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Traditional Japanese Literature


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Table of Contents

Historical Periods, Major Texts and Authors, and Terms Introduction 1. The Ancient Period 2. The Heian Period 3. The Kamakura Period 4. The Northern and Southern Courts Period 5. The Muromachi Period English-Language Bibliography Index

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Traditional Japanese Literature features a rich array of works dating from the very beginnings of the Japanese written language through the noted age of aristocratic court life into the period of warrior culture. The anthology contains new translations of such canonical texts as The Tales of the Heike and generous selections from Man'yoshu, The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book, and Kokinshu. It includes a stunning range of folk literature, war epics, poetry, and n? drama, and an impressive collection of dramatic, poetic, and fictional works from both elite and popular cultures. Also represented are religious and secular anecdotes, literary criticism, essays, and works written in Chinese by Japanese writers. Arranged by chronology and genre, the readings are carefully introduced and placed into a larger political, cultural, and literary context, and the extensive bibliographies offer further study. Intended as a companion to Columbia University Press's Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900, Traditional Japanese Literature significantly deepens our understanding of Japanese literature as well as of ancient, classical, and medieval Japanese culture.

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The editor has done a splendid job at this herculean task. What is particularly notable in this anthology is the variety of texts included -- ancient gazetteers, prayers, sermons, works originally written in Chinese, etc. Many of the works here have not previously been translated, and the included bibliographies are also excellent. -- Joshua Mostow, University of British Columbia

About the Author

Haruo Shirane is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. He is the author and editor of numerous books on Japanese literature, including Envisioning the Tale of Genji: Media, Gender, and Cultural Production; Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900; and Classical Japanese: A Grammar.


"It's one of those impressive, erudite must-have titles for anyone interested in Asian literature" -- Terry Hong, The Bloomsbury Review, May/June 2007 "An anthology that comprises superb translations of an exceptionally wide range of texts, each with a pithy introduction... Highly recommended." -- CHOICE

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