Old Taoist: The Life, Art, and Poetry of Kodojin (1865-1944)

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Overview

In the literary and artistic milieu of early modern Japan the Chinese and Japanese arts flourished side by side. Kodôjin, the "Old Taoist" (1865-1944), was the last of these great poet-painters in Japan. Under the support of various patrons, he composed a number of Taoist-influenced Chinese and Japanese poems and did lively and delightful ink paintings, continuing the tradition of the poet-sage who devotes himself to study of the ancients, lives quietly and modestly, and creates art primarily for himself and his friends.

Portraying this last representative of a tradition of gentle and refined artistry in the midst of a society that valued economic growth and national achievement above all, this beautifully illustrated book brings together 150 of Kodôjin's Chinese poems (introduced and translated by Jonathan Chaves), more than 100 of his haiku and tanka (introduced and translated by Stephen Addiss), and many examples of his calligraphy and ink paintings. Addiss's in-depth introduction details the importance of the poet-painter tradition, outlines the life of Kodôjin, and offers a critical appraisal of his work, while J. Thomas Rimer's essay puts the literary work of the Old Taoist in context.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

David Pollack
Kodôjin´s poems and paintings reveal both the triumphs and the ambiguities of Japan´s new age, rooted in the Chinese past, nourished for centuries on Japanese soil, and now turned with both expectation and trepidation toward the West. His work caps the rich Japanese heritage. . . . The story of Addiss´s patient unearthing of this unusual life and work, very nearly lost to history, itself makes a gripping narrative, and is a triumph of modern scholarship.
Karen M. Gerhart
Written in clear prose and complemented by skillful translations of Kodôjin´s poetry, this richly informative volume brings the reclusive painter-poet to life for scholars and general readers alike.
Japan Times
Kodôjin´s achievement, although eccentric, was nonetheless remarkable. Its quality and variety are well-represented in this handsome volume, which rescues and revives his work for modern readers.
Booknews
Addiss (humanities, U. of Richmond) characterizes Kodojin as the last great poet-painter in Japan inspired by the literary and artistic milieu of early modern Japan in which the Chinese and Japanese arts flourished side by side. He composed a number of Taoist-influenced Chinese and Japanese poems and created lively ink paintings. Jonathon Chaves (East Asian languages and literatures, George Washington U.) contributes translations and commentary on the Chinese poems. Among the illustrations are eight colored reproductions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231116572
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 9/19/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 8.91 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Addiss is Tucker-Boatwright Professor in the Humanities in the Department of Art at the University of Richmond. His many books include The Art of Zen: Paintings and Calligraphy by Japanese Monks 1600-1925 and How to Look at Japanese Art.Jonathan Chaves is professor and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at George Washington University. He is the editor and translator of many works, including The Columbia Book of Later Chinese Poetry, and is the coauthor, with J. Thomas Rimer, of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing (Columbia 1998).J. Thomas Rimer is chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. His many works include Modern Japanese Fiction and Its Traditions: An Introduction, and he is the coauthor, with Jonathan Chaves, of Japanese and Chinese Poems to Sing (Columbia 1998).

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1 Kodojin's Life and Art 1
2 Kodojin's Japanese Poetry 57
3 Kodojin and the T'ao Ch'ien Tradition in Kanshi Poetry 73
4 Kodojin's Chinese Poetry 89
5 A Note on Kodojin and the Art and Literature of His Period 155
Epilogue 161
Notes 165
Index 171
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