Synopses & Reviews
presents key writings of the Tokyo-born literary scholar Masao Miyoshi, one of the most important postwar intellectuals to link culture with politics and a remarkable critical voice within the academy. For more than four decades, Miyoshi worked outside the mainstream, trespassing into new fields, making previously unseen connections, and upending naive assumptions. With an impeccable sense of when a topic or discussion had lost its critical momentum, he moved on to the next question, and then the next after that, taking on matters of literary form, cross-cultural relations, globalization, art and architecture, the corporatization of the university, and the threat of ecological disaster. Trespasses
reveals the tremendous range of Miyoshi’s thought and interests, shows how his thinking transformed over time, and highlights his recurring concerns.
This volume brings together eleven selections of Miyoshi’s previously published writing, a major new essay, a critical introduction to his life and work, and an interview in which Miyoshi reflects on the trajectory of his thought and the institutional history of modern Japan studies. In the new essay, “Literary Elaborations,” he provides a masterful overview of the nature of the contemporary university, closing with a call for a global environmental protection studies that would radically reconfigure academic disciplines and merge the hard sciences with the humanities and the social sciences. In the other, chronologically arranged selections, Miyoshi addresses cross-culture relations between Japan and the United States, English literary studies in Japan, and Japan studies in the U.S., as well as the organization of urban space and the integrity of art and architecture in aggressively marketed-oriented environments. Trespasses is an invaluable introduction to the work of a fearless cultural critic.
“I mourn and celebrate a comrade. Here in luminous prose are the resonances: A double bind about double consciousness; a desire to keep the trivialized humanities committed to justice; a concern for the native language, for translation as active practice rather than passive convenience, for the burden of English, the political economy of globalization, and the transformation of knowledge into intellectual property; a critique of the university from within; ever mercurial, hard to situate. Il miglior fabbro.”—Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
“Radical art, the commercialization of the university, the nation-state, Japan and the West, cultural studies, subjectivity and pronouns, ecology, the state of things from Korea to the Mexican border, or from Cardinal Newman to documenta X—such are the seemingly heterogeneous materials united by a commitment to an implacable unification of the aesthetic and the political, of attention to art and attention to globalization, which Miyoshi’s lifework holds out for us like an ideal.”—Fredric Jameson, from the foreword
“The great range and scope of the texts complied in this anthology and the clarity and urgency of voice and vision which characterizes Miyoshi's critique will indubitably bring his ideas and concerns to a wider audience.”
A collection of key works by the distinguished scholar and cultural critic.
Trespasses presents key writings of the cultural critic Misao Miyoshi, including eleven previously published selections and a major new essay in which he calls for a global environmental protection studies.
About the Author
Masao Miyoshi (1928–2009) was the Hajime Mori Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Japanese, English, and Comparative Literature at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of several books, including Off Center: Power and Culture Relations between Japan and the United States, Accomplices of Silence: The Modern Japanese Novel, and this is not here. He is a co-editor of Learning Places: The Afterlives of Area Studies, The Cultures of Globalization, and Postmodernism and Japan, all also published by Duke University Press.
Eric Cazdyn is Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan, also published by Duke University Press.