A Woman’s Autobiographical Text from Tenth-Century Japan
A new translation with discussion and annotations of a foundational work of Japanese classical literature
Japan is the only country in the world where it was primarily the works of women writers that laid the foundation for the classical literary tradition. The Kagero¯ Diary commands our attention as the first extant work of that rich and brilliant tradition. The author, known to posterity as Michitsuna's Mother, a member of the middle-ranking aristocracy of the Heian period (794-1185), wrote an account of twenty years of her life (954-74), and this autobiographical text now gives readers access to a woman's experience of a thousand years ago.
This new translation of The Kagero¯ Diary is accompanied by running notes on facing ages and an introduction that places the work within the context of contemporary discussions regarding feminist literature and the genre of autobiography and provides detailed historical information and a description of the stylistic qualities of the text.
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