The Pleasures of Japanese Literature

  • Title: The Pleasures of Japanese Literature
  • Author: Donald Keene
  • ISBN: 9780231067379
  • Page: 176
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Pleasures of Japanese Literature Perhaps no one is qualified to write about Japanese culture than Donald Keene considered the leading interpreter of that nation s literature to the Western world The author editor or translator of
    Perhaps no one is qualified to write about Japanese culture than Donald Keene, considered the leading interpreter of that nation s literature to the Western world The author, editor, or translator of nearly three dozen books of criticism and works of literature, Keene now offers an enjoyable and beautifully written introduction to traditional Japanese culture for thePerhaps no one is qualified to write about Japanese culture than Donald Keene, considered the leading interpreter of that nation s literature to the Western world The author, editor, or translator of nearly three dozen books of criticism and works of literature, Keene now offers an enjoyable and beautifully written introduction to traditional Japanese culture for the general reader.The book acquaints the reader with Japanese aesthetics, poetry, fiction, and theater, and offers Keene s appreciations of these topics Based on lectures given at the New York Public Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the University of California, Los Angeles, the essays though written by a renowned scholar presuppose no knowledge of Japanese culture Keene s deep learning, in fact, enables him to construct an overview as delightful to read as it is informative.His insights often illuminate aspects of traditional Japanese culture that endure today One of these is the appreciation of perishability this appreciation os seen in countless little bits of Japanese life in temples made of wood instead of durable materials in the preference for objects such as pottery that are worn, broken, or used rather than new and in the national love of the delicate cherry blossom, which normally falls after a brief three days of flowering Keene quotes the fourteenth century Buddhist monk Kenko, who wrote that the most precious thing about life is its uncertainty Throughout the volume, Keene demonstrates that the rich artistic and social traditions of Japan can indeed be understood by readers from our culture This book will enlighten anyone interested in Japanese literature and culture.

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    About Donald Keene


    1. Donald Keene Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Pleasures of Japanese Literature book, this is one of the most wanted Donald Keene author readers around the world.


    988 Comments


    1. Circling around reading Donald Keene's Anthology of Japanese Literature I picked up this little book of five lectures on Japanese literature (though Japanese art would be a more apt title). The foremost takeaway from this book is Keene's enthusiasm for Japanese literature. Due to it's length, and the fact that the essays originated as lectures, we do not get the depth of Keene's knowledge on any of the five subjects, instead he gives us a little bit here and there by way of introduction. In the [...]

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    2. Dated in one or two areas, but otherwise this is about as great of an introduction to Japanese aesthetics as you could want.

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    3. This book is a GEM. Sure, it's brief and introductory, so if you know a lot about traditional Japanese literature it will seem basic and a drag. But there is a beauty and simplicity to the way Donald Keene presents the essence of various premodern Japanese literary expressions that makes this absolutely perfect to get into them.----Re-read October 2017It's been a while since I re-read a book but I'm happy I chose this one to do it because I still love it.

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    4. A brief but absolutely interesting excursus in the Japanese literature, poetry and theater ( I finally got what the No theater is all about), totally fascinating.Un breve excursus nella letteratura, poesia e teatro giapponese (ho finalmente capito di cosa parla il teatro No), assolutamente affascinante.

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    5. I liked this book because it gave me a lot of information about Japanese culture and aesthetics, as well as history, without being overwhelming or didactic.The book is a collection of essays/lectures by the author, and that comes across in the language and the format. I definitely count that as a plus.

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    6. "Los profetas melancólicos siempre consiguen resultar convincentes, pero por fortuna existe la misma posibilidad de que se equivoquen que con cualquier otro tipo de adivino."

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    7. Opens with four colorful illustrations (a scroll with a woman poet; the Tales of Ise; The Tale of Genji; and a scene from Kabuki theater) before discussing Japanese aesthetics, poetry and its uses, fiction, and theater. Aesthetics characterized by irregularity and imperfection, by expensive simplicity and elegance, by perishability especially those stages prior to and after something reaches its peak of perfection. Poetry, fiction, and theater are distinguished by separate chapters and their con [...]

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    8. I could only really recommend this book to those that want a brief introduction to Japanese literary art and some decent recommendations on further reading. Topics like Japanese poetry can be difficult to relate to an audience that doesn't speak the language, without skill it will come across as a mess. Donald Keene clearly has the skill, but within these brief lectures there's no room for elaboration. The book lacks both Keene's own interpretation of the texts he's discussing, and a wider outli [...]

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    9. Sweet, helpful, and well-worded, but I couldn't help but wish that Keene, a sympathetic expert, had simply said more -- more both about Japan's literary history and about his personal encounters with Japanese poetry, literature, and theater. The first chapter, which delineates the four qualities of Japanese art (suggestion, irregularity, simplicity, and perishability) seems a classic essay unto itself. Could we say of our own culture that there are some finite number of qualities that all our ar [...]

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    10. This book is based on a series of five lectures on the topics:1. Japanese aesthetics2. Japanese poetry3. The uses of Japanese poetry4. Japanese fiction5. Japanese theaterIt was my first introduction to Donald Keene, a world-renowned authority on Japanese literature (he is the third non-Japanese person to be designated "an individual of distinguished cultural service" by the Japanese government). It was very well written and contained many interesting insights into Japanese literature. Keene limi [...]

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    11. It's a nice, attractive book for your shelf (I have hardbound copy). There are some insights into specific genres of Japanese literature, but the book is a little thin on content, with vast amounts of Japanese literature not even addressed. It reads like a series of pleasant lectures given to an audience that is not especially knowledgeable.

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    12. Donald Keene is the go-to expert on Japanese literature for English readers. This small book is a good overview of the ways in which Japanese literature differs from Western literature. It provides a brief overview of Japanese poetry, fiction, and theater. For anyone who just wants an overview, this is a good place to start.

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    13. A much better book for dipping into Japanese aestherics than the same author's slim Japanese literature (see my separate review of that) but I'm still looking for a good exploration of modern and post-modern novel. This was interesting given my interest in Japanese poetry and art as well as contemporary (and increasingly older Modern) novelists.

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    14. Does not go in depth, it's discussions touch the surface of Japanese aesthetics, poetry, fiction and theater.

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    15. I don't doubt that any book I read by Donald Keene on Japanese literature or culture is going to be absolutely greatly written and extremely informative!

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