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The Postmodern in Murakamis Novels
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Deng Liu
The Postmodern in Murakamis Novels
  March 20, 2001
MA Thesis Proposal NC University

Tracing the Contours of the Postmodern in Haruki Murakamis Two Novels

This thesis project examines the problem of the postmodern as presented in Haruki Murakamis two fictional works, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985; Eng. trans. 1991) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994; Eng. trans. 1997). Particularly called to attention are the problem of style, the use of irony, and the strategies of resistance.

By examining these issues, this thesis would like to argue against two kinds of critiques that have set up the tone for most existing readings and evaluations of Murakamis works:

(1) the view that Murakamis work is merely a manifestation of a prevailing American cultural and economic order, that his language is essentially an American import and hence a style that easily finds international readership, and that with such style his works are celebratory word plays of a globalized consumerist culture,
and (2) the view that Murakamis language fails to build up meanings, that his style is an empty play of merchandise signs, and that the thematic center of his works is the indulgence fashioned by a materialist fetishism.

Fredric Jameson, in his famous exposition on postmodernism, urges readers to formulate a neutral (and in a way, double) view of the cultural logic of late capitalism ¡V a view that is neither hedonistically welcoming (as is the first view summarized above) nor moralistically judgmental (as is the second view, a view that constitutes the dominant attitude of reading Murakami in Taiwan). A detailed analysis of Murakamis two novels will demonstrate a ¡§doubleness¡¨ that prevails in his writing.
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