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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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Beyond the Neighbor

Beyond the Neighbor

(p.88) Beyond the Neighbor
The Frontier Within

Abe Kōbō

Richard F. Calichman

Columbia University Press

The essay presented in this chapter explores one category of “tradition”: the history inscribed within us as invisible traces. Apart from village folk art, it was certainly possible to establish a fixed course of “tradition” as passed down from writer to writer and performer to performer in those cases where the transmitter held a clearly determined social position. But we no longer live in an age where writers occupy such fixed positions. Following modernity, writers have no social rank or position. The course of transmission from writer to writer has thus collapsed. The true medium of transmission is now the general reader or spectator. Writers are never writers from the beginning. One is a reader before becoming a writer. Reading many books is no guarantee that one will become a writer, but reading gives rise to something within one, and writing provokes the desire to share this urgent spontaneous feeling with others. This other is oneself. The text expounds on the notions of “other” and “neighbor” and concludes by insisting that classical literature is worthless.

Keywords:   tradition, history, writer, reader, reading, writing, other, neighbor, classical literature

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