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The Frontier WithinEssays by Abe Kōbō$
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Kōbō Abe

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231163866

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231163866.001.0001

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The Hand of a Calculator with the Heart of a Beast

The Hand of a Calculator with the Heart of a Beast

What is Literature?

(p.30) The Hand of a Calculator with the Heart of a Beast
The Frontier Within

Abe Kōbō

Richard F. Calichman

Columbia University Press

This essay presented in this chapter argues that the only way to discover how to write lies in rejecting methods of how to write, that unifying the “what” and “how” is the first step in writing, the way to overcome the technicist prejudice and discover the original meaning of technique. In order to unite the two basic elements of fiction, the “what” and “how,” the text considers a third element, that of the “why.” Even in detective fiction, the best way to deduce the identity of the criminal is to investigate the motives for the crime. Motives restore the abstraction of deduction to the level of the concrete. It provides real direction to the analysis of criminal methods. One of the faults that derive from naturalist literature can be seen in most contemporary fiction in its obscuration, subjectivization, and individualization of creative motives. This text also discusses the relation between writer and reader, arguing that the writer must always develop from the reader.

Keywords:   writing, fiction, motive, literature, writer, reader

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