Conversations with Shōtetsu

Volume 7
Translated by Robert H. Brower; With an Introduction and Notes by Steven D. Carter
With an Introduction and Notes by Steven D. Carter
The first English translation and study of the late medieval Japanese poetic miscellany Shotetsu monogatari


Shōtetsu monogatari was written by a disciple of Shōtetsu (1381–1459), whom many scholars regard as the last great poet of the courtly tradition. The work provides information about the practice of poetry during the 14th and 15th centuries, including anecdotes about famous poets, advice on how to treat certain standard topics, and lessons in etiquette when attending or participating in poetry contests and gatherings. But unlike the many other works of that time that stop at that level, Shōtetsu’s contributions to medieval aesthetics gained prominence, showing him as a worthy heir—both as poet and thinker—to the legacy of the great poet-critic Fujiwara no Teika (1162–1241).
The last project of the late Robert H. Brower, Conversations with Shôtetsu provides a translation of the complete Nihon koten bungaku taikei text, as edited by Hisamatsu Sen'ichi. Steven D. Carter has annotated the translation and provided an introduction that details Shôtetsu’s life, his place in the poetic circles of his day, and the relationship of his work to the larger poetic tradition of medieval Japan.
Conversations with Shōtetsu is important reading for anyone interested in medieval Japanese literature and culture, in poetry, and in aesthetics. It provides a unique look at the literary world of late medieval Japan.

Robert H. Brower, one of the founders the Study of Japanese literature in the United States, was Professor Emeritus of Japanese Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. His career spanned four decades, during which time he published numerous articles and monographs on traditional Japanese poetry and poetic criticism, as well as the classic study, Japanese Court Poetry (with Earl Miner, 1962).

Steven D. Carter is Professor of Japanese in the Departments of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Irvine. His works include Traditional Poetry of Japan (1991), an anthology of translations of Japanese poems; Waiting for the Wind: Thirty-Six Poets of Japan’s Late Medieval age (1989); and The Road to Komatsubara: A Classical Reading of the Renga Hyakuin (1987).

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  • 6 x 9.
  • 236pp.
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  • 1992
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