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Ambiguous BodiesReading the Grotesque in Japanese Setsuwa Tales$
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Michelle Osterfeld Li

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759755

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759755.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Ambiguous Bodies
Stanford University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about the grotesque in Japanese setsuwa tales. The book considers the similarities in the roles of creatures, such as animated detached body parts, flesh-eating demons, demonic women, and animal spirits, without downplaying the diversity of such representations, and traces the precedents of the grotesque in setsuwa in early Japan, China, and India. It also shows how theories of the grotesque, combined with careful consideration of the cultural, historical, and social contexts of the tales, can enrich our understanding of setsuwa.

Keywords:   Grotesque, setsuwa tales, detached body parts, flesh-eating demons, demonic women, animal spirits

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