This article examines how contemporary anglophone authors portray nuclear disaster as a shared experience that surpasses nationalist, ethnic, and racial categories, requiring representation through new global aesthetic forms. Gerald Vizenor combines Native American storytelling and Japanese Kabuki drama to demonstrate how the present-day ideology of nuclear peace imperialistically perpetuates the destruction wrought by the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Similarly, Ruth Ozeki's narrative is told through a fictional encounter with the found diary of Nao Yasutani, a Japanese teenager affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Ozeki writes herself into the story as a metafictional character as a way to assert a transnational United States–Japan connection, thereby bridging temporal, spatial, and literary divides to represent how nuclear disaster engenders social affiliations beyond national boundaries. For both Ozeki and Vizenor, nuclear threat and disaster productively sustain otherwise illegible connections across global space, whether through collective mourning or the shared risk of global nuclear fallout.
Nuclear Disaster and Global Aesthetics in Gerald Vizenor's Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57 and Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being
chris d. jimenez is an Assistant Professor of English at Stetson University. His research examines the discourse of catastrophe in twentieth- and twenty-first-century global anglophone literature, with interdisciplinary interests in ecocriticism, nuclear criticism, biopolitics, the sociology of literature, and the digital humanities.
Chris D. Jimenez; Nuclear Disaster and Global Aesthetics in Gerald Vizenor's Hiroshima Bugi: Atomu 57 and Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being. Comparative Literature Studies 15 May 2018; 55 (2): 262–284. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.55.2.0262
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