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Japanese Literature: A Very Short Introduction

Alan Tansman

25 May 2023

ISBN: 9780199765256

160 pages

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99



With a history stretching back nearly 1,500 years, written works originating from Japan encompass a vast range of forms and genres. From poetry and the lyric voice, to the art of the narrative, diary, and literary treatise, Japan boasts a powerful literary culture. This Very Short Introduction traverses the colorful canon of Japanese literature, a tradition that produced not only the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji, but also the poetry of the Man'yôshû, erotic writing of Ihara Saikaku, magical realism of Haruki Murakami, and manga of today.

  • A concise overview of one of the most dynamic and diverse world literatures
  • Written by a leading scholar of Japanese culture and literature
  • Offers an interpretation linking the entire literary tradition, from the eighth century to the present
  • Introduces writers largely unknown outside of Japan that can be read alongside the greatest writers of world literature.
  • Explores the long history of Japanese literature, from The Tale of Genji to Natsume Sôseki's Kokoro and modern manga comic books

About the Author(s)

Alan Tansman, Professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Japanese, University of California, Berkeley

Alan Tansman is Professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Japanese at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Writings of Kôda Aya, The Aesthetics of Japanese Fascism, and The Culture of Japanese Fascism, and coeditor of Studies in Modern Japanese Literature.

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
    Chapter 3
    Chapter 4
    Chapter 5