Zur Möglichkeit weiblicher Subjektivität in der Moderne : Schreiben und Leben als Schriftstellerin in Japan und Deutschland um die Jahrhundertwende

Mae, Michiko GND

The possibility of achieving financial independence as a writer – Higuchi Ichiyō (1872-1896) was the first to achieve this in Japan – enabled women to realize their female subjectivity through their literary work, relatively free of the dictates of society . Beyond the artistic sphere, in their material lives, they necessarily encountered difficulties and conflict in their pursuit of self-realization. The following essay considers two examples of turn-of-the-century women writers, the Japanese Tamura Toshiko (1884-1945) and the German Franziska Gräfin zu Reventlow (1871-1918), as the starting point for addressing the following questions. Why, on the one hand, does the concept of the autonomous subject, fundamental to the modern age, serve to impede the female search for identity. And why, on the other hand, did unity of art, life, and love for these two women constitute the precondition for their self-realization? For both women, female subjectivity appears to mean that an individual identity could only be forged in the simultaneity or interplay between demarcation or delimitation with regard to others and the dissolution of barriers in togetherness with one person. The intercultural comparison demonstrates basic structural similarities between the two women despite all differences. From this one may conclude that the process of modernization in Japan and the modern age in Europe constituted the precondition for women to be able to develop their own subjectivity, but that it nevertheless hindered the development of a (collective) female subjectivity. Here we may recognize the ambivalence of the modern age and its fundamental concept of the subject.

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