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The Ise Stories: Ise monogatari Paperback – July 13, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mostow and Tyler have provided us with a translation and commentary that offers perhaps the richest imaginable harvesting of the fruits of [previous] scholars’ labours in a monograph of this size. . . . The reading experience of this new translation is thoroughly embedded in the newest scholarship. The inclusion of the complete set of illustrative woodblock prints from 1608 not only lightens this reading experience, but is an essential part of the reception history strength of the commentary. . . . Without a doubt, the major contribution of this commentary is its explicit engagement with the extensive Japanese commentary tradition of all periods, ensuring that this will be the reference translation of choice not just for scholars working on the Heian era, but for readers and scholars interested in other eras and in other disciplines. . . . General readers will appreciate the breadth of cultural coverage and the readability of both translation and commentary. Researchers will find it indispensable. (Japan Forum)

An excellent translation with clear, readable prose, and well-wrought poems. Even more useful is [the] concise description of the long and convoluted reception history of this important but perplexing text. (CHOICE)

About the Author

Royall Tyler is the most recent translator of The Tale of Genji (Penguin, 2001). He lives in Australia.

Joshua S. Mostow is professor of Asian studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824834518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824834517
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #948,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this because I wanted to read what's continually referred to as one of the classics of Japanese literature. So now I've read it, and ...

For the general reader (like me): it's a collection of poems with explanatory narratives, most extremely short, set out in 125 episodes with some charming 17th-century illustrations (black-and-white). It's a brief, yet interesting insight into aristocratic life and culture in 9th-century Japan, seen through the window of a single man's friendships and romantic adventures. However, a lot of the time I felt I was only just grasping the meaning of the poems and the accompanying narrative. Which leads me on to ...

For the specialist: there's a concise introduction, including a brief history of commentary on the stories; the text of the poems in transliterated Japanese; a bibliography; an index of the poems by first line in English and Japanese; and a standard index. There's also a commentary after each poem which sums up the various major interpretations of each episode and explains some of the choices the translators made.

Mostow and Tyler's prose is very accessible, and even a non-specialist like me can find some help in their commentary. Overall, I'm pleased to have read The Ise Stories and foresee myself dipping into it again and again. However, I suggest you would get more out of this book if you have read The Tale of Genji: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) or The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan (Kodansha Globe).
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Format: Paperback
A really nicely produced translation of a classic of Japanese literature. The is a sequence of about 150 vignettes roughly following a man's life. Many of the vignettes poems are assembled from other anthologies though many are attributed to a single individual. Each vignette consists of a short, sometimes 1 sentence, narrative followed by a poem or poems. Some vignettes contain additional narrative. The poetry is highly allusive and the translations appear to embody some choices about the meaning of the poetry. Each vignette is accompanied by some commentary. The commentary tradition for this work dates back centuries and the commentary sections summarize major points of view on each vignette-poem. The poetry reflects the complex ethos and politics of the Heian court. A great deal of the poetry is devoted to sexual escapades. Modern readers will be impressed with the rather predatory attitudes towards women. Very nicely illustrated with reproductions of prints illustrating the actions of vignettes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While the previous translation of several decades ago is very valuable, translator Professor Mostrow is very skillful, as well as contributions by Royall Tyler.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thought Tyler could do no wrong I see what he was up to, but for me it doesn't work! English is English. It isn't anything else. Stein understood this.
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