No Barrier Between High And Low

Overview

In 1682 Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693), a leading composer of haikai renga, a linked-verse genre that both appropriates the tropes and devices of Japanese court poetry and ostentatiously flouts its genteel rules of diction, shifted his efforts to fiction and wrote the bestselling Koshoku ichidai otoko (The Life of an Amorous Man), which literary scholars later posited as the founding work of the ukiyozoshi or "floating world fiction" genre, which encompasses the bulk of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century ...
See more details below
This Paperback is Not Available through BN.com
Sending request ...

More About This Book

Overview

In 1682 Ihara Saikaku (1642-1693), a leading composer of haikai renga, a linked-verse genre that both appropriates the tropes and devices of Japanese court poetry and ostentatiously flouts its genteel rules of diction, shifted his efforts to fiction and wrote the bestselling Koshoku ichidai otoko (The Life of an Amorous Man), which literary scholars later posited as the founding work of the ukiyozoshi or "floating world fiction" genre, which encompasses the bulk of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Japanese fiction. The goal of this study is to examine the peculiar mixtures of subject matter, of narrative voices and of styles that make up the texture of Saikaku's fiction, as well as to explore its relation to a socio-historical context characterized by great de facto social mobility and cultural ferment at odds with the Tokugawa shogunate's legally imposed system of rigid status categories. To that end I analyze a selection of works that reflects the broad scope of Saikaku's oeuvre, highlighting commonalities among them while simultaneously striving to capture their diversity. Chief among the traits shared by the texts I analyze are a dialogic quality involving both the mixing of disparate elements mentioned above and the existence within individual texts of competing ethical stances. From this blend of voices emerges a prevailing prosperous- chonin ethos reflecting a bourgeois will to make hierarchy depend on potentially acquirable assets such as money and cultural sophistication, rather than depending on birth, thus replacing a rigid status system with a fluid hierarchy, a sort of meritocracy of the marketplace. The first chapter examines Budo denraiki (Exemplary Tales of the Way of the Warrior, 1687), a collection of thirty-two samurai vendetta tales. I analyze the manner in which separate currents within Way of the Warrior reflect a blend of gratitude for the peace and prosperity brought by the Tokugawa regime, resentment at the limits placed on commoners by this same regime, longing after and envy of the style and status of the samurai, and, in this light, desire on the part of the chonin to transcend the purely economic identity allotted them. Life of an Amorous Man is the subject of the second chapter, where I focus Saikaku's allusive, haikai-like prose style, demonstrating that if as Bakhtin said, parodic references to the texts of elite genres "bring low" these esteemed literary precedents, in the case of Saikaku's fiction they also often have the effect of elevating the subject matter at hand by linking it to that of elite texts. Such is the case with Amorous Man's depiction of the glamorous new chonin culture centered in the theater districts and licensed prostitution quarters of Kyoto, Osaka and Edo, which it posits as having an aesthetic value comparable to that of the cultures of high-ranking samurai, the imperial courts of Japan and China, and Chinese literati. Chapter three examines Honcho niju fuko (Twenty Cases of Filial Impiety in Japan, 1686), which consists of twenty stories regarding violations, of varying extremes, of the Confucian ethic of filial piety, thus turning the plot of the Confucian paragon tale on its head. I demonstrate that it is precisely a trait that Confucian morality tales lack that most significantly links Twenty Cases to the other works examined in this study: a dialogic interplay of competing voices making competing ethical and/or truth claims, which has the effect of problematizing the naive genre it takes as its starting point, adding moral ambiguities and even occasionally including elements in the portrayals of its villains that court the sympathy or grudging...
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781243665218
  • Publisher: BiblioLabsII
  • Publication date: 9/7/2011
  • Pages: 138
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)