A Coat of Many Poems: Ihara Saikaku's The Life of an Amorous Man as Haibun

David Gundry, Assistant Professor of Japanese, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures ,University of California at Davis

RSVP required to Aragorn Quinn by Monday, May 23.
Dinner will be provided.

At this workshop David Gundry will present his recent research. Professor Gundry is a graduate of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and is now Assistant Professor of Japanese in the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of California at Davis.

As Ihara Saikaku’s first published work of fiction, The Life of an Amorous Man (1682) represents a shift in the focus of his literary endeavors from haikai renga, linked verse in which the forms of court poetry are appropriated and its rules of diction and acceptable subject matter deliberately violated, the genre in which Saikaku had first won fame. This talk will examine both haikai-like elements and direct references to haikai in Amorous Man, as well as the ways in which its parodic references to the texts of elite genres simultaneously bring low these esteemed literary precedents, implicitly elevate the demimonde the novel portrays and, in the manner of a particularly difficult crossword puzzle, flatter the bourgeois reader who understands the references to works produced by and/or for his social “betters.” Furthermore, drawing parallels to the tension in much of Saikaku's fiction between moral condemnations of characters' behavior and sympathetic portrayals of these same characters, this presentation will demonstrate how Amorous Man both condemns the hubristic appropriation of elite art forms by commoners and commits this very transgression.

Following the talk, there will be comments by two discussants:
- Professor James Reichert, professor of Japanese literature in EALC
- Yanshuo Zhang, PhD student in EALC

Thursday, May 26, 2011 | 4:30 pm — 6:30 pm
Building 250 - Room 101, EALC Library

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures