Lecture by Prof Stephen Dodd (SOAS, University of London) on Mishima Yukio's novel, 'Life for Sale'

11 Nov 2019

Prof Stephen Dodd (SOAS, University of London)
The Serious and the Shallow: The Task of Translating Mishima Yukio's Life for Sale

Thursday, 14th November 2019; UCC O'Rahilly Building G.27 at 12:00



Mishima Yukio's novel, Life for Sale (Inochi urimasu, 1968), depicts a man who, having failed to kill himself, puts his own life up for sale in a newspaper advertisement.  The novel may be described as trashy, kitsch, camp, shallow and sexy.  However, these ‘frivolous’ qualities actually enabled Mishima to critique a breakdown in human relations following Japan’s wartime defeat.  The talk addresses the problem of trying to translate the novel into English in a way that conveys both its superficial veneer as well as its deeper, darker layers of meaning.

Stephen Dodd is Professor Emeritus of Japanese Literature at SOAS, University of London.  He is the author of Writing Home: Representations of the Native Place in Modern Japanese Literature (Harvard University Press, 2004), and The Youth of Things: Life and Death in the Age of Kajii Motojirō (Hawai’i University Press, 2014.). His translation of Mishima Yukio’s novel, Life for Sale (Inochi urimasu, 1968) was published as a Penguin Classic in August 2019.

Organised by the UCC Department of Asian Studies / The Irish Institute of Japanese Studies in Collaboration with CASiLaC and the MA Translation Studies.

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