Organized Panel Session
This paper proposes to explicate and conceptualize the photographic rhetoric latent in Mishima Yukio’s Haru no yuki (1969; English trans., Spring Snow, 1972; Italian trans., Neve di primavera, 2009), using as its guide Jeff Wall’s photograph After “Spring Snow” by Yukio Mishima, chapter 34(2000–2005). In this intertextual and trans-media study, I reverse the customary procedural order between original and adaptation, and look beyondthe conventionally presupposed collaboration between image and text, i.e., image illustrating text, or text accounting for image.In the narrative scene it ostensibly depicts, Wall’s photograph points to associations between different space-times in the book, to the effect of demonstrating that Mishima’s narrative unfolds not only chronologically or causally but also by way of “radial” (John Berger) structuring, through similar gestures, postures, shapes and other visual elements in disparate scenes. Reading Mishima “after” Wall also helps us learn from the latter about complex relations in the former between optical inaccessibility and imagined visuality, between diegetic and extradiegetic visualities, between the transience of events and the resilience of memory, and between touch, sound and image. Temporalities folded into Mishima’s scene by way of chiasmic, tangential and non-signifying connections between moments in the narrative are suggested in the product as well as the procedure of Wall’s photographic composition. Indeed, Mishima shares Wall’s own philosophy of photography not as snapshots but as a deliberate art that fossilizes memory in a long and demanding process of visualization, an aesthetics that the novel subtly and patiently elaborates.