A Reader’s Guide to Japanese Literature
A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature
Familiarly known as "Rimer's Guide" since its publication in 1988, A Reader's Guide to Japanese Literature by J. Thomas Rimer has now been expanded and updated, keeping it abreast of the latest developments in Japanese literature. The specific aim of the guide is to introduce newcomers to individual literary works in such a way that they can judge for themselves what suits their tastes. Its broader aim is enjoyment--the enjoyment that comes from reading a good book. In keeping with that broader aim, Rimer's Guide is enjoyable to read in its own right, making it the perfect guide for readers who enjoy reading about literary masterpieces.
Rimer's Guide begins in the eighth century and ends in the 1990s. Readers who read from beginning to end will gain a good overview of Japanese literature through their encounters with the individual books that comprise the guide. Those who wish to skip here and there, searching for the book meant especially for them, may do so with impunity. In either case, readers will come across a tremendous variety of literary styles and types: diaries, poetry, plays, essays, short stories, and novels. There are works of great subtlety, works that are boldly drawn, religious works, and secular works. There is something to suit every taste.
Newly added to the original edition's twenty classical and thirty modern works are several new chapters. "After Oe," which covers younger contemporary writers coming after the 1994 Nobel Prize winner Kenzaburo Oe, includes such writers as Haruki Murakami, Ryu Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto. "Some New Translations'' presents translations of both classic and postwar works and writers who were discussed in the first edition but who are now represented by additional translations. "Another Classical Master. Buson" is a short chapter devoted to a newly translated volume of poetry by the haiku master Buson. "More Modern Masters" cites recently published translations of postwar writers who were not represented in the first edition because translations of their works were not yet available. "The Art of the Essay" comments on the few examples of this important genre that now exist in English translation. The guide ends with a substantial list of further readings for those who would like to pursue their studies in greater depth.
Rimer's Guide thus continues to present Japanese literature in a most accessible manner, both fun to read in itself and rewarding in the suggestions it gives for more pleasurable reading in the days and years ahead.
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