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The Tale of Saigyo (Michigan Papers in…
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The Tale of Saigyo (Michigan Papers in Japanese Studies) (edition 1998)

by Saigyo (Author), Meredith McKinney (Editor)

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The Tale of Saigyo is a poetic biography of the late Heian poet Saigyo (1118-90), one of the most loved and respected poets in Japanese literary history. Its anonymous author followed the venerable "poem-tale" tradition by using 128 of Saigyo's finest and best-known poems and weaving around them facts and legends about the poet. The result is a biographical "journey" through his life. Saigyo moves from the life of a brilliant and favored young poet at the Heian imperial court, through a Buddhist "awakening" that leads him to cast off his worldly life and family ties and to transform himself into a wandering monk in search of salvation, through the vicissitudes of his long hard life on the road, to a final apotheosis as Buddhist saint in his famous death.  While The Tale of Saigyo is on one level the story of the making of a Buddhist saint, it is also a biography of the trials and sorrows of an idealized poetic sensibility during a tempestuous time that saw the death of the Heian period, the Genpei Wars, and the beginning of the turbulent Kamakura period. The moving portrait of the wandering poet-monk that emerges through this tale crystallized the image of Saigyo and is felt in such later literary figures as Basho, who acknowledged Saigyo as his model and master. … (more)
Member:kaixo
Title:The Tale of Saigyo (Michigan Papers in Japanese Studies)
Authors:Saigyo (Author)
Other authors:Meredith McKinney (Editor)
Info:U of M Center For Japanese Studies (1998), 104 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Japan, Japanese literature, poetry, heian, biography

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The Tale of Saigyō by Saigyo

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saigyoprimary authorall editionscalculated
McKinney, MeredithEditormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calza, Gian CarloPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Origlia, LydiaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Tale of Saigyo is a poetic biography of the late Heian poet Saigyo (1118-90), one of the most loved and respected poets in Japanese literary history. Its anonymous author followed the venerable "poem-tale" tradition by using 128 of Saigyo's finest and best-known poems and weaving around them facts and legends about the poet. The result is a biographical "journey" through his life. Saigyo moves from the life of a brilliant and favored young poet at the Heian imperial court, through a Buddhist "awakening" that leads him to cast off his worldly life and family ties and to transform himself into a wandering monk in search of salvation, through the vicissitudes of his long hard life on the road, to a final apotheosis as Buddhist saint in his famous death.  While The Tale of Saigyo is on one level the story of the making of a Buddhist saint, it is also a biography of the trials and sorrows of an idealized poetic sensibility during a tempestuous time that saw the death of the Heian period, the Genpei Wars, and the beginning of the turbulent Kamakura period. The moving portrait of the wandering poet-monk that emerges through this tale crystallized the image of Saigyo and is felt in such later literary figures as Basho, who acknowledged Saigyo as his model and master. 

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