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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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Notes on the Text

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The quotations from the original sources (Japanese or French) are my translations unless the name of the translator(s) is provided.

The essays and critical works by Endō Shūsaku that are the subject of my analysis and translation come from the 2004 edition of Endō Shūsaku Bungaku Zenshū (Complete Works of Endō Shūsaku), Volumes 12, 13, and 14. For this particular source, I use the following abbreviation: ESBZ.

In the cases of all Japanese names included in the book (both in the main text and in the references), I follow the rule that the family name precedes the personal name. All Japanese terms, names, and titles are Romanized according to the Modified Hepburn Romanization system.

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