Register :: Log in :: Profile   


The Evil Book Redeemed: Alexander Bennett's Hagakure

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // The Edo Period
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Tatsunoshi
Miko no Kami
Miko no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 4923
Location: 京都日本 Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:24 am    Post subject: The Evil Book Redeemed: Alexander Bennett's Hagakure Reply with quote
Yes, I went there. Facing the Evil Book head on for the greater glory of the SA, and you know what? It isn't so bad after all. Read all about it on the Shogun-ki.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
heron
萩守
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 27 Jan 2007
Posts: 1136
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
We applaud your courage and dedication. Truly you are a modern samurai Very Happy
Great review but dammit now I have to buy yet another book Sad
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Good review, though saying Thomas Cleary is good for anything besides toilet paper makes me question your sanity.
_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
JLBadgley
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei



Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Posts: 1617
Location: Washington, DC, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Very good review. I'll have to give this one a chance. I believe we have another of Alexander Bennett's translations (a book on atarashii naginata), and I have heard good about him from folks in the INF.

I agree about the Cleary comment, though--I was surprised that you mentioned his books in such a good light. Are they better than his previous stuff? I've always seen his work as good enough: not so authoritative as some, in what he does get wrong, and since you're dealing with translations it seems to have more to do with word choice, etc. influencing the final product.

-Josh
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tatsunoshi
Miko no Kami
Miko no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 4923
Location: 京都日本 Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
The spirit and tone of the original works does come through in the Cleary reprints; obviously, they're the attraction here (one of the better known military strategist families in the Edo period, the Yagyu, and Takuan), not so much Cleary's background chapters. I figured since I only gave them a paragraph that pointing out a couple of howlers, labeling them cringe-worthy (errors even early Turnbull wouldn't make), and letting folks know he was no Bennett was sufficient. I have no doubt someone like Bennett could do a better job with the translations, but they read very similar to translations William Scott Wilson has done with the same authors. Not the greatest-I think you really have to have a stronger grasp of history for that-but quite good. Choice of words is sometimes questionable, like using 'knight' instead of 'samurai' or 'warrior' for one of the titles-but that goes back to using words a Western audience is more familiar with (even though who doesn't know samurai?) vs a more straightforward translation-the whole transcription/transliteration vs translation thing.

Josh, I can't compare them to his previous work, since these are the first of his books I've read. They're reprints of earlier books so in essence they are his 'previous work'.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ltdomer98
Daijo Daijin
Daijo Daijin
Veteran Member



Joined: 04 May 2006
Posts: 5456
Location: Washington (the one with all the politicians)

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's been a long time since I read any Cleary, but reading his stuff in undergrad, specifically his translation of the Sun Zi and the "Japanese Art of War", he was one of the worst at trying to turn things into cosmological "philosophy" instead of "hey, this is a book about how to kill the enemy". He was at the forefront of turning Chinese & Japanese texts into some sort of Eastern exotic voodoo mystic mumbojumbo adapted to business or yoga or horse racing or whatever. My Asian philosophy professor loved him, which should immediately be a red flag. He's considered a hack at best by the Chinese history profs I know, and is one of the main reasons I'm wary of anything put out by Shambala Publishing.
_________________
Bring it on, laddie 'Domer
The Sengoku Field Manual Blog
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tatsunoshi
Miko no Kami
Miko no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 4923
Location: 京都日本 Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
ltdomer98 wrote:
...he was one of the worst at trying to turn things into cosmological "philosophy" instead of "hey, this is a book about how to kill the enemy". He was at the forefront of turning Chinese & Japanese texts into some sort of Eastern exotic voodoo mystic mumbojumbo...


Yeah, his forwards certainly had that tone-I think I did read a piece he did for a museum exhibit catalog (Lords of the Samurai, an exhibit that got some substantial flak for sammyrai glorification) that was full of the 'glorious honorable samurai' schtick. Takuan's & Yagyu's writings do read like esoteric Buddhist texts at times, so I don't think he misrepresented them to any degree.

That's one thing I try to emphasize in most of my reviews on Edo period warrior tracts-that yes, you can find wisdom in them, but nothing you can't find in a modern self help book, or a modern army training manual. They're not long lost secrets that unlock the mysteries of the universe.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // The Edo Period All times are GMT - 10 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Help the Samurai Archives




alexisRed v1.2 // Theme Created By: Andrew Charron // Samuraized By: Aaron Rister

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group