Yasunari Kawabata, the Great Stylist

World-renowned Japanese writer Mishima Yukio writes in The Eternal Traveler, Yasunari Kawabata’s Personality and Works,

Mr. Kawabata, as everyone knows, is a great stylist, but I believe he is finally without a style. Because style for the novelist means the will to interpret the world and discover the key to it. To arrange the world, separate it, and bring it out of chaos and angst into the narrow framework of form, the novelist has no other tool than style. … What is … a work of art, like Kawabata’s masterpiece, which is perfection in itself, but has abandoned the will to interpret the world so entirely? It fears no chaos, no angst. But its fearlessness is like the fearlessness of a silk string suspended before the void. It is the extreme opposite of the plastic will of the Greek sculptors who committed themselves to the permanence of marble; it is in sharp contrast to the fear that the harmonic Greek sculpture fights with its whole body.

Footnote: Eien no Tabibito—Kawabata Yasunari-shi no Hito to Sakuhin (The Eternal Traveler—Yasunari Kawabata’s Personality and Works,) 1956

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