Love and Loss: Reading The Tale of Genji
JAPN (JAPANESE) 337/WLIT (World Literature) 337
Instructor: Beth M. Carter
Open to undergraduate students
Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji (c. 1000 CE), the great Japanese classic often referred to as “the world’s first novel,” has been praised by countless readers and scholars since it was first circulated within the imperial court. In this course we will focus on themes of love and loss, paying special attention to the substitution that results from the hero, the shining prince Genji, losing his mother at a tender age and attempting to fill the void she left. Popularly thought of as a “playboy,” we will investigate the thematic, historic, political, social, and religious descriptions within Genji’s (many) love affairs, with a special emphasis on issues of gender, poetry, imagery, costume, music, religion, theater, and material culture of the mid-Heian era. Offered as JAPN337 and WLIT 337.