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Hermeneutics of Evil in the Works of Endō Shūsaku

Between Reading and Writing

Justyna Weronika Kasza

Evil is a salient component of Endō Shūsaku’s writing. Questions surrounding evil haunted the writer as a student of French literature, having discovered the works of Western authors like François Mauriac and Georges Bernanos. It is around the problem of evil that Endō would create his most renowned novels and the cross-cultural dimensions of the questions he posed on the nature of evil would make him one of the most widely translated Japanese authors.
This study offers new insight into the intellectual and artistic development of the author by focusing on a lesser known yet significant body of work: his essays and critical texts. The book is, on the one hand, an attempt to follow the path of thinking delineated by Endō Shūsaku himself and, on the other, a methodological approach to literary studies based on the application of selected categories of Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutics. Thus, the book accentuates the problem of subjectivity and personhood in Endō’s works, ultimately exploring the question, Who is the one who asks about evil?
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Justyna Weronika Kasza is a researcher in Japanese language, literature and culture. She was previously based at the University of Central Lancashire from 2011 to 2015, where she taught Japanese language and culture. She received support from the Japan Foundation Doctoral Scheme (2008-2009) at the Sophia University in Tokyo and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant for Research Projects (2015). Her interests include the life and works of the contemporary Japanese writer Endō Shūsaku, Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics in reading Japanese literature, life-writing narratives and the notion of the ‘self’ and ‘subjectivity’ in Japan, and the reception of the works of the French writer François Mauriac in Japan.

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