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This sentence is not all that complicated, but I'm having a bit of trouble understanding exactly what it means and how the grammar is working. It's a quote from Japanese author Yoshikichi Furui (古井由吉):

私は内向の世代の一人といわれていますが、内向の世代というのは七〇年ごろ出てきた一群の作家たちで、当時、「難解」という非難を向けられた。

I would translate it something like this:

"It is said that I'm one of a generation of introverts, but within the group of novelists emerging around 1970 that made up this generation, I was at the same time faced with criticism for being 'obscure.'"

I'm not sure about:

  1. How the 内向の世代というのは is working... Is it repeated in this way to set up a redefinition -- that in talking about a "generation of introverts," what is really meant is a specific group of writers emerging around 1970?

  2. Is it clear at the end that 非難を向けられた refers to the speaker as an individual, as opposed to the group of novelists as a whole being faced with the criticism?

Any thoughts much appreciated : )

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私は内向の世代の一人といわれています

This 'が' is working like 'and' rather than 'but.'
You can use 'が' or colloquial 'けど' in this way when you set up a theme or a topic.

内向の世代というのは七〇年ごろ出てきた一群の作家たち

'で' is the conjunctive form of 助動詞 'だ', and 'だ' indicates assertion(断定).

With the way it is used here (*), this conjunctive form is putting an end to a predicate, without putting an end to the sentence. The terminal form 'だ' would have ended it, requiring a full stop after it:

  • ・・出てきた一群の作家たちだ、当時、「難解」という・・(You cannot do this.)
  • ・・出てきた一群の作家たちだ。当時、「難解」という・・(You can, with some side effects.)

So in its conjunctive form, 'で' is also working like 'and', I think.

With the couple of segments I have quoted above, 内向の世代というのは is working like this:

  • They say I belong to the generation of introverts. It is a group of novelists that emerged around 1970 and...

当時、「難解」という非難を向けられた

Because the subject has not changed, this is another predicate that describes '内向の世代'.

  • ...it faced criticism for being 'obscure.'

Therefore 非難を向けられた also refers to 内向の世代, but not to the speaker as an individual.


(*)For more information for the use of conjunctive forms, you could start from this answer.

  • 2
    「だ」って助詞(終助詞)なんですか・・・ – Chocolate Jul 15 '18 at 8:22
  • ご指摘ありがとうございます 修正中です – user30484 Jul 15 '18 at 8:43
  • This is very helpful. I can see now how I was going wrong with the が, and I was taking the で as a particle rather than conjunctive form of だ. Thank you for the info and links! – Sparky DeLeuze Jul 15 '18 at 14:38
  • Thanks for your comment. I was getting it wrong grammatically at first too, but I got a helping hand from Chocolate san. I tried and studied as best I can, and hope I am getting it right this time. – user30484 Jul 15 '18 at 14:48
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You've made a fairly common mistake while parsing this sentence. You thought that が here essentially works like the English "but", however that is not the case. The part following it doesn't negate anything that was said before, it simply elaborates on what 内向の世代 is.

This が works similarly to the English "and for those who don't know (what 内向の世代 is)", while というのは is a typical structure for defining things. And it can't be a redefinition since 内向の世代 wasn't really defined in the first part of the sentence, it was simply mentioned.

I believe it is now clear that 非難を向けられた refers to the whole group of writers.

  • That's a good point about how 内向の世代 was mentioned but not defined. It is becoming clearer to me how the clause with the repetition is really the only place where it is defined. Thanks for your help! – Sparky DeLeuze Jul 15 '18 at 14:41

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