In 2005, the celebrated scholar of Japanese literature Haruo Shirane published Classical Japanese: A Grammar. Now, with Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary, he completes his two-volume textbook for learning classical, or literary, Japanese―the primary written language in Japan from the seventh to the mid-twentieth century. The text contains carefully selected readings that address a wide array of grammatical concerns and that steadily progress from easy to difficult. The selections encompass a wide range of historical periods and styles, including essays, fiction, and poetry from such noted works as The Tale of Genji, The Tales of Ise, The Pillow Book, The Tales of the Heike, and Essays in Idleness, and such authors as Ihara Saikaku, Matsuo Basho, Ueda Akinari, Motoori Norinaga, and Fukuzawa Yukichi. Each reading is accompanied by a short English introduction, a vocabulary list, and extensive grammatical notes, and ends with a comprehensive grammatical annotation.
The classical Japanese-English dictionary composes the last third of the book and features approximately 2,500 key words, highlighting those used most frequently. The first of its kind, this volume is a vital tool for students, scholars, and translators of classical Japanese.