Article published in:Keeping Ourselves Alive
[Journal of Narrative and Life History 3:2/3] 1993
► pp. 139–154
Mistaken Identities: First-Person Narration in Kazuo Ishiguro
Abstract Contemporary theorists tend to agree on the death of the subject and therefore, it seems, on the death of the first-person realistic novel. Novels like David Copperfield and Jane Eyre seem like extended metaphors for humanism itself-the outmoded view that human beings are the center of their world, that they can know themselves, that their psychology and moral character develop con-sistently, and that they are largely responsible for the courses their lives take. In two recent first-person novels, An Artist of the Floating World (1986) and The Remains of the Day (1989), Kazuo Ishiguro explores such assumptions, providing us with narrators whose selves do seem to be socially constructed and consequently decentered and unstable. Although Ishiguro fully understands and displays the appeal of posthumanist models of the subject, he ends by suggesting that a self no longer author of itself is a self in search of authority. (Cultural criticism, literary criticism)
Published online: 04 August 2015
Havens, T. R. H.
Kondo, D. K.
Mead, G. H.
Sampson, E. E.