Bien que les recherches de sources apportent maints résultats pour élucider la méthode de récit d’Akutagawa Ryûnosuke, il n’y a aucune mention jusqu’ici à ce qu’il doit à Paul Bourget, maître des romans psychologiques avec “Le Disciple” et d’autres. Dans la bibliothèque d’Akutagawa se trouve un Paul Bourget, intitulé: Antigone and other portaits of Women [Les Voyageuses], translated by William Marchant, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1898.
C’est un receuil des nouvelles, où se contiennent 6 pièces: “Antigone”, “Deux ménages”, “Neptunevale”, “Charité de femme”, “Odile”, et “La Pia” A la dernière page de “Antigone”, Akutagawa note ses remarques en quelques lignes: “Bien écrit avec émotion touchante. Ce qu’il est excellent, c’est qu’il ne tombe pas sentimental, ce romancier. La couleur locale contribue aussi à renforcer ses effets. Je désire écrire une oeuvre pareille.” Nous voyons ici une suite de portraits de passantes, esquissés dans le rapide clair de la plus fugitive impression sur la route de voyages. “Antigone” est une histoire d’une rencontre à Corfu avec le politicien Malglaive, un ancien camarade de classe qui séjourne avec sa soeur dans cette île pour éviter le scandale de Panama. On est touché par ces portraits de sa soeur Christine qui s’acharne à le défendre malgré tout et Zaffoni, homme noble et honnête qui les protège pour la raison de Christine. Ainsi chacune de ces passantes dans ces nouvelles est l’héroïne d’un petit drame. Ce genre de Pastels dans lesquels l’auteur essaie de deviner ou d’imaginer le roman intime dans ces passantes, suggère à Akutagawa le style exquis de ses nouvelles écrites à ses dernières années, dont “L’éventail au Sud de Lac” tiré de son carnet de voyages en Chine en 1921. Dans ces nouvelles, Akutagawa a approché de son ideal “l’histoire sans intrigue” qu’il a proposé dans ses querelles avec Tanizaki Junichirô.
From 1920 to 1921, Bertrand Russell lectured in China at the Peking Government University, and came to Japan in July 1921.
His thoughts were received enthusiastically by Young China. Russell also loved the Chinese character and culture deeply. On the other hand, he was ill-impressed by Japan, and had difficulties with the police and newspaper cameramen. Consequently, his contact with Japan was not as intimate as that with China.
But doubts can be raised as to whether Russell’s relationship with China was as deep as it appeared, when it is noticed, first, that some progressive Chinese became angry about Russell’s admiration of the traditional Chinese culture. Secondly, Russell and his lover Dora, who frequently clashed over other points, found themselves in perfect agreement about China, perhaps because they failed to understand China properly.
In short, Japan and China, seemingly quite different for Russell, lay equally outside the range of his sympathies. Russell wrote that the Chinese reminded him of the English in their merits. Thus it may be concluded that Russell simply read merits and demerits of his true object of interest, England or the West, into these two Eastern countries.
This article addresses debates about “Reform” of the League of Nations from the viewpoint of Britain and China. “Reform” of the League was one of the contentious issues among the statesman, diplomats and intellectuals in the 1930s. They focused on the pros and cons of collective security and Article 16 of the Covenant of the League of Nations because the “failure” of the League to stop Japanese invasion of Manchuria and Italian invasion of Abyssinia threatened the collapse of the League. There were two major opinions in the debate, “the Coercive League” and “the Consultative League”. “The Coercive League” was the course to reinforce collective security to prevent further aggression. Conversely, “the Consultative League” argument was to weaken collective security and induce Germany, Italy, and Japan to cooperate with the League. Deliberations took place in both the Council, which was led by Great Powers, and the Assembly, in which Small Powers could have greater influence. Therefore, this article deals with Britain as an example of a Great Power and China as one of a Small power.
The League was centered on the rapprochement rather than the enforcement in the late 1920s. Article 11 of the Covenant was more important than Article 16 in mediating disputes and reconciling belligerents. Britain administered the League Council through “the Concert of Europe,” which consisted of British, French and German Foreign Minister. The League Council was where the Powers consulted with each other. In contrast, China discovered the value of the Assembly as an arena of world opinion.
Japanese invasion of Manchuria from 1931 to 1933 destroyed the credibility of collective security and cooperation between the Powers. Furthermore, the Small Powers were irritated by the indecisiveness of Great Powers, especially Britain. Some officials of British Foreign Office began to consider “reform” of the League for the purpose of weakening collective security and reestablishing the superiority of Great Powers over Small Powers after the Manchurian Incident.
The Abyssinian Crisis from 1935 to 1936 accelerated this trend. The League of Nations voted for economic sanctions against Italy, but members including Britain didn’t carry out them fully. However, some Latin American members protested against the sanctions because they disrupted trade with Italy. The League Assembly set up a committee to study “the Application of the principle of the covenant of the League of Nations.” Even though Britain was pro-Consultative, she hesitated to revise the covenant. China was pro-Coercive and concerned about regionalizing collective security. The clash between two opinions left “reform” of the League deadlocked in the end.