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History of Japanese Literature #02: World Within Walls: Japanese Literature of the Pre-Modern Era, 1600-1867by Donald Keene
Synopses & Reviews
The Tokugawa family held the shogunate from 1603 to 1867, ruling Japan and keeping the island nation isolated from the rest of the world for more than 250 years. Donald Keene looks within the "walls" of isolation and meticulously chronicles the period's vast literary output, providing both lay readers and scholars with the definitive history of premodern Japanese literature. "World Within Walls" spans the age in which Japanese literature began to reach a popular audience — as opposed to the elite aristocratic readers to whom it had previously been confined. Keene comprehensively treats each of the new, popular genres that arose, including haiku, Kabuki, and the witty, urbane prose of the newly ascendant merchant class.
Book News Annotation:
Keene (Japanese literature, Columbia U.) provides both scholars and lay readers a history of the vast literary production during the 250 years in which the Tokugawa shoguns kept Japan isolated from the rest of the world. Literature began to reach a popular audience during that period, he says, and generated new genres such as haiku, kabuki, and witty urbane prose of the ascendent middle class. He has added a second paragraph to the 1978 original published by Holt, Reinhart, and Winston.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Concentrating on the pre-modern era between 1600 and 1867, this text provides a definitive history of Japanese literature. The text treats each of the new, popular genres that arose, including haiku, Kabuki, and the witty, urbane prose of the newly ascendant merchant class.
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