Book Chapter

“Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age!”: Ōe Kenzaburō and William Blake on Bodies, Biopolitics, and the Imagination

Peter Otto

British Romanticism in Asia : the reception, translation, and transformation of Romantic literature in India and East Asia | Palgrave Macmillan | Published : 2019

Abstract

Kenzaburo Oe’s ‘Rouse up O Young Men of the New Age!’ describes the narrator’s engagement with the poetry of Blake and growing relation with Eeyore/Hikari, his brain-damaged son. As these at first disparate narratives become entwined with each other, they bring into focus three scenes, elaborated across the length of the book, that represent the transition from unsustainable innocence to intolerable experience as the interpolation of zoe (simple life) into bios (the way of life proper to the status quo). The first places Eeyore between his life as dependent child, enclosed in the family, and independent adult, subject to a hostile world; the second pits the narrator’s domestic and public com..

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University of Melbourne Researchers