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A Young Lady’s Longing for a Lost Past – A Chronotopic Analysis of the Medieval Memoir Utatane (Fitful Slumbers)


Müller, Simone (2020). A Young Lady’s Longing for a Lost Past – A Chronotopic Analysis of the Medieval Memoir Utatane (Fitful Slumbers). Beiträge zur mediävistischen Erzählforschung, (7):229-265.

Abstract

This article analyzes temporalities in medieval Japanese women’s literature by example of the memoir ‘Utatane’ (‘Fitful Slumbers’) from the thirteenth century. By using time theories as well as parameters of gender narratology, I argue that the description of an unhappy love affair in ‘Utatane’ discloses a conflict between the protagonist’s individual life design (nootemporality) and conventional and gendered life schemes (sociotemporality); the narrative manifests a clash between open and closed time. The literary expression of this conflict serves as a means to address discontent with social structures at the time and to articulate nostalgia, manifesting the work’s overall sense of time that may be defined as ‘self-contemplating time.’ The narrative’s central theme of lost love may be read as a political-erotic allegory for the medieval court aristocracy’s loss of power.

Abstract

This article analyzes temporalities in medieval Japanese women’s literature by example of the memoir ‘Utatane’ (‘Fitful Slumbers’) from the thirteenth century. By using time theories as well as parameters of gender narratology, I argue that the description of an unhappy love affair in ‘Utatane’ discloses a conflict between the protagonist’s individual life design (nootemporality) and conventional and gendered life schemes (sociotemporality); the narrative manifests a clash between open and closed time. The literary expression of this conflict serves as a means to address discontent with social structures at the time and to articulate nostalgia, manifesting the work’s overall sense of time that may be defined as ‘self-contemplating time.’ The narrative’s central theme of lost love may be read as a political-erotic allegory for the medieval court aristocracy’s loss of power.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:180 Ancient, medieval & eastern philosophy
290 Other religions
Language:English
Date:June 2020
Deposited On:06 Oct 2020 08:17
Last Modified:15 Jul 2022 13:46
Publisher:BIS-Verlag
ISSN:2568-9967
Additional Information:Special Issue 7: Narratological Perspectives on Premodern Japanese Literature
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.25619/BmE20203114
Related URLs:https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/192516/
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)