Wandering Heart

The Work and Method of Hayashi Fumiko

By Susanna Fessler

Subjects: Asian Literature
Paperback : 9780791439081, 208 pages, August 1998
Hardcover : 9780791439074, 208 pages, August 1998

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Table of contents

Note to the Reader



Chapter 1 Life of and Influences on the Author

Chapter 2 Diary of a Vagabond and the Optimism of the Earlier Works

Chapter 3 Loneliness and Travel

Chapter 4 Marriage, Family, and Women's Issues

Chapter 5 War and Fatalism


Appendix: Translations of "My Horizon," "Literature, Travel, Etc. ," and ''My Work"


Selected Bibliography


This first Western language study of one of Japan's most popular writers includes translations of key passages, critical commentary, and full translations of three essays by Hayashi Fumiko.


Despite being one of the most popular writers of her day, Hayashi Fumiko (1903–1951) has remained virtually unknown outside of Japan. Describing her life and literature, author Susanna Fessler weaves together major events in Fumiko's life and the effect they had on her writing by using a thematical narrative including translations of key passages, critical commentary, and full translations of three essays (My Horizon, Literature, Travel, Etc. , and My Work). Particular focus is given to Fumiko's imagery, the centrality of longing and loneliness in her writing, the influence of travel on her life and work, the non-political nature of her narratives, and the importance of free will in her world view

Susanna Fessler is Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York.


"This book is very well written and researched and represents a comprehensive attempt to suggest the scope and texture of Hayashi Fumiko's work. The numerous translations (including the valuable essays in the appendix) are accurate and fluent, often quite moving. The argument is clear and serves the author's stated purpose of defining Hayashi Fumiko's principal techniques and themes and placing them in a context of her life and historico–cultural moment. The ending, particularly in the quoted passages, is especially evocative and provides a nice rounding to the text. " — Stephen Snyder, University of Colorado, Boulder.

"Fessler's synopses of works, and translations of large passages and essays were particularly helpful. She draws from so many different works, representative of so many periods that the conclusions she draws are convincing. " — Ruth Forsythe, Winona State University