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ID 437
Title Transcription
ヘンカク テキナ モノ ノ タンキュウ : ユメノ キュウサク ト オスカー ワイルド ノ ヒカク オ チュウシン ニ
Title Alternative
The Search for the Nonstandard : Focusing on Comparison between Yumeno Kyusaku and Oscar Wilde
Tanaka, Masashi
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Departmental Bulletin Paper
There is a distinction between standard and nonstandard detective novels in Japan. The standard means, in this case, the kind of detective novel with an excellent detective, mysteries, logical solution and so on. Writers who backed the standard detective novels introduced this distinction, and it and remains in effect among mystery lovers. Although the word nonstandard has negative conotatons, it has attracted many people including a famous detective novelist, Edogawa Ranpo, who openly declared that he was a supporter for the standard. Another Japanese detective novelist, Yumeno Kyusaku, wrote that he sometimes felt like hunting for an exciting novel in a bookstore. Why the nonstandard appealed to them. Such psycholigy of searching for the nonstandard seems to be popular even among people of today who are crazy about a B movie or a comic book. In this essay I try to show that nonstandard detective novels aren't mere mutation of orthodox detective novels. I argue that the essence of the nonstandard is transgressivity. In standard detective novels, apparent mysteries are solved by an omnipotent detective; yet, in nonstandard ones, chaotic elements like vice, terror, cruelty, perversion break the moral standard of society. Some writers think that psychology of searching for the nonstandard has a close connection with degradation of taste in civilized society. Yumeno Kyusaku and Oscar Wilde are in agreement with each other on this point. Kyusaku, like the Decadant artists in fin de siecle, thought that society of his age was declining, and that detective novels should aim at describing such degradation with grotesque and erotic images. Wilde thought that suppression of the true nature of the senses in modern western civilization was, in itself, degradation and caused crooked desire. Both of the two artists paid attention to the modern tendency toward immoral and sensational stimulus. Kyusaku tells us about the dreg of society in Tettui or The Iron Hammer, and Wilde describes the terrible fate of Dorian Gray in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The search for the nonstandard found in these novels is, I suppose, not an act of destruction for destruction's sake, but an expression of transgressive will to search for an exit from the status quo.
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