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Purloined LettersCultural Borrowing and Japanese Crime Literature, 1868-1937$
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Mark Silver

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831882

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831882.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 18 October 2018

Anxieties of Influence

Anxieties of Influence

Edogawa Ranpo’s Horrifying Hybrids

(p.132) 5 Anxieties of Influence
Purloined Letters

Mark Silver

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the detective fiction and critical essays produced by Edogawa Ranpo (1894–1965) and his contemporaries in the 1920s and 1930s. Ranpo is the most prominent detective story writer of the generation that followed Okamoto Kidō. His imaginings (and his readers' enthusiastic consumption of them) seem to be inflected with anxieties about Japanese Westernization, and these anxieties translated into a persistent fascination with guilty impersonation and the monstrosity of cultural hybrids. This chapter first provides a background on Ranpo's career before discussing some of Ranpo's works, including his 1929 novel Shadowy Beast, that show his preoccupation with impersonation, cultural hybridity, and ambivalent longing for the West. It also considers the role played by the magazine Shinseinen (New Youth) in Ranpo's development as a writer and in the more general development of Japanese detective fiction between World wars I and II.

Keywords:   detective fiction, critical essays, Edogawa Ranpo, detective story, impersonation, Japan, Westernization, Shadowy Beast, cultural hybridity, Shinseinen

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