Article: PDF
DOI: 10.51762/1FK-2022-27-04-15
Abstract: Richard Gary Brautigan (1935–1984) was an American postmodern writer and poet popular in Japan, whose creative activity was greatly influenced by Japanese literature and culture. His prose works, inspired by travels to Japan, are: “Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel”, and a collection of 131 very short stories, “The Tokyo– Montana Express”. In May and June of 1976, during his first trip to Japan, Brautigan created a cycle of seventy- seven poems in prose dedicated to this journey – “June 30th, June 30th”, in the introduction to which he explained the emergence of interest in Japanese culture by how he had felt as a child about a relative who had participated in World War II. This paper examines the images of Japan that push the poet towards introspection and reflection and can be metaphorically understood as a travel inside one’s own self, as a way to self-awareness. Themes, ideas, artistic devices and literary techniques, allusions to Japanese poetry, as well as the influence of Zen Buddhism and haibun literary form on Brautigan’s poetic experiments are analyzed. The writer’s poems of the Japanese cycle are discussed with regard to the references in his work to Japanese medieval literature, the aesthetics of which he combines with postmodern tendencies. The postmodern image of the lyrical character, who acutely feels his loneliness, comes to the forefront; for him, Japan for the first time shifts from the realm of fantasy to the realm of actual experience, which pushes the poet towards introspection. Postmodernism in this collection of poetry is manifested in the fact that the personality of the protagonist is a reflective project, and the images of Japan are depicted as catalysts for this reflection. The collection is characterized by such techniques as intertextuality; fragmentation; removal of boundaries between reality and illusion; irony, allegory, symbolism of images, and use of hybrid genres. At the same time, allusions to Japanese literature are in the diary structure (a travel journal) of the poetry collection, partly reminiscent of haibun, partly – of zuihitsu; as well as in references to a number of traditional images from haiku by poets Bashō Matsuo and Kobayashi Issa (a frog, a crow, a dewdrop world), which sometimes acquire new interpretations from Brautigan.
Key words: American literature; American writers; literary creative activity; literary genres; literary plots; literary images; allusions; Japanese literature; Zen aesthetics; postmodernism; poems in prose

Для цитирования:

Хронопуло, Л. Ю. Япония и японские реминисценции в сборнике Ричарда Г. Бротигана «30 июня, 30 июня» / Л. Ю. Хронопуло // Philological Class. – 2022. – Vol. 27 ⋅ №4. – С. 171-180. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2022-27-04-15.

For citation

Khronopulo, L. Yu. (2022). Japan and Japanese Reminiscences in the Collection by Richard G. Brautigan “June 30th, June 30th. In Philological Class. 2022. Vol. 27 ⋅ №4. P. 171-180. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2022-27-04-15.

About the author(s) :

Liala Yu. Khronopulo
Saint Petersburg State U niversity (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Publication Timeline:

Date of receipt: 28.08.2022; date of publication: 29.12.2022


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