World of Japan: Classical Memoirs and Gender

This class explores the development of vernacular memoirs in Japan’s Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1333).  The class introduces the genre, other genres with which memoir intersects, and the ways memoir at once defines and defies ideas about gender in early Japan. Memoirs we will read include: Ki no Tsurayuki’s Tosa Diary; The Gossamer Journal of Michitsuna’s mother; Diaries of Izumi Shikibu and Muraski Shikibu; Sarashina Diary; The Confessions of Lady Nijo; and Journal of the Sixteenth Night Moon.  We will also read and discuss criticism on these works.  Completion of an introductory course in Japanese culture, history, or literature strongly recommended.  This course will require a long term paper, regular class participation, and exams.


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