"A beautiful black butterfly"
eastern aesthetics and postmodernism in ishmael reed"s Japanese by spring
Zen concepts and Eastern aesthetics are certainly not strangers to postmodern African American fiction. One may consider Rutherford Calhoun's encounter with the god in the hold of the ship in Charles Johnson's Middle Passage, or Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist, in which the main character is an elevator operator/detective who ascribes to the belief that the best way to do her job is by using pure intuition. Ishmael Reed's Japanese by Spring uses an invasion of Eastern thought and philosophy onto a California college campus to explore issues of racial politics and national identity. Vital to understanding Reed's purposes are the ways in which Reed inserts Zen philosophy and aesthetics into the book and the roles of certain characters.
Park Cooper, P. (2011)., "A beautiful black butterfly": eastern aesthetics and postmodernism in ishmael reed"s Japanese by spring, in Y. Hakutani (ed.), Cross-cultural visions in African American literature, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 177-190.
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