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

Undergraduate Course: Exploring Japanese Fiction 4 (ASST10145)

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 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.
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.

Students will be assigned weekly reading materials (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 a class 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; setting and following aesthetic traditions; writing the self; Responses to war and disaster; Japanese literature and world literature.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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
Reading List
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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