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

Undergraduate Course: Classical Japanese Fiction 4 (ASST10113)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course aims to introduce students to Japan's narrative traditions and to develop their critical awareness of classical Japanese fiction in terms of the indigenous literary and critical traditions and in comparison with Western literary works and thinking.
The course will centre on two major long works of fiction, the Tale of Genji and the Tale of the Heike, but will also touch upon other works that illustrate important developments in classical Japanese fiction. These works will be examined primarily from a literary perspective, but their implications for scholarship of Japanese history and society and their influence upon other Japanese arts, will also be considered.

All students will be given a formative feedback exercise that will be helpful for the assessment for this course and students' general academic development.
Course description The course will address the following topics:
Japanese narrative traditions: recording, inventing and the significance of truth

Writing in Chinese and Japanese by men and women

Women and writing at the Heian court: The Tale of Genji and its context; influences of Genji on later fiction and other arts

Changing perspectives on war tales (gunki monogatari): historical, religious, political or aesthetic?

The Tale of the Heike and its context: oral and textual tradition; relationship to the performing arts; influences on later fiction and other arts

Scholarship on classical Japanese fiction inside and outside Japan

The continuing relevance of classical Japanese fiction in contemporary Japan
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Modern East Asian History A (ASST08042) OR Modern East Asian History B (ASST08043) OR Pre-modern East Asia to 1600 (ASST08039) OR
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements As an alternative to the above pre-requisites, it is RECOMMENDED that students have passed TWO literature-based courses offered in the first and second years in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures.
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstate critical awareness of classical Japanese fiction in terms of the indigenous litrary and critical traditions and in comparison with Western literary works and thinking
  2. Communicate information and ideas effecitvely in essay form and through oral presentations and discussion
Reading List
Bargen, Doris G. A Woman┬┐s Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji. Honolulu: Hawaii UP 1997.

Butler, Kenneth Dean. 'The Textual Evolution of The Heike Monogatari' in Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 26 (1966), pp. 5-51.

Joseph, Herbert S. 'The Heike Monogatari: Buddhist Ethics and the Code of the Samurai' in Folklore, Vol. 87, No. 1 (1976), pp. 96-104

Keene, Donald. 'A Neglected Chapter. Courtly Fiction of the Kamakura Period' in Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Spring, 1989), pp. 1-30.

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

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

Murasaki Shikibu, tr. Edward G Seidensticker, The Tale of Genji. London: Secker and Warburg, 1976.

Murasaki Shikibu tr. Royall Tyler. The Tale of Genji. New York: Viking 2001.

Murasaki Shikibu, tr. Richard Bowring, The Diary of Lady Murasaki. London: Penguin 1996.

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

Rowley, G.G. Yosano Akiko and the Tale of Genji. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2000

Shirane, Haruo. Envisioning the Tale of Genji: Media, Gender and Cultural Production. New York: Columbia UP, 2008/

Shirane Haruo and Tomi Suzuki, eds. Inventing the Classics: Modernity, National Identity and Japanese Literature. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP 2000.

Varley, Paul. Warriors of Japan As Portrayed in the War Tales. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press 1994.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Helen Parker
Tel: (0131 6)50 4230
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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