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Abstract

Lucy Fraser employs her vast knowledge of Japanese and English literature and pop culture to present an intertextural and cross-cultural analysis in her book The Pleasures of Metamorphosis: Japanese and English Fairy Tale Transformations of “The Little Mermaid. Fraser accomplishes this daunting task by approaching the various English and Japanese interpretations that adapt and subvert Andersen’s fairy tale not only through transcultural parallel readings, but through the framework of pleasure, which Fraser argues can “bring together texts that might otherwise be separated by differences in language, background, time period, genre, and medium and by the borders of ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultural forms” (1). In reading pleasure as a framework, the audience is invited to consider not only the author’s depictions of pleasure as experienced by the characters, but also the “metatextual messages about the pleasures of fairy tales and fairy tale transformations,” thus creating an avenue for questioning how these pleasures were originally intended and how they are consumed by readers (2). By analyzing Japan’s many iterations of “The Little Mermaid,” ranging from literature, art, and film, through the lens of pleasure and shōjo, Japanese girl culture, Fraser examines “the journey of Andersen’s Danish fairy tale into English and Japanese, believing that such a cross-cultural approach contributes a more global outlook to the field of Anglophone fairy tale studies” (184).

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