Session 09: Discussion of assigned Japanese premodern texts, first of three sessions • AMQ
Topics for this session
❖ Japanese premodern texts:
- Anthology of Poems Old and New (古今集, Kokinshu, 906) compiled by the poet and mid-level government official Ki no Tsurayuki, 872-945
- Tale of Genji (源氏物語, Genji monogatari, ca. 1010) by the aristocratic lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu, b. 973?, first of three sessions
❖ Irogonomi (いろごのみ、色好), an ideal of courtly romantic manner
The Anthology of Poems Old and New sets out, in its five books of love poems, the archetypical trajectory for romantic love that was embraced by the poetic sensibilities of the Japanese at the time of the writing of The Tale of Genji and traces of which remained important in cultural expectations of romantic affairs.
We begin this class with a quiz on all of the assigned portions of The Tale of Genji. This is because we discuss the narrative arcs and without knowing the results the discussion is flat.
Irogonomi was a constellation of attitudes, behaviors, and aesthetic ideals that defined a vision of "romantic" love at its best (as in "highest and purest manifestation").
Required—to be completed for today's session
✓ GenjiReadingAssignment [bSpace, PDF] indicates what parts of the book to read. It is a book-length assignment. ALL of the Genji reading is due on this day.
The Tale of Genji reading should track, in particular: Genji's mother, Fujitsubo, Murasaki, Yugao, Rokujo, Aoi. Genji Women for EA105 and the Genji Basic Genealogy should be helpful in this regard.
✓ Kokinshu reader [bSpace, PDF]. Read through the poems associated with the five books of love (the love poems begin on page 10 of that reader and continue until the end of the reader, page 19) with the simple intention of getting a "feel" for the discourse about love in these poems and noticing the arc: Book I: approaches the lover or is fascinated with the love; Book II: some encounters with the lover, more substantive in exchanges but probably not yet slept together; Book III: although they have now slept together issues of trust and gossip are prominent; Books IV & V: deal with a fading or gone relationship. Books I & II are definitely Phase A, Book III is perhaps an awkward Phase B or an early Phase C; Books IV & V are definitely Phase C. — You should not take more than an hour, if that, with this collection, but do notice how similar the view of love is in Genji and the feel of the discourse as well. The Tale of Genji is a prose work, but one conceived within the space & logic of poetry, poetics, aesthetics.
Reminder: You should be working on the Chinese premodern readings.
Texts, multimedia notes, links*
There are various support documents in the bSpace folder.
You might find my site useful: Wallace's pages on Genji
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.