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Today We Learn About: Tanizaki and Akutagawa – A Critique of Delivery over Plot

Akutagawa argues that mere story is not as essential to literary work as the architecture of that story, that is, plot should not be the main focal point. In suggesting so, Akutagawa seeks to take on a more artistic approach to writing whereas the story being told is second to the medium and/or delivery. He thus suggests that the manner which a story is told is of greater importance than the content. Throughout his literary sparring match with Tanizaki, Akutagawa seeks to establish his viewpoint. He displays his opinions in his works, Spinning Gears and Fool’s Life, but do these works reflect his argument? What is to be said for these works when compared to Tanizaki’s works such as Quicksand? Furthermore, Akutagawa’s standpoint raises the question of whether or not his approach is sound in accomplishing the goals of a writer. Artists of all mediums are taking one side or the other in the Tanizaki/Akutagawa argument without even realize they are doing so, and this fact should also be explored as a parallel to the ongoing debate over plot as an aspect of literature. Continue reading

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