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Liminality in the late twentieth century : Furui Yoshikichi on physical and mental illness, death, social ostracism, and workplace and ageing stress


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Scott, JM 2002 , 'Liminality in the late twentieth century : Furui Yoshikichi on physical and mental illness, death, social ostracism, and workplace and ageing stress', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The liminal is a condition of human existence which has been the concern of
Japanese literature throughout its history, since it is an essential ingredient in the
experience of crisis. This thesis examines Furui's contribution to this literature of
the liminal (my term) - his careful and detailed psycho-socio-analytical studies of
the late twentieth century mind in the liminal state.
The introductory chapter begins with a brief overview of Furui 's writing and its
place in contemporary Japanese literature, especially the literature of the liminal. I
go on to outline the general theoretical approaches of the thesis. I base my
argument on Turner's socio-anthropological interpretation of the tripartite
structure of rites of passage, and focus on his view of the liminal as a threshold
period or state in which normal social structures and hierarchies are replaced by
the relatively unstructured egalitarianism of community (communitas).
Extrapolating the link Turner makes with the philosopher Martin Buber' s view of
community in relation to the duality I/thou, I suggest that liminality is common to
and representative of the experience ofFurui's characters, and is an extremely
effective concept for the analysis of the ambiguities and continually shifting
perspectives of his characters' condition.
In chapters two to five I look closely at examples of Furui's writing and
investigate his exploration of the liminal states which surround social ostracism,
illness and mental disturbance, death, and stress in the workplace and as a result
of ageing. The intellectual rigour and detail with which he deals with these issues
is evidence of his debt to German and Austrian writers of the mid-twentieth
century, his field of specialization as a professor of German literature. I also
develop the concept of spatial and temporal liminality as important interpretative
tools. I explore Furui's style and his debt to the traditional literature of the liminal
in Japan, particularly the Noh drama. I account for Furui's portrayal of the
mystery and poetry of the liminal condition, which distinguishes his work from
medical or sociological treatises.
I conclude that Furui' s rigorous and detailed psycho-socio-analytical approach to
the critical states of his protagonists, enhanced by his imaginative sensitivity to
language and to the philosophical issues involved, serves to distill his characters'
predicaments to their essence, allowing the reader a better understanding of their
experience ofliving in the late twentieth century.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Scott, JM
Keywords: Furui, Yoshikichi, Liminality in literature
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2002 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Library has additionsl copy on microfiche. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2002. Includes bibliographical references

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