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Gothic Stylistics

Gothic Stylistics

Arishima Takeo and Melodramatic Excess

(p.126) Chapter 5 Gothic Stylistics
The Alien Within
Leith Morton
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter continues the discussion of Japanese gothic by examining various works of Arishima Takeo, a contemporary of both Kyöka and Tanizaki. Arishima's distinctive style has long been recognized as possessing elements of melodramatic excess, which also marks gothic fiction. The chapter seeks to deepen understanding of what Arishima was trying to achieve with this heightened mode of writing and attempts to link his style to the themes of his works, which, like much gothic writing, possess a political dimension critical of imperial Japan. The chapter examines various aspects of Arishima's “foreignizing” style, using the notion of the “melodramatic imagination” as developed by Peter Brooks in his 1976 book of the same name.

Keywords:   Japanese gothic, Arishima Takeo, Kyöka, Tanizaki, melodramatic excess, gothic fiction, imperial Japan, Peter Brooks, melodramatic imagination

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