Session 05: Review
Topics for this session
❖ Review session for Midterm 01
We do an in-class exercise on "Discretionary Tale" that mimics what will be asked in Part Three of the exam.
Remember that this is quite a bit of reading assigned for the several upcoming sessions (up until Midterm 02). I will next be lecturing on Western values. Nothing is assigned. Use this time to continue reading the premodern texts.
Required—to be completed for today's session
✓ Read Discretionary Tale [bSpace > Japanese premodern texts, PDF] well enough that you can mention by name the main characters and what happened. Read it for cultural signals as well (what seems to be the values suggested). This is a humorous tale which makes estimating values difficult since you cannot read it "straight" but rather as humorous because of unspoken values that the writer assumes the reader knows. Prepare ahead of time some thoughts on these questions:
If we imagine the author and reader embrace the same values, and if we posit that writers sometimes deliver "punishment" to characters in their narratives for breaking social rule (and the readers enjoy reading of the punishment / misfortune) then …
Who is being punished?
For what is s/he being punished?
What shape does the "punishment" (or misfortune, etc.) take?
How does Buddhism contribute to the explanatory world-view of the narrative (the reasoning behind the cause-and-effect progress of the narrative)?
What role does Confucianism play in this story?
From the perspective of the writer, what is love?
Texts, multimedia notes, links*
Plato's argument regarding the good-beauty-truth is pervasive in his works; for the chariot allegory see Phaedrus (sections 246a - 254) The notion of "soul mates" also comes from Plato (The Symposium, Arestophanes dialog).
Aristotle — eros, philia, agape, nomos. For a good discussion of Aristotle's view of love (eros, philia, agape, nomos) see Isaac Singer, The Nature of Love (vol. 1). This is an excellent three volume set that will be useful to some of you. (Students are required, for their paper, to use at least one strong academic source on the topic of love.) Another "classic" on Western love, despite its shortcomings, is Denis de Rougement's Love in the Western World.
Troubadours" (medieval Europe) who sung in praise of women, among other things. Mention less for them as a group — though they are very interesting — but rather for the cultural notion of "putting a woman on a pedestal".
Introduced a Western cultural romantic value that is fairly widespread but not historically a part of Christendom: macho. I speak briefly about "macho" traits and Flamenco dance that is formulated within those notions of hyper-masculine identity and bluster. I mention the proscription that women are to support their errant husbands through nurturing and forgiveness in the image of the Virgin Mary. This is an interesting coupling of non-Christian values for the men and Christian values for the women. We consider the "bad" woman presenting within the stereotype of the gypsy (non-Christian) seductress, endowed with a passion and self-love similar to the macho male figure. In this context we listen to the masculine display (and celebration of those values) in the aria from Bizet's "Carmen" (synopsis, lyrics and a note about "black eye") commonly titled "Toreador's Song". We then look at the traits as interpreted within Flamenco and film in Carlos Saura's 1983 "Carmen" (primary dancer is Antonio Gades, very famous for his flamenco). The original "Carmen" is a novella by Prosper Mérimée (19th c. French writer), 1845.
Christian mystic discussed: Theresa of Avila (16th c. Spanish nun)
Troubadour cantos by Bernart de Ventadorn (fl. 1145-1175) of southern France, titled "Can par la flors josta.l vert folh" (When flowers are in the leaves green) with recording excerpt from "Amor de Lonh — The Distant Love of the Troubadours" (Nimbus Records, 2000)
nothing yet ...
*THOUGHTS: Reading before class probably helps follow session content, reading afterwards might help consolidate notes, revisiting for tests is recommended. Content might be added before class or anytime up until about 24 hours ahead of a midterm.
*TEXTS, MULTIMEDIA NOTES, LINKS: If I have read from something, shown something or presented audio that is not elsewhere mentioned, I usually include that information here for the curious, sometime after the class (since I often make last-minute decisions about including something). It might take a while and sometimes I forget. You can email me.
*OTHER: When possible I note here names, places, and other details that I have mentioned in a lecture that would otherwise not be accessible in the assigned materials or easily located on your own. As with "TEXTS ..." this is usually sometime after class and, again, I might not be able to get around to doing it.