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Like Clouds and Mists: the Genpei War and No Plays

 
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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:34 am    Post subject: Like Clouds and Mists: the Genpei War and No Plays Reply with quote
"Like Clouds and Mists: Studies and Translations of No Plays of the Genpei War" was recently released by Cornell University. It's edited by Elizabeth Oyler (who along with Thomas Conlan is my favorite Japanese historian) and Michael Watson (who I've heard is a bit of a jerk but nonetheless really knows his stuff about the Heike Monogatari). The book's title is a tad misleading. It actually covers the entire Heike Monogatari and variants like the Genpei Seisuki along with plays based on stories from the Heike, not just the sections on the Genpei War. But it's quite excellent and an interesting read. Some chapters just have brief intros followed by translations, but they alternate with full fledged essays on a wide range of topics that cover related groups of translations. Many of them touch on the play's reflection of history, how the plays were used as propaganda to glorify or discredit certain figures, as well as their artistic merits and techniques. The book's huge (over 500 pages) and has dozens of No plays translated. Most all of the famous set pieces from the Heike are there, including a couple on Atsumori (but not the main Atsumori No play that was Nobunaga's favorite-instead being a couple of 'based on' plays about Atsumori's ghost and his unborn son).

The only huge drawback to the book-NO INDEX.

I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the late Heian/early Kamakura period and it's a must read for anyone with a substantial interest in the Heike (like me). It would appeal to historians of art, literature, and the Genpei war equally. It's an interesting look at how the written and performing arts were influenced by history-and how they in turn influenced how that history was seen and interpreted through the centuries.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:53 pm; edited 4 times in total
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lordameth
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think I saw this book at the AAS last year, or at least saw it on an upcoming list. Looks great.
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