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Title page for ETD etd-07222010-131444

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Porterfield, Aubrey Kimball
URN etd-07222010-131444
Title Scattering Space and Time: The Posthuman Subject in Ito Sei's _Streets of Fiendish Ghosts_
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mark Wollaeger Committee Chair
  • modernist aesthetics
  • dispersed subjectivity
  • posthumanism
  • spatial and temporal breakdowns
Date of Defense 2010-08-01
Availability unrestricted
This thesis analyzes the representation of dispersed subjectivity in Ito Sei’s 1937 novella, Streets of Fiendish Ghosts, paying special attention to the ways in which Ito’s depiction of a scattered, externalized selfhood prefigures later twentieth century concepts of the posthuman. The argument contextualizes Ito’s work within the overlapping discourses of Japanese modernism, British modernism (of which Ito was a translator), and international Futurism, all of which have resonances in the surreal and dreamlike world that Ito describes. Through acknowledging these multiple contexts, I endeavor to read Ito’s work as a site of cultural intersection rather than as a belated reaction to British modernist masterpieces. Ito’s expressions of a subject spread across space and time complicate the models of spatial and temporal organization that made possible hegemonies of center over periphery, or imperial metropolis over provincial outpost. In this way, Ito’s work both gestures toward notions of the posthuman and questions whether the preference that the “post” gives to the future over the past is not a sign of misplaced ideological optimism.
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