Conversations with Shotetsu

Volume 7
Robert H. Brower
With an Introduction and Notes by Steven D. Carter
The first attempt to translate and analyze the late medieval poetic miscellany titled Shôtetsu monogatari, undertaken by the late Robert Brower


Conversations with Shôtetsu represents the first attempt to translate and analyze the late medieval poetic miscellany titled Shôtetsu monogatari. Written by a disciple of Shôtetsu (1381-1459), whom many scholars regard as the last great poet of the courtly tradition, this work provides information about the practice of poetry during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Robert Brower's translation is of the complete Nihon koten bungaku taikei text, edited by Hisamatsu Sen'ichi. Steven D. Carter has annotated the translation and provided an introduction that details Shotetsu'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.
"A significant contribution to scholarship in medieval poetics."
—Thomas H. Rohlich, in the Journal of Asian Studies
"The translation displays the rigor and lucidity that characterized Brower's work throughout his career. Carter's introductory essay maintains these high standards."
—Roselee Bundy in Monumenta Nipponica
"The importance, value, and quality of this book are apparent immediately. Brower and Carter have produced an excellent book that I found not only informative, but enjoyable to read. [It] will serve to push waka studies in new directions."
—Robert N. Huey, in the Journal of Japanese Studies

“This book provides a welcome introduction to a major poet who has heretofore received surprisingly little critical attention. The translation of Shotetsu monogatari maintains the high standard long associated with the name of Robert H. Brower, a gifted scholar whose premature death was a sad loss to the field; and the illuminating literary biography, copious background information, and meticulous annotation provided by Steven Carter are wholly admirable.”
—Helen Craig McCullough, Professor Emeritus of Oriental Languages, University of California, Berkeley
“This work of superior scholarship is also a monument to the continuity of scholarship. The translation was done by Professor Robert Brower, the pioneer student of Japanese court poetry in the English-speaking world, before Brower’s untimely death; the pioneer student of Japanese court poetry in the English-speaking world; and the introduction and notes are by Professor Steven Carter, a very accomplished scholar from a younger generation. Like most premodern Japanese poetic treatises, the original is fragmented and discursive. Yet it does come together, mysteriously, as a unified view of poetry. Occupying a valley between the mountains of Shin Kokin and Genroku periods, Shotetsu too bespeaks the continuity; this is a well-conceived and executed book.”
—Edward Seidensticker, Professor, Emeritus of Japanese Literature, Columbia University
Robert H. Brower (1923–1988) was Professor of Far East Language and Literature, Japanese Language and Literature, at the University of Michigan
Stephen Carter is Professor of Japanese Literature at Stanford University.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 236pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 1992
  • Available
  • 978-0-939512-43-0

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  • $35.00 U.S.