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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Postgraduate Course: Exploring Japanese Fiction (PG version) (ASST11105)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course aims to enable students to develop their critical awareness of Japanese fiction, both by learning about the indigenous literary and critical traditions and by making comparisons with Western literary works and approaches to reading, appreciating and analysing literature.

They will also build on their general reading skills in Japanese so that they can apply them to the critical reading of selected Japanese literary texts.

Furthermore, the course will enable students to explore some of the recurrent themes in Japanese fiction, to consider connections between works written in different eras and to look at how specific texts and types of narrative have influenced later works of fiction. In cases where particular works of fiction have inspired other creative art forms, such as theatre, film and the visual arts, there will also be the opportunity to explore how this informs our understanding of literature and the arts in Japan.

This course is jointly taught with undergraduate students.
Course description The course is focused on recurrent themes in Japanese fiction, connections between literary works of different eras and the influence of key classical works on the Japanese literary and artistic tradition.

The course will be delivered through weekly 2-hour seminars which will combine lecture-style presentations with class discussion of the topics outlined below. Students will be assigned reading material (a literary text or set of texts and at least one analytical work such as an academic article or book chapter) with a set of questions to guide their preparation for the discussion. These will also form the basis for the reflective diary exercise to be completed weekly after the seminar.

The course will concentrate on the following topics:

Encounters with other worlds: classical works dealing with the supernatural and extraterrestrial and their connections with modern science fiction

Setting aesthetic traditions: fiction by women at the Heian court and their legacies to later literature and creative arts

Writing the self: Heian court diaries as a mode of individual self-expression; the I-novel (a form of autobiographical novel) and its contribution to interpreting national, individual and creative identity in the early 20th century

Responses to war and disaster: gunki monogatari (war tales) and their functions as historical accounts, acts of remembrance and stories to entertain; writing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to document wartime experience and promote peace

Japanese literature and world literature:
paths to international recognition; the importance of the Nobel prize for literature; the roles and influences of translators and international scholars
contemporary Japanese authors identified with a global literary scene: how is their work disseminated and presented to an international readership?
authors of other ethnicities who write in Japanese, e.g. members of the zainichi Korean community

The final session will take the form of a mini-conference in which students will deliver short presentations, either individually or as members of a panel (approximately 10 minutes per speaker), in response to a themed call for presentations issued at least 2 weeks beforehand. They will also participate in question and answer sessions after each group of presentations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Essay, 4,000 words
Feedback Students will receive regular feedback on the reflective diary exercise which will support them in their preparation for the essay and presentation.
There will also be a formative feedback exercise for which students will submit and receive feedback on an essay proposal.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Read, understand and evaluate critically literary texts by selected authors, including original key texts written in modern Japanese
  2. Conduct independent research, think critically and present information, ideas and arguments effectively in written form and in group discussion
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of Japanese literary and critical traditions
  4. Demonstrate awareness of relevant western scholarship on Japanese literature
Learning Resources
Kawabata Yasunari tr. Keene, D. (1998). The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Tokyo: Kodansha.

McCullough, Helen Craig, tr. (1988.) The Tale of the Heike. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.

McCullough, Helen Craig, tr. (1966.) Yoshitsune: A Fifteenth-century Japanese Chronicle. Tokyo and Stanford: University of Tokyo Press and Stanford University Press.

Murakami, Fuminobu. (1996). Ideology and Narrative in Modern Japanese Literature. Assen: Van Gorcum.

Murasaki Shikibu tr. Royall Tyler. (2001). The Tale of Genji. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics.

Puette, William J. (1983). A Reader's Guide: The Tale of Genji. Tokyo: Charles E Tuttle.

Schalow, P.G. and Walker, J.A, (1997). The Woman's Hand: Gender Theory in Japanese Women's Writing. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Sei Shonagon tr. McKinney, M. (2006). The Pillow Book. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics.

Shirane, H. (2008). Envisioning the Tale of Genji: Media, Gender and Cultural Production. New York: Columbia UP.

Shirane, H and Suzuki, T. (2000). Inventing the Classics: Modernity, National Identity and Japanese Literature. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP.

Ueda M. (1976), Modern Japanese Writers and the Nature of Literature.Stanford: Stanford UP.

Varley, P (1994). Warriors of Japan As Portrayed in the War Tales. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry: Problem solving; analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application.
Personal and intellectual autonomy: Self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.
Personal effectiveness: Planning, organising and time management; team working; flexibility.
Communication: interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication.
Course organiserDr Helen Parker
Tel: (0131 6)50 4230
Course secretaryMiss Charlotte McLean
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114
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