New York. 1989. Henry Holt. 1st American Printing. Very Good In Dustjacket. 468 pages. July 1989. hardcover. Jacket design by Dave Gatti. 0805007512. keywords: Literature Translated Japan Asia Autobiography. inventory # 12434. FROM THE PUBLISHER-Donald Keene presents here a collection of premodern Japanese diaries that is both a literary history of this genre and a source of insight into Japanese life of the last thousand years. Ranging from objective to confessional, selections such as ‘The Poetic Memoirs of Lady Dalbu' and ‘Diaries of Seventeenth-Century Courtiers' offer unparalleled glimpses into the lives of diverse writers from the Kamakura dynastic period to the Tokugawa period. Illuminating the hidden and largely unknown worlds of imperial courts, Buddhist monasteries, country inns, and merchants' houses, TRAVELERS OF A HUNDRED AGES is an intimate account of the diarists' lives and a testimony to the struggles and advances of Japanese culture..
Publishers Weekly, 1989-05-26 ``It brings no comfort, I know, to brood over things, but I have become accustomed on sleepless nights to leave my door ajar and wait for the moon to rise, hoping to make it my companion,'' wrote a teenaged Japanese nun in her diary in 1240. With conversational erudition, Keene ( Dawn to the West ) surveys a genre of unique importance in Japanese literature. Whether written in a consciously literary vein or mainly to record the facts of daily life, the diary ``is often a kind of confession, and no confession can be effective unless another person hears it.'' In Japan, diaries dating from the ninth century on have served as records of travels, court conduct and misconduct, warfare, nature observed, lust indulged and monastic life; taken form in prose, poetry or both, in Chinese or Japanese; and been kept by men and women, be they lay chroniclers, priests or revered poets (e.g., Basho). Keene, professor of Japanese literature at Columbia University, makes the enormous range of Japanese diaries accessible to the English-speaker, examining 60-odd specimens from among the earliest (circa 847) to the more recent (1854), eager always for ``the pleasure of discovering people'' who ``reach out to us over the centuries.'' (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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