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The Secret Island and the Enticing Flame: Worlds of Memory, Discovery, and Loss in Japanese Poetry

142 secret island
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In this volume the translator of poetry experiments with three different ways to present the results of his craft.  Professor Cranston arranges translations of fifty love poems in tanka form, ranging from the ancient chronicle Kojiki to the contemporary poet Tawara Machi, in an examination of desire, melancholy, and despair.  "In the Dark of the Year" is an essay on sequencing.  "Young Akiko: The Literary Debut of Yosano Akiko (1878-1942)" adopts a biographical approach.  This essay updates the author's article originally published in 1977 in Literature East and West.  "The Dark at the Bottom of the Dish: Fishing for Myth in the Poetry of Mizuno Ruriko" shows Cranston "working outside his usual box" on the poems of a contemporary surrealist whose deepest themes are childhood loss and innocence. | 152 pages


  • Preface
  • In the Dark of the Year
  • Young Akiko
  • The Dark at the Bottom of the Dish


  • Edwin A. CRANSTON is Professor of Japanese Literature at Harvard University.  His principal publications are The Izumi Shikibu Diary: A Romance of the Heian Court (Harvard, 1969), A Waka Anthology, Volume One: The Gem-Glistening Cup (Stanford, 1993), and A Waka Anthology, Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance (Stanford, 2006).  He is currently working on Volume Three of the Waka Anthology series.

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