The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature [NOOK Book]

Overview


Ambitious and engrossing, this volume thoroughly revises the conventional narrative of The Tale of Genji’s early modern and modern history, arguing that until the 1930s readers were less familiar with the eleventh-century work than scholars have assumed. Exploring iterations of the work from the 1830s to the 1950s, Michael Emmerich demonstrates how translations and the global circulation of discourse they inspired turned The Tale of Genji into a widely read classic, reframing not only our understanding of its ...
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The Tale of Genji: Translation, Canonization, and World Literature

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Overview


Ambitious and engrossing, this volume thoroughly revises the conventional narrative of The Tale of Genji’s early modern and modern history, arguing that until the 1930s readers were less familiar with the eleventh-century work than scholars have assumed. Exploring iterations of the work from the 1830s to the 1950s, Michael Emmerich demonstrates how translations and the global circulation of discourse they inspired turned The Tale of Genji into a widely read classic, reframing not only our understanding of its significance and influence but also the processes that have canonized the text. In doing so, he supplants the passive concept of “reception” with the active notion of “replacement,” revitalizing the work of literary criticism.

Part I begins with a close reading of the lavishly produced bestseller A Fraudulent Murasaki’s Bumpkin Genji (1829–1842), an adaptation of Genji written and designed by Ryutei Tanehiko, with pictures by the great print artist Utagawa Kunisada. Emmerich argues that this work, with its sophisticated “image-text-book relations,” first introduced Genji to a popular Japanese audience, creating a new mode of reading in which people interested in Genji read a more approachable version instead. He then considers moveable type editions of Bumpkin Genji from 1888 to 1928 as “bibliographic translations,” connecting trends in print and publishing to larger developments in national literature and showing how the one-time bestseller became obsolete. Part II traces Genji’s recanonization as a classic on a global scale, revealing that it entered the canons of world literature before the text gained popularity in Japan—and that it was Suematsu Kencho’s now-forgotten partial translation of Genji into English in 1882 that accomplished this, four decades before Arthur Waley’s still-famous translation. Emmerich concludes by analyzing Genji’s emergence of Genji as a “national classic” during World War II and reviews an important postwar challenges to reading the work in this mode. Through his sustained critique, Emmerich upends scholarship on Japan’s preeminent classic, while remaking theories of world literature, continuity, and community.
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Editorial Reviews

Gaye Rowley

The Tale of Genji is a brilliantly sustained work of literary criticism, quite the most engrossing book in the field of Japanese literature I have read in years. It is a rare book, one that is sure to have a profound and lasting impact.

Haruo Shirane

A stunning tour de force, The Tale of Genji reveals the manner in which the work was 'replaced' by various texts and how it was made, from the late nineteenth century, into a world classic both in and outside Japan. Throughout, Michael Emmerich engages with translation studies, reception theory, and current notions of world literature, writing in a transnational, translingual context. This book makes us profoundly aware of the transformation of the material Tale of Genji and reading practices in Japan from the late early modern through the postwar period, thus bridging the gap between early modern and modern literary studies as well as that between Japanese literary studies and contemporary translation studies.

Yoshiaki Shimizu

Michael Emmerich's astute analyses and imaginative interpretations are likely to radically change our view of Japanese literature and the role translation has played in its constitution, and they expand even the notion of translation itself. This discerning study gives a refreshing look at how an Edo-period illustrated book was put together and how it functioned. Anyone interested in the visual culture of Japan should read this book.

Choice

This work's profundity, clarity, intriguing revelations, and accessibility recommend it to a wide readership... Essential.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231534420
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • File size: 74 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Michael Emmerich is assistant professor of Japanese literature and cultural studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the editor of Read Real Japanese Fiction and New Penguin Parallel Texts: Short Stories in Japanese, and the translator of more than a dozen books.
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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsA Note to the ReaderIntroduction: Replacing the TextPart I. Ninety-Nine Years in the Life of an ImageTouchstone 1. Reimagining the Canon1. A Gokan Is a Gokan Is a Gokan: Inaka Genji Beyond Parody2. Reading Higashiyama: Image, Text, and Book in Inaka Genji3. Turning a New Page: Bibliographic Translation and the Yomihonization of Inaka GenjiPart II. In Medias ResTouchstone 2. Triangle4. The History of a Romance: Genji Before Waley5. From the World to the Nation: Making Genji Ours6. "Genji monogatari: Translation and Original"Conclusion: Turning to Translation, Returning to TranslationNotesIndex

Columbia University Press

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