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The Willow in Autumn: Ryutei Tanehiko (Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series)
In early 19th-century Japan - the "silver age" of Edo-period literature - Ryutei Tanehiko was a well-known author of popular illustrated fiction. This account of his life and works covers his early "yomihon" (lengthy romances of improbable perils and adventures) and his "gokan" (intricately plotted stories in simple language intended for a general...
In early 19th-century Japan - the "silver age" of Edo-period literature - Ryutei Tanehiko was a well-known author of popular illustrated fiction. This account of his life and works covers his early "yomihon" (lengthy romances of improbable perils and adventures) and his "gokan" (intricately plotted stories in simple language intended for a general audience). Special emphasis is given to his most popular work - the illustrated serial "Nise Muraskai Inaka Genji" (an impostor Murasaki and rustic Genji), which ran for 14 years - Japan's first national bestseller. Markus shows how Tanehiko transposed episodes of the 11th-century Genji monogatari to a 15th-century Muromachi setting in a plot dependent on the conventions of 19th-century kabuki. Markus fleshes out Tanehiko's diaries and the remarks of his contemporaries to create a picture of an author who, after years of spectacular success, fell victim to the Tenpo Reform promulgations against "morally inappropriate" publications and whose mysterious death sent shock waves through the publishing world.
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