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Text and the City: Essays on Japanese Modernity (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society) Paperback – 25 Mar 2004


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Review

"The translations seem uniformly well executed. James Fujii has written an extensive and very useful introduction that places Maeda in his own cultural context. . . . [T]his book will hopefully do much to spread his insights into the broader academic community."
--Stephen Dodd, "Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies"

"The editor's selections . . . respect Maeda's career-long interests and preferences. . . . "Text and the City" presents Maeda Ai as a fully engaged scholar and critic. . . . We should be grateful for his example and his practice, as we should be for the appearance of this awaited and valuable volume of his work."
--Paul Anderer," Journal of Japanese Studies"

"This collection of texts not only makes accessible the work of an outstanding Japanese scholar of literature, urban geography, and material culture in a format that even Japanese readers of the original might envy, it also represents an attempt to help redress the imbalance in the transfer of intellectual information from West to East."
--Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit, "Monumenta Nipponica"

"[A] significant contribution to the criticism in English on modern Japanese literature. . . . [T]imely. . . . Scholars of other literatures who are concerned with the representation of urban space, the historical investigation of reading and publishing, and the intersections of literature and social thought will profit from Maeda's essay collection."
--Christopher Hill, "Modern Language Quarterly"

"While Maeda's essays are of obvious interest to students of Japanese language, literature and contemporary culture, the real significance of this book is, in my view, its attempt to locate Maeda's work in a far wider world. If Maeda was a new kind of ethnographer, he was also one whose ethnography was describing a new way of looking at the study of modernity, and it is in this context that his work deserves wider recognition and study."
--Andrea Dahlberg, "Leonardo Reviews"

"In collecting, translating, and introducing a selection of Maeda's landmark essays, editor James A. Fujii and his able team of translators have brought to the English-reading world some of the most stimulating and influential works of late twentieth-century Japanese literary criticism. . . . anyone with a serious interest in issues of literature and media; script, print and orality; visual culture; and global modernity; or anyone who enjoys the rich and detailed explication of literary texts, should not hesitate to seek out the work of this intrepid literary scholar."
--William O. Gardner, "Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature"

"James Fujii, in compiling this collection of key critical essays by the influential literary critic Maeda Ai (1932-87), provides the field with arguments and data that have transformed the way that many scholars in Japan (and elsewhere) study modern Japanese literature. In so doing, he makes a major contribution to the small but growing body of Japanese literary criticism in translation. . . This is a painstakingly translated and edited text; Fujii and the other translators are to be commended for the rigor with which they approached these dense texts. The translations are meticulously annotated, and errors (to my eye at least) are remarkably rare, given the complexity of the original. Maeda's contribution not only as a literary scholar but also as a cultural and intellectual historian is exceedingly well captured in this collection. I hope that those who are taken by the erudition and rigor represented here will look into the rest of Maeda's oeuvre, of which this volume presents a compelling initial taste."
--Edward Mack, "Journal of Asian Studies"

“Despite lamentably premature death of Maeda Ai in 1987, his works have left an incontrovertible mark on the study of early modern and modern Japanese literature. Adopting liberally from phenomenological hermeneutics, cultural anthropology, structural semiotics and marxist literary studies, Maeda invented new ways of inquiring into the historicity of ‘literature’ and articulated the scope of literary studies to other domains in the human and social sciences, thereby leading a number of young scholars of Japan in the United States in the direction of what would be generally recognized as ‘cultural studies.’ In the fields of trans-Pacific Japanese studies, it is no exaggeration to say that Maeda accomplished something comparable to what Raymond Williams did in the English-speaking world.”—Naoki Sakai, Cornell University

From the Back Cover

"Despite lamentably premature death of Maeda Ai in 1987, his works have left an incontrovertible mark on the study of early modern and modern Japanese literature. Adopting liberally from phenomenological hermeneutics, cultural anthropology, structural semiotics and marxist literary studies, Maeda invented new ways of inquiring into the historicity of 'literature' and articulated the scope of literary studies to other domains in the human and social sciences, thereby leading a number of young scholars of Japan in the United States in the direction of what would be generally recognized as 'cultural studies.' In the fields of trans-Pacific Japanese studies, it is no exaggeration to say that Maeda accomplished something comparable to what Raymond Williams did in the English-speaking world."--Naoki Sakai, Cornell University

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Streetwise Scholarship 5 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gradually the important work of Japanese literary critics is coming to be made available to Anglophone readers, and this book constitutes a milestone in that regard. Maeda Ai combines critical theoretical insights (of which I am usually suspicious) successfully with meticulous historical research and attention to detail, an alchemical mix of the abstract and the concrete that produces startlingly original and convincing results. The translators deserve appreciation for producing exceptionally high quality translations of quite challenging material.
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