The liminal subject in the work of Abe Kōbō
Brown, Maxim Joseph
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Japanese author Abe Kōbō’s body of work problematizes the relationship between the individual and the community within modernity. This relationship is based on outdated modes of defining subjectivity that anchor an individual’s identity to its place within a social field. In the modern world, traditional communal formations have been replaced with structures such as the nation-state or vast urban centers. The nature of the relationship with the individual has not essentially changed, however. This thesis examines three of Abe’s novels, written in the ten-year period from 1957 to 1967, and characterizes their progression as a search for a new subjectivity that can break away from past methods of individuation that center on an ideal home community such as the nation. Using Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of the nomad, I show that Abe wanted to find a subjectivity that could transgress and survive outside the boundaries of normative group structures.