chapter  Chapter Three
50 Pages

Experiment and Expansion

WithRoy Starrs

Yasunari Kawabata's sometimes stereotypical 'Japaneseness' also accounts for his surprising unpopularity among some of the Japanese themselves, especially among the younger generation of kokubungakusha. Gwenn Boardman Petersen categorically states that the 'true sources of Kawabata's delicate prose' are in the 'classical literature of Japan' rather than in 'supposed links with individual French writers or European movements, or the Scandinavian literature he is said to have read in high school'. Kawabata's generation, those writers born around the turn of the century and who came to maturity in the 'twenties, were the 'third generation' of modern Japanese novelists - that is, novelists who wrote, to some extent, under the influence of Western literature. The moment when Mieko actually accuses her older sister of being a Narcissus is led up to in a subtle and unobtrusive way, by a combination of external chance and internal associations of thought.