Seth Jacobowitz's Writing Technology in Meiji Japan: A Media History of Modern Japanese Literature and Visual Culture is a long overdue, historically grounded critique of the common theoretical musings of the field of modern Japanese literature that were popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. By placing literary and, indeed, national history within the context of cultural material in Meiji Japan, the book takes as its organizing principle the notion that writing as we now know it was significantly transformed by practices and media cultivated and developed through the late nineteenth century. Without arguing that such methods of visualization, inscription, transcription, circulation, and standardization determine writing as we know it, the book makes the more nuanced claim that to understand modern writing (and particularly modern literature) we must understand its indebtedness to such techniques and their history. It is a thoroughly convincing argument and one that will have the field...

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