Revelatory Tales of Late Medieval Japan
Argues that "The Tale of Genmu," "Tales Told on Mount Koya," "The Three Monks," and "The Seven Nuns" form a small, coherent subgroup of stories that describe how people were inspired to religious commitment.
Childs argues that "The Tale of Genmu," "Tales Told on Mount Koya," "The Three Monks," and "The Seven Nuns" form a small, coherent subgroup of stories that describe how people were inspired to religious commitment. These "revelatory tales" consist of firsthand accounts offered by groups of monks and nuns who tell and listen to each other's tales in turn, a public sharing that is, in fact, a religious ritual by which means the storytellers hope to confirm their beliefs and strengthen their religious resolve.
Rethinking Sorrow is important reading for anyone interested in medieval Japanese literature and culture, in Buddhist didactic literature, and in homoerotic literature. It provides a private, personal look at the religious and literary world of late medieval Japan.
Praise / Awards
“A significant contribution. Ideal for classroom use.”
—William E. Deal, in the Journal of Japanese Studies
“Scholarly, useful, and entertaining . . . it belongs on textbook order forms as well as on the shelves of specialists.”
—Janet R. Goodwin, in Monumenta Nipponica
“Professor Childs provides us with new and fascinating insights into the interplay between popular literature and its ideological roots. Rethinking Sorrow is squarely at the intersection of current inquiries into the medieval storytelling tradition and our rethinking of the nature of ‘Kamakura’ Buddhism.”
—Robert E. Morrell, Washington University in St. Louis
“Childs translates four intriguing tales that contain the confessions of seventeen men and women. In addition to revealing much about life, literature, and religious practices in medieval Japan, these tales are fun to read, and they provide fresh, new material for Japanese literature courses taught in English.”
—Karen Brazell, Cornell University
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