CANON AND CENSOR: HOW WAR WOUNDS BODIES OF WRITING1 Jonathan E. Abel In 1938, Japanese authorities issued sanctions against the publishers of the -- magazine Chu o ko ron, suppressing Tatsuzo Ishikawa's Ikiteiru heitai (Living Soldiers) for its graphic depictions of the casualties of the war in China and the cruelty of Japanese soldiers.2 In 1939, Dalton Trumbo and his publishers refused calls by fascist elements in the United States to reprint Trumbo's pacifist Johnny Got His Gun, portraying the interior monologue of an amputee. While the publication histories and the ideological circumstances of the reception of these novels differ, they both blur distinctions between living and dead and thereby share common ground as challenges to canonical narratives of war, exemplified by Ashihei Hino's Mugi to heitai (Barley and Soldiers, 1939) and James Jones' From Here To Eternity (1951). Unlike the banned narratives of war where the thresholds between living and dead are sought, in these bestselling novels the living are the living, the dead are the dead, and the twain never meet. Comparison of the processes of censorship and canonization during and after the Second World War in both Japan and the United States enables an assessment
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: May 17, 2005
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