Terrible Beauty: Aesthetics of Death in Polish and Japanese War Literature

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Author: Olga Bogdańska, University of Lodz, Poland
Email: olgabogdanska@gmail.com
Published: November 2014
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.3.1.04

Citation: Bogdańska, O. (2014). Terrible Beauty: Aesthetics of Death in Polish and Japanese War Literature. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijl.3.1.04


Abstract

War narration is inseparably linked to the image of death, which is a very sensitive issue. This paper shows how in two different cultures writers have attempted to turn death into something good, heroic and even beautiful. I am concerned with how death in wartime can arouse an aesthetic response. In discussing the representation of death in the war literature of Poland and Japan, the long-standing question of aesthetic attitudes to the traumatic experience of war in the twentieth century is raised. This paper draws on texts related to the Second World War in Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region.

Keywords

death, war literature, comparative literature, aestheticization