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This collection of translated tales is from the most famous work in all of Japanese classical literature—the Konjaku Monogatari Shu. This collection of traditional Japanese folklore is akin to the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer or Dante's Inferno—powerfully entertaining tales that reveal striking aspects of the cultural psychology, fantasy, and creativity of medieval Japan—tales that still resonate with modern Japanese readers today. The ninety stories in this book are filled with keen psychological insights, wry sarcasm, and scarcely veiled criticisms of the clergy, nobles, and peasants alike—suggesting that there are, among all classes and peoples, similar failings of pride, vanity, superstition and greed—as well as aspirations toward higher moral goals. This is the largest collection in English of the Konjaku Monogatari Shu tales ever published in one volume. It presents the low life and the high life, the humble and the devout, the profane flirting, farting and fornicating of everyday men and women, as well as their yearning for the wisdom, transcendence and compassion that are all part and parcel of our shared humanity. Stories Include: The Grave of Chopsticks Robbers Come to a Temple and Steal Its Bell The Woman Fish Peddler at the Guardhouse Fish are Turned into the Lotus Sutra A Dragon is Caught by a Tengu Goblin The Monk Tojo Predicts the Fall of Shujaku Gate Wasps Attack a Spider in Revenge
The study of narrative—the object of the rapidly growing discipline of narratology—has been traditionally concerned with the fictional narratives of literature, such as novels or short stories. But narrative is a transdisciplinary and transmedial concept whose manifestations encompass both the fictional and the factual. In this volume, which provides a companion piece to Tobias Klauk and Tilmann Köppe’s Fiktionalität: Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch, the use of narrative to convey true and reliable information is systematically explored across media, cultures and disciplines, as well as in its narratological, stylistic, philosophical, and rhetorical dimensions. At a time when the notion of truth has come under attack, it is imperative to reaffirm the commitment to facts of certain types of narrative, and to examine critically the foundations of this commitment. But because it takes a background for a figure to emerge clearly, this book will also explore nonfactual types of narratives, thereby providing insights into the nature of narrative fiction that could not be reached from the narrowly literary perspective of early narratology.
Haruo Shirane and Burton Watson, renowned translators and scholars, introduce English-speaking readers to the vivid tradition of early and medieval Japanese folktales. These dramatic and often amusing stories offer a major view of the foundations of Japanese culture.
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.
This volume brings together in convenient form a rich selection of Japanese prose dating from the ninth to the seventeenth centuries, a period during which the preeminent cultural and aesthetic values were those of the Heian court. It contains 22 works representing all the major indigenous literary forms, either complete or in generous excerpts, and is particularly rich in writing by women and in autobiographical writings. This anthology contains longer selections than the only other available anthology, which was published in the 1950s, and each selection is preceded by an introduction reflecting the most recent scholarship. With three exceptions, all the translations are by the compilers, and almost all of them are published here for the first time. Because of space limitations, the compiler has omitted the two long masterpieces of the age, The Tale of Genji and The Tale of Heike, which deserve to be read in their entirety, and which are available in paperback English translations. The book contains an extensive general introduction, thirteen illustrations, five maps, a glossary, and a selected bibliography of works in English translation.
This collection of Japanese fairy tales is the outcome of a suggestion made to me indirectly through a friend by Mr. Andrew Lang. They have been translated from the modern version written by Sadanami Sanjin. These stories are not literal translations, and though the Japanese story and all quaint Japanese expressions have been faithfully preserved, they have been told more with the view to interest young readers of the West than the technical student of folk-lore. At all times, among my friends, both young and old, English or American, I have always found eager listeners to the beautiful legends and fairy tales of Japan, and in telling them I have also found that they were still unknown to the vast majority, and this has encouraged me to write them for the children of the West. Y. T. O.

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