Some aspects of the author's life and text seem curiously modern. She married late and identified more as a writer than as a wife and mother. Enthralled by romantic fiction, she wrote extensively about the disillusioning blows that reality can deal to fantasy. The Sarashina Diary is a portrait of the writer as reader and a tribute to the power of reading to shape one's expectations and aspirations. As a person and an author, this writer presages the medieval era in Japan with her deep concern for Buddhist belief and practice. Her narrative's main thread follows a trajectory from youthful infatuation with romantic fantasy to the disillusionment of age and concern for the afterlife; yet, at the same time, many passages erase the dichotomy between literary illusion and spiritual truth.
This translation and its introduction draw attention to the poetry in the Sarashina Diary and the juxtaposition of poetic passages and narrative prose, which brings meta-meanings into play. The translators commentary offers insight into the author's family and world, as well as the fascinating textual legacy of her work.
This gem of Japanese poetry has preserved its charm for almost a century while remaining the most popular of classical poetry anthologies among the Japanese. The Hyaku-nin-isshiu (literally "one hundred poems by one hundred poets") is a collection of a hundred evocative and intensely human specimens of Japanese tanka (poetry written in a five-line thirty-one syllable format in a 5-7-5-7-7 pattern) composed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries and compiled by Sadaiye Fujiwara in 1235. These little poems consist almost entirely of love poems and picture poems intended to bring some well-known scene to mind: nature, the round of the seasons, the impermanence of life, and the vicissitudes of love. There are obvious Buddhist and Shinto influences throughout.
To make the sounds more familiar to English readers, the translator has adopted a five-line verse of 8-6-8-6-6 meter, with the second, fourth, and fifth lines rhyming. His accompanying notes put the poems into a cultural and historical context. Each poem is illustrated with an eighteenth-century Japanese woodcut by an anonymous illustrator.
The most comprehensive record of The Tale of Genji's reception to date, this sourcebook presents a range of landmark texts relating to the work during its first millennium, almost all of which are translated into English for the first time. An introduction prefaces each set of documents, situating them within the tradition of Japanese literature and cultural history. These texts provide a fascinating glimpse into Japanese views of literature, poetry, imperial politics, and the place of art and women in society. Selections include a recorded conversation among court ladies gossiping about their favorite Genji characters and scenes; learned exegetical commentary; a vigorous debate over Genji's moral concerns; and an impassioned defense of Genji's ability to enhance Japan's standing among the twentieth century's community of nations. Taken together, these documents reflect Japan's fraught history with vernacular texts, particularly those written by women.
This unique collection spans over 400 years (1488–1902) of haiku history by the greatest masters: Bashō, Issa, Shiki, and many more, in translations by top-flight scholars in the field. Haiku commands enormous respect in Japan. Now readers of poetry in the West can savor these expressive masterpieces in this treasury compiled by noted writer Faubion Bowers, who provides a Foreword and many informative notes to the poems.
David Landis Barnhill's brilliant book strives for literal translations of Basho's work, arranged chronologically in order to show Basho's development as a writer. Avoiding wordy and explanatory translations, Barnhill captures the brevity and vitality of the original Japanese, letting the images suggest the depth of meaning involved. Barnhill also presents an overview of haiku poetry and analyzes the significance of nature in this literary form, while suggesting the importance of Basho to contemporary American literature and environmental thought.