Tales and Performance in Premodern Japan

Starting with an introduction of poetry, an important component in the literary scene especially in the realm of court literature, various other genres, including tales (monogatari), memoirs, noh and kabuki, will be examined in this module. With reference to critical works of contemporary scholars both in Japan and the West, different issues and concerns pertaining to these categories of works will be identified and discussed in the seminars. Topics include the relationship among these genres and poetry, the significance of women's writings in the Heian court, and the metamorphosis of performance genre through the ages and its implications. Various forms of texts, such as scroll paintings, films, documentaries and music will be used. The aim of the course is twofold: firstly, to expose students to some representative literary works in the canon; and secondly, to situate these texts in a post-modern framework so as to provide a more relevant and interesting reading.

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