In Spring the Dawn: Sei Shōnagon's Makura no soshi (The Pillow Book) and the Poetics of Amusement
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300pp. January 2018
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In Spring the Dawn: Sei Shonagon's Makura no soshi (The Pillow Book) and the Poetics of Amusement
Author: Fukumori, Naomi;
With its unique weave of essays, poetic lists, and diary-like entries, Sei Shōnagon’s Makura no sōshi (early 11th century) has been positioned as the progenitor of the zuihitsu or "miscellany" genre in the Japanese literary tradition. This text and its author, a lady-in-waiting to an empress, have also become virtually synonymous in the imaginations of later readership with the "golden age" of Heian-period court literature and of native, feminine sensibility. Despite these marks of literary distinction, however, the reception history of Makura no sōshi reveals that much remains contested about this work, from the fundamental issue of variant texts to broader literary interpretations of its content. This study argues that the process of literary canonization has stripped Makura no sōshi of the very contexts that provide literary cohesion to its myriad contents. It seeks to identify the political narrative that informs the text, and traces the history of the work's reception that has obfuscated its political dimension.


Distributed for Cornell University East Asia Program
Author: Fukumori, Naomi;



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