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Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho

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Basho (1644-94) is perhaps the best known Japanese poet in both Japan and the West, and yet there has been remarkably little serious scholarship in English on his achievement. This book is intended to address that virtual void by establishing the ground for critical discussion and reading of a central figure in Japanese culture, placing the works of Basho and his disciples Basho (1644-94) is perhaps the best known Japanese poet in both Japan and the West, and yet there has been remarkably little serious scholarship in English on his achievement. This book is intended to address that virtual void by establishing the ground for critical discussion and reading of a central figure in Japanese culture, placing the works of Basho and his disciples in the context of broader social change. Intended for both the general reader and the specialist, Traces of Dreams examines the issues of language, landscape, cultural memory, and social practice in early modern Japan through a fundamental reassessment of haikai—popular linked verse that eventually gave birth to modern haiku—particularly that of Basho and his disciples. The author analyzes haikai not only as a specific poetic genre but as a mode of discourse that emerged from the profound engagement between the new commoner culture that came to the fore in the seventeenth century cities and the earlier traditions, which haikai parodied, transformed, and translated into the vernacular. Traces of Dreams explores the manner in which haikai both appropriated and recast the established cultural and poetic associations embodied in nature, historical objects, and famous places—the landscape that preserved the cultural memory and that became the source of authority as well as the contested ground for haikai re-visioning and re-mapping.


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Basho (1644-94) is perhaps the best known Japanese poet in both Japan and the West, and yet there has been remarkably little serious scholarship in English on his achievement. This book is intended to address that virtual void by establishing the ground for critical discussion and reading of a central figure in Japanese culture, placing the works of Basho and his disciples Basho (1644-94) is perhaps the best known Japanese poet in both Japan and the West, and yet there has been remarkably little serious scholarship in English on his achievement. This book is intended to address that virtual void by establishing the ground for critical discussion and reading of a central figure in Japanese culture, placing the works of Basho and his disciples in the context of broader social change. Intended for both the general reader and the specialist, Traces of Dreams examines the issues of language, landscape, cultural memory, and social practice in early modern Japan through a fundamental reassessment of haikai—popular linked verse that eventually gave birth to modern haiku—particularly that of Basho and his disciples. The author analyzes haikai not only as a specific poetic genre but as a mode of discourse that emerged from the profound engagement between the new commoner culture that came to the fore in the seventeenth century cities and the earlier traditions, which haikai parodied, transformed, and translated into the vernacular. Traces of Dreams explores the manner in which haikai both appropriated and recast the established cultural and poetic associations embodied in nature, historical objects, and famous places—the landscape that preserved the cultural memory and that became the source of authority as well as the contested ground for haikai re-visioning and re-mapping.

43 review for Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Basho

  1. 5 out of 5

    meeners

    a remarkable reassessment of bashou and his poetry within the larger context of haikai developments in kinsei japan. the close readings of the kasen in winter days are particularly exceptional. (the book's emphasis on intertextuality is also pretty hawt.) a remarkable reassessment of bashou and his poetry within the larger context of haikai developments in kinsei japan. the close readings of the kasen in winter days are particularly exceptional. (the book's emphasis on intertextuality is also pretty hawt.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Lindquist

    Stimulating, engrossing academic book for students of Japanese poetry and especially the haiku form.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Curran

    Traces of Dreams looks at language, landscape, cultural memory, and social practice within early modern Japan through a fundamental reassessment of haikai—popular linked verse that eventually gave birth to modern haiku—particularly that of Basho and his disciples. Haruo Shirane analyses haikai dually as specific poetic genre and as a mode of discourse that emerged from the profound engagement between the new commoner culture that came to the fore in the seventeenth century cities and the earlier Traces of Dreams looks at language, landscape, cultural memory, and social practice within early modern Japan through a fundamental reassessment of haikai—popular linked verse that eventually gave birth to modern haiku—particularly that of Basho and his disciples. Haruo Shirane analyses haikai dually as specific poetic genre and as a mode of discourse that emerged from the profound engagement between the new commoner culture that came to the fore in the seventeenth century cities and the earlier traditions, which haikai parodied, transformed, and translated into the vernacular. Traces of Dreams explores the manner in which haikai both appropriated and recast the established cultural and poetic associations embodied in nature, historical objects, and famous places—the landscape that preserved the cultural memory and that became the source of authority as well as the contested ground for haikai re-visioning and re-mapping. Overall a beautiful examination into the enriched imagination, memory and vision, that comes through the power of poetical Basho with a worthy explanation, detailed account, of significance full of cultural meaning and poise.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    THE book for understanding Bashō. A wonderful corrective to the Orientalizing misreadings from the turn of the last century, especially the hyper-investment in Bashō as a haiku poet or a "Zen master." Wonderful scholarship, well-written, unusually enlightening. THE book for understanding Bashō. A wonderful corrective to the Orientalizing misreadings from the turn of the last century, especially the hyper-investment in Bashō as a haiku poet or a "Zen master." Wonderful scholarship, well-written, unusually enlightening.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Seldias

  6. 4 out of 5

    Books on Asia

  7. 5 out of 5

    George Hawkins

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Brooks

  10. 4 out of 5

    J.M. Iona

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erebmann

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aurelio

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tore

  14. 5 out of 5

    Svenja

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ana

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carla

  17. 5 out of 5

    flightofbirds

  18. 5 out of 5

    Norman

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Ray

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lothe

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tony

  22. 4 out of 5

    Deepa

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aubrie

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

  25. 5 out of 5

    E Smith

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ron Tuohy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gwern

  29. 4 out of 5

    Homoionym

  30. 4 out of 5

    Manda

  31. 4 out of 5

    Wickstrom

  32. 4 out of 5

    Robert Leeds

  33. 4 out of 5

    Raven

  34. 4 out of 5

    Wikimedia Italia

  35. 5 out of 5

    Tohoku Pillows

  36. 5 out of 5

    Hofeiz

  37. 5 out of 5

    Larry

  38. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  39. 4 out of 5

    penny

  40. 4 out of 5

    Betony

  41. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lannie

  43. 5 out of 5

    Alex

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