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Japanese Tales (Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore Library) Paperback – 1 Oct 2002
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"Few readers who start the book will be able to resist going through to the end."
"-- New York Times"
"Fresh, imaginative, and uniquely organized...told in a style clear, homey, and unpretentious, [they] yield great pleasure."
"-- Kirkus Reviews"
"Enchanting....The stories are variously witty, allegorical, mystical, gross, funny, and enigmatic....Tyler provides a helpful introduction, and his poised translations are something of a masterpiece."
" -- Publishers Weekly"
"Translated with exceptional skill, this is a perfect example of scholarship concealing scholarship. Tyler has made these tales read gracefully and effortlessly. He writes in a lively and colloquial style that effectively captures the spirit of the originals without being jarringly modern. This is an important book."
-- Donald Keene, Shincho Professor of Japanese, Columbia University
"Royall Tyler's translations are nothing short of superb -- crisp, restrained, ably balancing the ribald and the profound. The results make available masterpieces from five centuries of Japanese literature. This book is a stellar addition to Pantheon's "outstanding folklore series."
From the Inside Flap
Here are two hundred and twenty dazzling tales from medieval Japan, tales that welcome us into a fabulous, faraway world populated by saints and scoundrels, ghosts and magical healers, and a vast assortment of deities and demons. Stories of miracles, visions of hell, jokes, fables, and legends, these tales reflect the Japanese worldview during a classic period in Japanese civilization. Masterfully edited and translated by the acclaimed translator of The Tale of Genji, these stories ably balance the lyrical and the dramatic, the ribald and the profound, offering a window into a long-vanished though perennially fascinating culture.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This anthology collects together a wide range of Japanese tales from a period roughly spanning from about the C8 to the C16. You will find many of the tales in this collection scattered about in different versions in other collections, for example in Mitford's Tales of Old Japan from the end of the C18, and collections of Akutagawa's (English translations available) work. However, the versions in this book are the most faithful versions you will find in English. Sometimes the more freely translated versions (Mitford) or the more freely re-told versions (Akutagawa) have more literary merit, but the versions in this book are the real thing. On the whole, the stories are often not as evocative or as beautiful as their freer counterparts, or of other similar tales based on old Japanese tales (the most evocative and beautiful probably being Lafcadio Hearn's stories, published at the beginning of the C19, though he never mastered Japanese and his tales are dubious in their faithfulness to their varying sources). Tyler's introduction is, as you would expect, scholarly and illuminating, and is worth reading in its own right.
The stories in this book demonstrate the enormous range of Japanese literature from the period. There are some genuinely scary ones about ghosts and demons.Read more ›
"Japanese Tales" explores the influences of Buddha and Lotus Sutra in the medieval Japanese culture as seen in the sets of 'Monk Jokes,' 'Beyond the Rules,' and 'Parent and Child.' Since the religion of Buddhism officially came to Japan in the mid-sixth century, large temples were built and respected monks were scattered across Japan in which people viewed them as saints, frivolous, worldly, and rich (p. xxxvi - xxxvii). However, the tales in the set of 'Monk Jokes' demonstrated as a way of insult to the Buddhist monks because of their sexual behavior, and this set has a twist and humorous end. But the religion of Buddha also had great positive influences on the Japanese people as their view of life and death.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bought as a present for someone who loves everything Japanese. He loved it.Published 10 months ago by roberta