An introduction to classical Japanese language and grammar (module A); a literary introduction, translation and grammatical analysis of selections from a text in classical Japanese, chosen from Heian or Kamakura literature (module B).
PIGEOT, Jacqueline, Manuel de japonais classique – Initiation au bungo, Paris, Langues & Monde/L'Asiathéque, 1998.
SHIRANE, Haruo, Classical Japanese. A Grammar, New York, Columbia University Press, 2005.
- BOWRING, Richard, The Ise monogatari: A Short Cultural History, in «Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies», vol. 52, n. 2, 1992, pp. 401-480.
- FRACCARO, Francesca, Costruzione della Storia, riscrittura e dissenso politico nei dan con nomi veri dell'Ise monogatari, in Maria Chiara Migliore, Antonio Manieri, Stefano Romagnoli (a cura di), Il dissenso in Giappone. La critica al potere in testi antichi e moderni, Roma, Aracne editrice, 2016.
- HELDT, Gustav, The Pursuit of Harmony. Poetry and Power in Early Heian Japan, Cornell University East Asia Program, Ithaca, New York, 2008.
- I Racconti di Ise, Michele Marra ed., Torino, Einaudi, 1985.
- Kokin Waka sh? (Raccolta di poesie antiche e moderne), Ikuko Sagiyama ed., Milano, Ariele, 2000.
- I racconti di Ise, a cura di Andrea Maurizi, Marsilio, Venezia, 2018.
- KONISHI, Jin'ichi, A History of Japanese Literature. Volume Two. The Early Middle Ages, a cura di Earl Miner, Princeton, princeton University Press, 1986.
- McCULLOUGH., Brocade by Night. ‘Kokin Wakash?' and the Court Style in Japanese Classical Poetry, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1985 (chapter. 3.: "The Dark Age of the Public Waka", pp. 154-230).
- Man'y?sh?. Raccolta delle diecimila foglie. Libro XVI: Poesie che hanno una storia e poesie varie, Maria Chiara Migliore ed., Carocci, Roma, 2019.
- MARRA, Michele, The Aesthetics of Discontent. Politics and Reclusion in Medieval japanese Literature, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 1991 (cap. 2: "A Lesson to the Leaders: Ise monogatari and the Code of Miyabi", pp. 35-53).
- MOSTOW, Joshua S., Modern Constructions of Tales of Ise: Gender and Courtliness, in Shirane Haruo e Suzuki Tomi (a cura di), Inventing the Classics. Modernity, National Identity, and Japanese Literature, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 2000, pp. 96-119.
- OKADA, Richard, Hideki, Figures of Resistance. Language, Poetry and Narrating in The Tale of Genji and Other Mid-Heian Texts, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 1991 (cap. II.5: "Sexual/Textual Politics and The Tale of Ise", pp. 131-156).
- SCHALOW, Paul, Gordon, Five Portraits of Male Friendship in the Ise monogatari, in «Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies», vol. 60, n. 2, 2000, pp. 445-488.
- Tales of Ise. Lyrical Episodes from Tenth-Century Japan, a cura di Helen Craig McCullough, T?ky?, University of T?ky? Press, 1978 .
- The Ise Stories. Ise monogatari, Joshua S. Mostow e Royall Tyler eds., University of Hawai'i Press. Honolulu, 2010.
- The Tales of Ise, Peter Macmillan ed., Penguin Books, 2016.
The course is divided into two modules, 36 hours each. Module A) By teaching the fundamentals of classical Japanese this module aims to provide students with the basic tools to approach classical literature in the original. Module B) By undertaking the partial translation and analysis of a representative literary work or author of the Heian or Kamakura period, this module aims to strengthen the students' grammatical skills and to familiarize them with the stylistic, rhetorical and cultural aspects of texts written in classical Japanese.
The course aims to provide:
- Advanced-level knowledge of the grammar of classical Japanese, with special reference to the Japanese style (wabun) developed in the Heian period.
- Knowledge and comprehension of the vocabulary of classical Japanese;
- In-depth knowledge and comprehension of a particular author or a specific literary text representative of the Heian or Kamakura period, analyzed in its stylistic and rhetorical aspects and interpreted within its historical and cultural background.
- the ability to understand at an advanced level the grammatical structures of classical Japanese;
- the ability to understand in its historical and cultural nuances the vocabulary of a text in wabun;
- the acquisition and the ability to use the methodological and bibliographical tools required for the study of classical Japanese literature;
- the ability to read a classical text as situated in its historical and cultural background, with special reference to the literary canons and models it relates to.
- The ability to translate a text of classical literature by making use of its modern annotated edition.
Lessons are intended for students already acquainted with modern Japanese (intermediate level). In order to attend classes students must therefore have acquired at least 12-18 credits (CFU) in modern Japanese. A basic knowledge of Japanese literary history, with special reference to the Heian and Kamakura periods is also requested.
During classes students will be asked simple grammatical questions and will be encouraged to translate short grammatical sentences in order to check their comprehension of the subjects under discussion. At least one drill on the main grammatical rules taught in module A will be held at the end of the course.
When necessary, the translation of the selected texts of module B may be preceded by supplementary advanced-level grammatical lessons.
Type of Assessment
Module A): Students will sit a written examination on classical grammar, followed by an oral test. Students will be asked:
- to inflect verbs, adjectives and auxiliary verbs (jodôshi);
- to select the right form of passive (ru vs. raru) or causative (su vs. sasu) auxiliary verbs according to the conjugation of the verb they follow.
- to detect the correct meaning of an auxiliary verb when used in a short sentence;
- to recognize and understand the meaning of case particles (kakujoshi), conjunctive particles (setsuzokujoshi) and of bound particles (kakari joshi);
- to translate short sentences and poems (waka) from bungo into Italian.
The written exam will be held in the morning of the first examination day of each session.
Module B): Students will sit an oral exam. They will be asked to translate and analyze in their grammatical, stylistic, and contextual (historical and literary) aspects excerpts selected from the texts studied in class. A list of the literary excerpts selected for the oral exam will be given before the end of the course.
Marks are given in 30/30 and are calculated as the mean of the marks gained for module A and the marks gained for module B.
Module A) An introduction to the orthography and grammar of bungo ("literary language"), paying special attention to the linguistic features of late ancient Japanese (ch?ko nihongo), i.e., the classical language of the Heian period. The main subjects discussed are as follows. a) A short account of the phonology of ancient Japanese. b) The historical kana spelling (rekishiteki kanazukai). c) The inflected forms of verbs (katsuyôkei). d) Inflecting suffixes (or auxiliary verbs, jodôshi). e) Bound particles (kakari joshi) and the rule of linking (kakari musubi). f) An introduction to case particles (kakujoshi) and conjunctive particles (setsuzokujoshi). Each item will be illustrated with simple examples drawn from classical texts, mainly belonging to Heian and Kamakura literature.
Module B) Reading kobun (classical texts): Ariwara no Narihira (825-880) and the Ise monogatari (The Ise Stories)
This module is structured in two parts, centering respectively on I) Ariwara no Narihira's life and poetry, and II) on the genesis and meaning of his fictionalized "biography", that is the Ise monogatari.
Part I) will deal with.
a) The historical background.
- Emperor Ninmyô's (r. 833-850) to emperor Yôzei's (r. 876-884) reigns.
- Narihira's family tree. Ex emperor Heizei (806-809) and the «Kusuko incident» (Kusuko no hen, 810). Prince Abo (792-842), the exile, and return to the capital.
- Narihira: the historical figure. The biographical data and his portrait in the Nihon sandai jitsuroku (901). The social backgroung: Prince Koretaka's circle and the Ki family. The Fujiwara regents and Fujiwara no Takaiko's political entourage.
b) The literary context: the age of the Six poetic geniuses (rokkasen).
- Encoding the thematic and rhetorical features of kanshi into waka: the poetry of Sôjô Henjô, Fun'ya no Yasuhide and Ono no Komachi.
- Waka circles and their patrons: the role of Prince Koretaka and Fujiwara no Takaiko.
- Narihira's waka in the Kokinsh?: stylistic features and performative aspects. The imitation of kanshi compositional models in the poetic performances for Prince Koretaka's circle. Roleplaying and the construction of lyrical tales for Fujiwara no Takaiko's literary salon: Narihira's adaptations of Tang fictional tales (chuanqi).
Part II) will deal with.
a) The upsurge of poetic narratives in the Xth century. Preliminary steps: defining waka stories (utagatari) and lyrical tales (utamonogatari).
b) The Ise monogatari.
- Textual lines and variant editions. The Tenpukubon edition and the standard text.
- The genesis. Katagiri Yôichi's "three-stage" theory and its main opponents.
- The structure. Coherence behind disconnectedness: reading the Ise monogatari as Narihira's life.
- The author's method. Reworking facts and history: an analysis of the sections containing real names (e.g., 16, 81, 82-83). Reworking poems and their contexts: the political manipulation of Narihira's original eulogies or occasional waka in the Ise monogatari (sections 76, 80).
- The narrative style. The narrator's presence (sôshiji) and its ideological functions. The subversive role of the "later footnotes" (kôjinch?): analysis and translation of relevant sections (5-6; 69).
- Narihira's romantic fictions in the Kokinsh? and the genesis of the amorous hero (irogonomi). The role of irogonomi women. Analysis and translation of relevant sections (4-5, 25, 40, 69 and others).
- A key concept: miyabi in previous literary works and in the Ise monogatari (section 1).