Lady Murasaki's eleventh-century novel The Tale of the Genji is the most famous work in classical Japanese literature and one of the most-addressed themes in Japanese art and literature during subsequent eras. It is also one of the great novels of the world. Reading and studying this fascinating text as it appears in the original text and related writing not only helps explain many key concepts in traditional Japanese culture but provides access to non-Western models for the composition of sophisticated fiction based on the interior psychology of the characters presented. Key questions that the course will address include why The Tale of the Genji was so often depicted in various written and visual forms (such as Noh plays or woodblock prints), as well as how the relationship between the original and derivative works versions changed over time. All readings are in English. This course can be taken by Department majors in conjunction with Japanese 1908, Directed Readings.
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