A book is open to a typed page. The chapter title is: Under the Blue Sky of Iowa.

The Fall of Language in the Age of English by Minae Mizumura. Translated by Mari Yoshihara and Juliet Winters Carpenter. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. [University of Iowa Libraries: PL856.I98 N5613 2015] 

Note from co-curator Nataša Ďurovičová:

Originally titled The Fall of Japanese Language in the Age of English (my underscore), this monograph by the entirely cosmopolitan, Yale-trained Japanese novelist Minae Mizumura describes her first weeks in Iowa City as a testing ground for the overwhelming dominance of English in the international literary context. This then becomes a starting point for her vigorous defense for the preservation of Japanese literary traditions and institutions. Mizumura’s novelistic voice elevates her crushing personal experience to one non-Anglophone writers everywhere understand only too well—and one American students, who are always assigned this chapter in our classes, often find illuminating too.

Read an excerpt from this chapter, “Under the Blue Sky of Iowa.”

Two books are open in the display case. One is just text and another features a portrait of a Japanese man. In the background, a portrait of Japanese author Minae Mizumura. She sits in a garden looking into the distance.

Gendai Nihon bungaku zenshū 現代日本文學全集 [The complete works of modern Japanese literature]. Vol. 19, Natsume Sōseki. Tokyo: Kaizōsha, 1926. [University of Iowa Libraries, East Asian Collection: PL755.6 .G46 1926] Display panel transcript: Growing up in an expat family in the U.S., novelist Minae Mizumura lived intensely her separation from the Japanese language, immersed in her collection of Japanese literary classics. Her best-selling 2008 critique of the dominance of English opens with a melancholy observation on the status of Japanese in the mix of world languages as the experienced it during her IWP residency.