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Amelie Nothomb’s Novel Fear and Trembling : Revealing the Japanese Ethnotype through Fiction, in Japan as images

Abstract : Fear and Trembling, the best-seller written by the Belgian novelist Amelie Nothomb hasstrongly impressed the French readers, who interpreted it as a realistic report of the author’s experience. The fictional substance was then blurred and a purely documentary interpretation prevailed, which conforms to the stereotyped representation of the Japanese society. This paper deals with this passage from fiction to documentary, concerning Japan. Fear and Trembling belongs to a long fictional tradition of representing foreign cultures, that we can call pseudo-ethnological, and which is characterized by a number of formal features. But we cannot separate this novel from the social and historical background in which it was published: it is quite emblematical representations of Japan in France at the end of the 20th century. It brings together its narrative thread of most stereotypes on Japan and relies on them to attribute to its object the strangeness and caricature, which in fact belongs to the fantasmatic universe of its author.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01146321
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 10:58:39 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 4, 2019 - 1:31:37 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01146321, version 1

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Jean-Paul Honoré. Amelie Nothomb’s Novel Fear and Trembling : Revealing the Japanese Ethnotype through Fiction, in Japan as images. Crossing Viewpoints of Europe and Japan, 2010, ISSN 2029-2074. ⟨halshs-01146321⟩

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