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The Poetry Contest in Six Hundred Rounds

A Translation and Commentary

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Thomas E. McAuley

For the monumental Poetry Competition in Six Hundred Rounds ( Roppyakuban uta’awase), twelve poets each provided one hundred waka poems, fifty on seasonal topics and fifty on love, which were matched, critiqued by the participants and judged by Fujiwara no Shunzei, the premiere poet of his age. Its critical importance is heightened by the addition of a lengthy Appeal ( chinjō) against Shunzei’s judgements by the conservative poet and monk, Kenshō. It is one of the key texts for understanding poetic and critical practice in late twelfth century Japan, and of the conflict between conservative and innovative poets.
The Competition and Appeal are presented here for the first time in complete English translation with accompanying commentary and explanatory notes by Thomas McAuley.

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Molly Vallor

Not Seeing Snow: Musō Soseki and Medieval Japanese Zen offers a detailed look at a crucial yet sorely neglected figure in medieval Japan. It clarifies Musō’s far-reaching significance as a Buddhist leader, waka poet, landscape designer, and political figure. In doing so, it sheds light on how elite Zen culture was formed through a complex interplay of politics, religious pedagogy and praxis, poetry, landscape design, and the concerns of institution building. The appendix contains the first complete English translation of Musō’s personal waka anthology, Shōgaku Kokushishū.

Introduction

Zen in the Generations Before Musō: The Growth of the Gozan System in Medieval Japan

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Molly Vallor

No Moonlight in My Cup

Sinitic Poetry (Kanshi) from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries

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Edited by Judith N. Rabinovitch and Timothy R. Bradstock

This work is an anthology of 225 translated and annotated Sinitic poems ( kanshi 漢詩) composed in public and private settings by nobles, courtiers, priests, and others during Japan’s Nara and Heian periods (710-1185). The authors have supplied detailed biographical notes on the sixty-nine poets represented and an overview of each collection from which the verse of this eminent and enduring genre has been drawn. The introduction provides historical background and discusses kanshi subgenres, themes, textual and rhetorical conventions, styles, and aesthetics, and sheds light on the socio-political milieu of the classical court, where Chinese served as the written language of officialdom and the preeminent medium for literary and scholarly activity among the male elite.