Monday, May 29, 2006

Song in an Age of Discord

I'm working on a book review for The Japan Studies Review. It should have been finished a long time ago. It's on a topic that will be of great interest to haiku fans, especially those who want to find out more about the history of Japanese poetry.

The book is H. Mack Horton's Song in an Age of Discord: 'The Journal of Sôchô' and Poetic Life in Late Medieval Japan, published by Stanford University Press in June 2002. Here's the Table of Contents:
1/ "These useless products of my brush": Sôchô and His Journal
2/"What is to become of me as I travel on my way?": 'The Journal of Sôchô' as Travel Literature
3/ "How I do love a garden": 'The Journal of Sôchô' and the Literature of Eremitism
4/ A diary of things both serious and frivolus": Poetry in 'The Journal of Sôchô.'
It concludes with an epilogue and thre are three appendices: The Imagawa House Lineage, Two Early Biographies of Sôchô, and Major Works by Sôchô, as well as two glossaries. There are also illustrations in a separate section.

From the flyleaf:
Song in an Age of Discord is a companion volume to the author's translation of The Journal of Sôchô, the travel diary and poetic memoir of Saiokuken Sôchô (1448-1532), the preeminent linked-verse (renga) poet of his generation. The Journal--which records several journeys that Sôchô made between Kyoto and Suruga Province during the tumultuous Age of the Country at War--is unparalled in the literature of the period for its range of commentary and freshness of detail, and for its impressive array of literary genres, including more than 600 poems.
This review has to get done soon, so I'll be back here working on it before very long.