Writing and Renunciation in Medieval Japan
The Works of the Poet-Priest Kamo no Chomei
Challenges the rigid distinction between the religious and literary in medieval Japan.
This is the first monograph-length study in English of Kamo no Cho¯mei, one of the most important literary figures of medieval Japan. Drawing upon a wide range of writings in a variety of genres from the Heian and Kamakura periods, Pandey shows how the terms kyo¯gen kigo (wild words and fancy phrases), sho¯ji soku nehan (samsara is nirvana), ho¯ben (expedient means), and suki (single-minded devotion to an art) were deployed by writers in an attempt to reconcile literary and artistic activities with a commitment to Buddhism. By locating Cho¯mei within this broad context, the book offers an original reading of his texts, while at the same time casting light upon intellectual preoccupations that were central to the times.
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