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Title:Pages of Madness;
Author(s):Sampias, Wesley J.
Subject(s):Akutagawa Ryūnosuke
Abstract:Scholars often view later works of Akutagawa Ryūnosuke through the lens of madness, but they neglect to explain what this concept meant to Akutagawa himself. Through an in-depth look at the later works of Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, specifically “Horse Legs,” I interpret madness as identification, both internally and externally, of “otherness.” While otherness is not the sole signification of madness, it is a common theme in the works of Akutagawa that deal with this concept. “Horse Legs” clearly shows madness as “otherness” through its portrayal of the main character Oshino Hanzaburō, who believes that he was given horse legs after his “death.” His internal identification of “otherness” causes him to change his behavior to protect his outward appearance of normalcy, but this in turn establishes his “otherness” on a societal level due to societies’ lack of acceptance of aberrant behavior. Madness holds a key position in many of the later works of Akutagawa, therefore understanding what Akutagawa meant when he referred to this concept is necessary in order to understand these literary works.
Issue Date:2018-03-06
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-02-12

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