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Course NameJapanese Literature in English A
InstructorHecht, Spencer
MajorMajor Subjects
Course goalsThis course will explore the many important cultural connections existing between China and Japan. Emphasis will be placed on seminal periods of cultural assimilation, such as the medieval period in Japan.
Course outlineThe course will trace the many fundamental cultural links existing between China and Japan. Emphasis will be placed on seminal periods of cultural assimilation and synthesis, such as the medieval period in Japan. The course will be taught entirely in English. I will present a careful analysis of the various cultural connections existing between Japan and China from a literary, historical, philosophical and artistic standpoint. Such an examination is essential to any true understanding of the medieval, as well as other eras in Japanese history. In class, we will discuss the repercussions of this cultural interplay on the literature of Japanese literary figures, artists, and monks. The course will examine various periods of borrowing in Japanese artistic history, and I plan to examine important literary works, such as the Wakan roei shu 和漢朗詠集 of 1013, focusing on the frequency with which poets such as Sugawara no Michizane refer to Chinese literary models such as Qu Yuan and Tao Qian. I also will discuss in class Sinitic recluse imagery as seen in Genji monogatari, 源氏物語, and consider some poems by the lonely poet-priest and renowned recluse-aesthete Saigyo, as well as the works of Kamo no Chomei and Yoshida Kenko. The ultimate goal of the course is to become aware of the power and prestige Japanese artists attached to various Chinese traditions
Evaluation Scale and PoliciesGrades will be based on class attendance, participation, homework, and a final exam.
PrerequisitesClass attendance and active participation are required
Texts, materials, and suppliesPollack, David. The Fracture of Meaning: Japan’s Synthesis of China from the Eighth through the Eighteenth Centuries. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986, and hand-outs.
Course Schedule/PlanWeek 1: Introduction
Week 2: Paradigms from the Chinese tradition (i.e. Yijing 易経 (Classic of Changes, Zhuangzi 莊子,Tao Qian 陶潛)
Week 3: Paradigms from the Chinese tradition (cont.)
Week 4: The Kaif?s?, 懐風藻 and The Man’y?sh? 万葉集
Week 5: The Wakan r?ei sh? 和漢朗詠集 and Sugawara no Michizane 菅原道真
Week 6: Genji monogatari 源氏物語
Week 7: Saigy? 西行
Week 8: The H?j?ki 方丈記 and Kamo no Ch?mei 鴨長明
Week 9: Tsurezuregusa 徒然草 and Yoshida Kenk?吉田兼好
Week 10: Kitayama culture, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu 足利義滿, and the world of the gozan
Week 11: Gozan bungaku 五山文学 , ”Zekkai Ch?shin 絶海中津 , Gid? Sh?shin 義堂周信 and Nij? Yoshimoto 二条良基
Week 12: ?ei 応永 culture, Zekkai and Gid?’s disciples, and Ashikaga Yoshimochi 足利義持
Week 13: Matsuo Bash? 松尾芭蕉 and haiku 俳句
Week 14: Final review and discussion
Week 15: Final Examination