[J] This course is an introduction to traditional Japanese literature from the beginning of Japan’s written language to the early commercialization of literature around 1800. The course is organized thematically, but will move in chronological fashion. Whether dealing with tales of courtly romance, the stirring account of the Genpei War in The Tale of the Heike, 17-syllable haiku poems, or the explosively popular play, Chûshingura (the famous story of the 47 rônin), special emphasis will be placed throughout the term on the communal production/consumption of literature, which is one of the distinctive features of artistic life in premodern Japan. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese, and all texts are taught using English translations.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Van Compernolle.