Description : Haruo Shirane's critically acclaimed Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600, contains key examples of both high and low styles of poetry, drama, prose fiction, and essays. For this abridged edition, Shirane retains substantial excerpts from such masterworks as The Tale of Genji, The Tales of the Heike, The Pillow Book, the Man'yoshu, and the Kokinshu. He preserves his comprehensive survey of secular and religious anecdotes (setsuwa) as well as classical poems with extensive commentary. He features no drama; selections from influential war epics; and notable essays on poetry, fiction, history, and religion. Texts are interwoven to bring into focus common themes, styles, and allusions while inviting comparison and debate. The result is a rich encounter with ancient and medieval Japanese culture and history. Each text and genre is enhanced by extensive introductions that provide sociopolitical and cultural context. The anthology is organized by period, genre, and topic—an instructor-friendly structure—and a comprehensive bibliography guides readers toward further study. Praise for Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600 "Haruo Shirane has done a splendid job at this herculean task."—Joshua Mostow, University of British Columbia "A comprehensive and innovative anthology.... All of the introductions are excellent."—Journal of Asian Studies "One of those impressive, erudite, must-have titles for anyone interested in Asian literature."—Bloomsbury Review "An anthology that comprises superb translations of an exceptionally wide range of texts.... Highly recommended."—Choice "A wealth of material."—Monumenta Nipponica
Description : Elegant representations of nature and the four seasons populate a wide range of Japanese genres and media—from poetry and screen painting to tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, and annual observances. In Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons, Haruo Shirane shows how, when, and why this practice developed and explicates the richly encoded social, religious, and political meanings of this imagery. Refuting the belief that this tradition reflects Japan's agrarian origins and supposedly mild climate, Shirane traces the establishment of seasonal topics to the poetry composed by the urban nobility in the eighth century. After becoming highly codified and influencing visual arts in the tenth and eleventh centuries, the seasonal topics and their cultural associations evolved and spread to other genres, eventually settling in the popular culture of the early modern period. Contrasted with the elegant images of nature derived from court poetry was the agrarian view of nature based on rural life. The two landscapes began to intersect in the medieval period, creating a complex, layered web of competing associations. Shirane discusses a wide array of representations of nature and the four seasons in many genres, originating in both the urban and rural perspective: textual (poetry, chronicles, tales), cultivated (gardens, flower arrangement), material (kimonos, screens), performative (noh, festivals), and gastronomic (tea ceremony, food rituals). He reveals how this kind of "secondary nature," which flourished in Japan's urban architecture and gardens, fostered and idealized a sense of harmony with the natural world just at the moment it was disappearing. Illuminating the deeper meaning behind Japanese aesthetics and artifacts, Shirane clarifies the use of natural images and seasonal topics and the changes in their cultural associations and function across history, genre, and community over more than a millennium. In this fascinating book, the four seasons are revealed to be as much a cultural construction as a reflection of the physical world.
Description : In recent years, three ancient manuscripts relating to the Yi jing (I Ching), or Classic of Changes, have been discovered. The earliest—the Shanghai Museum Zhou Yi—dates to about 300 B.C.E. and shows evidence of the text's original circulation. The Guicang, or Returning to Be Stored, reflects another ancient Chinese divination tradition based on hexagrams similar to those of the Yi jing. In 1993, two manuscripts were found in a third-century B.C.E. tomb at Wangjiatai that contain almost exact parallels to the Guicang's early quotations, supplying new information on the performance of early Chinese divination. Finally, the Fuyang Zhou Yi was excavated from the tomb of Xia Hou Zao, lord of Ruyin, who died in 165 B.C.E. Each line of this classic is followed by one or more generic prognostications similar to phrases found in the Yi jing, indicating exciting new ways the text was produced and used in the interpretation of divinations. Unearthing the Changes details the discovery and significance of the Shanghai Museum Zhou Yi, the Wangjiatai Guicang, and the Fuyang Zhou Yi, including full translations of the texts and additional evidence constructing a new narrative of the Yi jing's writing and transmission in the first millennium B.C.E. An introduction situates the role of archaeology in the modern attempt to understand the Classic of Changes. By showing how the text emerged out of a popular tradition of divination, these newly unearthed manuscripts reveal an important religious dimension to its evolution.
Description : This is the first anthology of Yuan-dynasty zaju (miscellaneous comedies) to introduce the genre to English-speaking readers exclusively through translations of the plays' fourteenth-century editions. Almost all previous translations of Yuan-dynasty zaju are based on late-Ming regularized editions that were heavily adapted for performance at the Ming imperial court and then extensively revised in the seventeenth century for the reading pleasure of Jiangnan literati. These early editions are based on leading actor scripts and contain arias, prose dialogue, and cue lines. They encompass a fascinating range of subject matter, from high political intrigue to commoner life and religious conversion. Crackling with raw emotion, violent imagery, and colorful language and wit, the zaju in this volume explore the consequences of loyalty and betrayal, ambition and enlightenment, and piety and drunkenness. The collection features seven of the twenty-six available untranslated zaju published in the fourteenth century, with a substantial introduction preceding each play and extensive annotations throughout. The editors also include translations of the Ming versions of four of the included plays and an essay that synthesizes recent Chinese and Japanese scholarship on the subject.
Description : In early China, was it correct for a woman to disobey her father, contradict her husband, or shape the public policy of a son who ruled over a dynasty or state? According to the Lienü zhuan, or Categorized Biographies of Women, it was not only appropriate but necessary for women to step in with wise counsel when fathers, husbands, or rulers strayed from the path of virtue. Compiled toward the end of the Former Han dynasty (202 BCE-9 CE) by Liu Xiang (79-8 BCE), the Lienü zhuan is the earliest extant book in the Chinese tradition solely devoted to the education of women. Far from providing a unified vision of women's roles, the text promotes a diverse and sometimes contradictory range of practices. At one extreme are exemplars resorting to suicide and self-mutilation as a means to preserve chastity and ritual orthodoxy. At the other are bold and outspoken women whose rhetorical mastery helps correct erring rulers, sons, and husbands. The text provides a fascinating overview of the representation of women's roles in early legends, formal speeches on statecraft, and highly fictionalized historical accounts during this foundational period of Chinese history. Over time, the biographies of women became a regular feature of dynastic and local histories and a vehicle for expressing and transmitting concerns about women's social, political, and domestic roles. The Lienü zhuan is also rich in information about the daily life, rituals, and domestic concerns of early China. Inspired by its accounts, artists across the millennia have depicted its stories on screens, paintings, lacquer ware, murals, and stone relief sculpture, extending its reach to literate and illiterate audiences alike.
Description : Japan's oldest surviving narrative, the eighth-century Kojiki, chronicles the mythical origins of its islands and their ruling dynasty through a diverse array of genealogies, tales, and songs that have helped to shape the modern nation's views of its ancient past. Gustav Heldt's engaging new translation of this revered classic aims to make the Kojiki accessible to contemporary readers while staying true to the distinctively dramatic and evocative appeal of the original's language. It conveys the rhythms that structure the Kojiki's animated style of storytelling and translates the names of its many people and places to clarify their significance within the narrative. An introduction, glossaries, maps, and bibliographies offer a wealth of additional information about Japan's earliest extant record of its history, literature, and religion.