand a new conceptual understanding
of time.

In selecting stories from the modernist period to illuminate our
understanding of past, present, and future time, and in harnessing our
historical hindsight and the accumulation of critical insights to access
past writings, we hope to establish the possibility of multiple imaginary
crossings in which different temporal dimensions intersect to engender a
rich and deep reading experience that liberates the reader from the shal-
low confines of a present moment.

This anthology also incorporates five images by the contemporary
artist Sakaguchi Kyōhei, whose two-dimensional ink-on-paper drawings
based on five stories in our anthology capture the powerful conceptual
dimension within and in between the lines. Sakaguchi called his …