Essays in Idleness and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$0.11
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Essays in Idleness Paperback – April 15, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1596050624 ISBN-10: 1596050624

Used
Price: $0.11
26 New from $10.98 25 Used from $0.11
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, April 15, 2005
$10.98 $0.11
Take%20an%20Extra%2030%25%20Off%20Any%20Book

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more.


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Cosimo Classics (April 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596050624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596050624
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A most delightful book, and one that has served as a model of Japanese style and taste since the seventeenth century. These cameo-like vignettes reflect the importance of the little, fleeting futile things, and each essay is Kenko himself.

(Asian Student)

If you enjoy things briefly told, if you want to try the prose equivalent of waka and haiku, if you already know Montaigne and would like to meet a spiritual kinsman, then you might want to take an evening and read Essays in Idleness.... [A] superb translation.

(Washington Post)

A sensitive, personal reading.

(Journal of Asian Studies)

The Tsurezuregusa is a key instrument in attempting to teach the classical Japanese tradition to the modern Western student.... This is indeed a welcome volume.

(Monumenta Nipponica) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Anyone interested in or studying Japanese history/literature/culture should read this book.
hoarselord
For example, if you are unhappy with the way your yard looks in the winter (like we have been), well, it is supposed to look that way.
chorus_girl
A true stress reliever that helps one return to a place inside each of us that also requires nourishment and companionship.
shopper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By hoarselord on April 8, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in or studying Japanese history/literature/culture should read this book. It contains a series of short essays (zuihitsu) and reads much like Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book. These essays range from Kenko's moral opinions about various aspects of life to his aesthetic tastes and thoughts about beauty. These essays are Kenko's opinion, yet they can be taken as the opinions of Japan's society at the time of the writing. Therefore there is a great deal of interesting cultural information and meaning behind Kenko's words. So if you are interested in Japanese Buddhism or religion, this book's a must.
If you are interested in Japanese aesthetics- aware: the idea that beauty is transient/fleeting, wabi-sabi: by becoming aged and through use, an object's history and experience bestow upon it greater value than an object that is new, the idea that uncertainty/non-uniformity/ and incompletion can inspire imagination- by all means read this.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Catherine McDonnell on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Wordsworth Classics here presents a nice translation by G.B. Sansom of a classic, the Tsurezuregusa of Yoshida Kenko, written around 1330 by a Japanese monk. The format of the work is reminiscent of the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon - short observations, bits of memoir, commentary on the manners and morals of people around him.
There's a minimum of footnoting and the translator's style is smooth and readable. It's a dipping book which will appeal to modern Buddhists and pensive readers alike. As Kenko himself says:
"To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations - such is a pleasure beyond compare."
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
Much of this little book works as well today as seven hundred years ago, when it was written. The observations on people and their manners sound a little old-fashioned, but still applicable.
At another level, this book is credited with the first clear statements of esthetic principles that guide modern Japanese design. The translator's footnotes show how it draws on works from Confucius, Lao Tzu, and other Chinese classics in building a uniquely Japanese text. I believe the translator missed an allusion to Chuang Tzu in essay number 42, but that does not detract from the generally high quality of scholarship in this presentation. This is a remarkable, first-person statement of the sources of Japanese culture.
Finally, these essays are uniquely products of their place and time. Kenko's view, as a monk, of the secular world affects nearly every essay.
Shonagon's 'Pillow Book' introduced me to traditional Japanese literature. This book, with all its similarities and differences, is a wonderful way to continue that friendship.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By P. Nickels on January 18, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I originally studied this book in college and loved it, and bought it this time for a friend. My mistake was not checking who translated this edition, as it is quite different from mine. I prefer the translation by Donald Keene, as it is more whimsical and meant for everyone to understand.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Russell on February 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition is a translation by Sansom, not Keene as indicated by the Amazon description. Not what I wanted or expected.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Koretsugu on June 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to read yet mentally challenging, beautifully written yet familiar in style. The Tsurezuregusa is a classic of Japanese literature. This series of essays written by a 14th-century Buddhist priest and poet in Kyoto has had an enormous impact on Japanese culture, particularly in its elegant discussions about how to best appreciate the beauty of things. Reading the Tsurezuregusa, you are able to make friends with Kenko himself, and Kenko is a good friend indeed. Donald Keene's translation is a literary gem in its own right. You simply must read this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?