Sunday, October 18, 2009


Reality is a dream, your dream at night is reality", Rampo

While I like Edogawa Rampo's stories, I really need a lot of time to read his stories. I haven't really read many pre-war stories so I don't know whether this is a general thing or not, but the usage of kanji in Edogawa's work is very aggrevating at times, with of course many pre-war kanji and strange ways to write words from a modern point of view.

So while I actually wanted to translate The Murder Case of D-Hill, the first Japanese locked room mystery, I've put that plan on hold for the time being and instead did the simpler, short One Person, Two Identities. Which is an OK (non-detective) short story of Edogawa, but what is more interesting is how the theme of one person, two identities plays a big part in Edogawa's stories. People taking on other identities, people taking on other people's identities, blurring lines between reality and dream, no knowing anymore what is the original, it's a theme I enjoy very much in Edogawa's work. Silver actually makes an interesting point in Purloined Letters: Cultural Borrowings and Japanese Crime Literature when he mentions how Edogawa's work can be read as stories that were both emulating the Western model, as well as atempts to try to move away from them, as Edogawa might have been afraid to forever remain nothing but 'an impersonator', never to be an original himself. But of course, who is to tell what original is in this world, what seperates the daydream of reality and when Morpheus' world ends ?