"Fragrant Spaces Between Words: Prolonging Shōjo Liminality into Adulthood in the Poetry of Yonezawa Nobuko"
Marianne Tarcov (East Asian Languages and Cultures)
Friday, October 11 | 11:30am-12:45pm
117 O’Shaughnessy Hall
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In “Fragrant Spaces Between Words: Prolonging Shōjo Liminality into Adulthood in the Poetry of Yonezawa Nobuko,” Tarcov argues that in 1920s Japanese Symbolist poetry and perfume advertising, women inhabit a space of ambiguity, where bodily experience is elevated as the highest form of creativity and knowledge. Symbolist poet Yonezawa’s poems prolong the liminality of the shōjo, or girl, archetype into adult womanhood, thereby transgressing the border between womanhood and girlhood. In her poetry, Yonezawa uses fragrance to portray the inherent sexuality of poetic creation, creating a feminine, sexual creative voice. Yonezawa uses the idealized homosocial relationships found in shōjo, or girls', culture to imagine a world determined by the creativity and community of women. The relationships between women feature ecstatic sensory pleasure and shared poetic inspiration, brokered by the sense of smell.
Marianne Tarcov is a visiting professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Notre Dame. She is working on a book project on twentieth-century Japanese poetry. Her research interests include modern Japanese literature, cinema, and popular culture, including idol culture and professional wrestling.