Fall 2013

Canons and Traditions: Japanese Literature to 1750

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-221

Formerly listed as: ASLC-21


Timothy J. Van Compernolle (Section 01)


[J] Before the emergence of print capitalism and the proliferation of books, literature was one of the repositories of cultural memory in Japan. Pre-modern authors alluded to and appropriated the writings of their predecessors as a way to bind their own creations to the great works from the past, but they also necessarily transformed the literature of their forebears in the process. A long-term perspective, stretching from the beginning of Japan’s written language to the early commercialization of literature in the eighteenth century, can best help us understand how canons, traditions, and genres emerge, develop, and become destabilized over time as part of the construction of and contestation over cultural memory. We will also examine a variety of genres, including courtly love poetry, war tales touched by many hands, Chinese verse composed by Japanese monks, theatrical forms for audiences large and small, and travel journals that overlay a literary topography on the physical landscape, among others. This course assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese, and all texts are taught using English translations.

Fall semester. Professor Van Compernolle.

Cost: 113.90 ?


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2010, Fall 2013