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7 September 1926—7 September 1986
In May of 1986 Edward Kamau Brathwaite learned that his wife, Doris, was dying of cancer and had only a short time to live. Responding as a poet, he began “helplessly & spasmodically” to record her passage in a diary. Zea Mexican is a collection of excerpts from this diary and other notes from this period of the Brathwaites’ lives, and few who read this book will fail to be caught up in the depth of Edward Brathwaite’s grief. Zea Mexican is a tribute to Doris Brathwaite and an exploration of the creative potency of love. (The title comes from the name Brathwaite gave Doris, who was originally from Guyana of part Amerindian descent.) Exposing the intimacy of his marriage, this book is the closest Brathwaite has ever come to an autobiographical statement. In examining his life with Doris he found the courage to reveal something of his own character. But, more than an autobiography, Zea Mexican is an extraordinary work of literature, much of it written in the expressive “nation language” of Jamaica and the Caribbean. Brathwaite filters his pain through his poetic gift, presenting it to the reader with all the poignancy poetry conveys.
The Obizzi Saga
A prominent writer, a master painter, and a treasure of art that for centuries had been largely neglected are brought brilliantly to life in this first important study of one of the great legacies of Renaissance art. The immense castle at Cataio, about thirty-five miles from Venice, was built between 1570 and 1573. An extraordinary series of frescoes, painted in 1573, covers the walls of six of its palatial halls. Programmed by Giuseppe Betussi, the forty frescoes depict momentous events in the history of the Obizzi family from 1004 to 1422. Executed by Giambattista Zelotti and assistants, the frescoes, plus ceiling decorations, are painted in a Mannerist, highly illusionist style with such skill that the walls seem to be windows through which one views battle scenes, weddings, political negotiations, and other episodes in the dramatic history of the Obizzi family.Now one of the most distinguished scholars of Italian art takes readers room by room, fresco by fresco, on the first guided tour of this Betussi-Zelotti masterpiece. Writing with characteristic clarity, Irma Jaffe combines art history, iconography, formal analysis, Italian history, and the story of the Obizzi family in a richly detailed esthetic, social and historical introduction to the entire series.Describing and explaining with spirit and authority the composition and meaning of each fresco-each illustrated with full color plates-Jaffe also illuminates the fascinating decorations on the ceilings and overdoors of the great rooms. In figures that personify virtues and vices, to comment on the events painted on the walls beneath them, the values of sixteenth century Italy are reflected with uncommon clarity in both the fresco saga and the decorations above.A full understanding of Mannerism and sixteenth century painting must now include the contribution of Battista Zelotti. In the scenes at Cataio he reveals the possibilities available to Mannerist style in his countless poses of the human figure and of horses, in his variety of settings---indoor and outdoor, land and sea---and in the range of preeminent sixteenth century values such as family rank and pride, personal courage, and religion that are expressed in his Saga of the Obizzi family. Zelotti's masterpiece carries the artificiality inherent in Mannerism to a new level of theatrical drama. Viewing the scenes of fierce battles, magnificent weddings, assassinations, and triumph after triumph, suggests to modern viewers something of the splendor of grand opera.For Renaissance scholars and students, for art historians, for travelers and art lovers interested in the heritage of the Renaissance in Italy and in the glorious estates of the Veneto, Zelotti's Epic Frescoes at Cataio: The Obizzi Saga will be an indispensable introduction and guide to a treasure hidden in plain sight for many years.
This is the definitive work on the first and greatest of Japan's twentieth-century philosophers, Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945). Interspersed throughout the narrative of Nishida's life and thought is a generous selection of the philosopher's own essays, letters, and short presentations, newly translated into English.
Comparative Interpretations of Mystical Experience
Zen and the Unspeakable God reevaluates how we study mystical experience. Forsaking the prescriptive epistemological box that has constrained the conversation for decades, ensuring that methodology has overshadowed subject matter, Jason Blum proposes a new interpretive approach—one that begins with a mystic’s own beliefs about the nature of mystical experience. Blum brings this approach to bear on the experiential accounts of three mystical exemplars: Meister Eckhart, Ibn al-ʿArabi, and Hui-neng. Through close readings of their texts, he uncovers the mystics’ own fundamental assumptions about transcendence and harnesses these as interpretive guides to their experiences.
The predominant theory-first path to interpretation has led to the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of individual mystical experiences and fostered specious conclusions about cross-cultural comparability among them. Blum’s hermeneutic invites the scholarly community to begin thinking about mystical experience in a new way—through the mystics’ eyes. Zen and the Unspeakable God offers a sampling of the provocative results of this technique and an explanation of its implications for theories of consciousness and our contemporary understanding of the nature of mystical experience.
The Quest for Cosmopolitan Modernity
Widely perceived as an overwhelmingly Catholic nation, Brazil has experienced in recent years a growth in the popularity of Buddhism among the urban, cosmopolitan upper classes. In the 1990s Buddhism in general and Zen in particular were adopted by national elites, the media, and popular culture as a set of humanistic values to counter the rampant violence and crime in Brazilian society. Despite national media attention, the rapidly expanding Brazilian market for Buddhist books and events, and general interest in the globalization of Buddhism, the Brazilian case has received little scholarly attention. Cristina Rocha addresses that shortcoming in Zen in Brazil. Drawing on fieldwork in Japan and Brazil, she examines Brazilian history, culture, and literature to uncover the mainly Catholic, Spiritist, and Afro-Brazilian religious matrices responsible for this particular indigenization of Buddhism. In her analysis of Japanese immigration and the adoption and creolization of the Sôtôshû school of Zen Buddhism in Brazil, she offers the fascinating insight that the latter is part of a process of "cannibalizing" the modern other to become modern oneself. She shows, moreover, that in practicing Zen, the Brazilian intellectual elites from the 1950s onward have been driven by a desire to acquire and accumulate cultural capital both locally and overseas. Their consumption of Zen, Rocha contends, has been an expression of their desire to distinguish themselves from popular taste at home while at the same time associating themselves with overseas cultural elites.
“What is the sound of one hand clapping?” “Does a dog have Buddha-nature?” These cryptic expressions are among the best-known examples of koans, the confusing, often contradictory sayings that form the centerpiece of Zen Buddhist learning and training. Viewed as an ideal method for attaining and transmitting an unimpeded experience of enlightenment, they became the main object of study in Zen meditation, where their contemplation was meant to exhaust the capacity of the rational mind and the expressiveness of speech. Koan compilations, which include elegant poetic and eloquent prose commentaries on cryptic dialogues, are part of a great literary tradition in China, Japan, and Korea that appealed to intellectuals who sought spiritual fulfillment through interpreting elaborate rhetoric related to mysterious metaphysical exchanges. By focusing on two main facets of the religious themes expressed in koan records—individual religious attainment and the role dialogues play in maintaining order in the monastic system—Zen Koans reveals the distinct yet interlocking levels of meaning reflected in different koan case records and helps make sense of the seemingly nonsensical.
Experiencing Wild Western Places
Although spare, sweeping landscapes may appear “empty,” plains and prairies afford a rich, unique aesthetic experience—one of quiet sunrises and dramatic storms, hidden treasures and abundant wildlife, infinite horizons and omnipresent wind, all worthy of contemplation and celebration. In this series of narratives, photographs, and hand-drawn maps, Tyra Olstad blends scholarly research with first-hand observation to explore topics such as wildness and wilderness, travel and tourism, preservation and conservation, expectations and acceptance, and even dreams and reality in the context of parks, prairies, and wild, open places. In so doing, she invites readers to reconsider the meaning of “emptiness” and ask larger, deeper questions such as: how do people experience the world? How do we shape places and how do places shape us? Above all, what does it mean to experience that exhilarating effect known as Zen of the plains?
A poet-priest of the late Edo period, Ryokan (1758-1831) was the most important Japanese poet of his age. This volume contains not only the largest English translation yet made of his principal poems, but also an introduction that sets the poetry in its historical and literary context and a biographical sketch of the poet himself.
Originally published in 1981.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Japan's Tokeiji Convent Since 1285
Zen Sanctuary of Purple Robes examines the affairs of Rinzai Zen’s Toµkeiji Convent, founded in 1285 by nun Kakusan Shidoµ after the death of her husband, Hoµjoµ Tokimune. It traces the convent’s history through seven centuries, including the early nuns’ Zen practice; Abbess Yoµdoµ’s imperial lineage with nuns in purple robes; Hideyori’s seven-year-old daughter—later to become the convent’s twentieth abbess, Tenshuµ—spared by Tokugawa Ieyasu at the Battle for Osaka Castle; Toµkeiji as “divorce temple” during the mid-Edo period and a favorite topic of senryuµ satirical verse; the convent’s gradual decline as a functioning nunnery but its continued survival during the early Meiji persecution of Buddhism; and its current prosperity. The work includes translations, charts, illustrations, bibliographies, and indices. Beyond such historical details, the authors emphasize the convent’s “inclusivist” Rinzai Zen practice in tandem with the nearby Engakuji Temple. The rationale for this “inclusivism” is the continuing acceptance of the doctrine of “Skillful Means” (hoµben) as expressed in the Lotus Sutra—a notion repudiated or radically reinterpreted by most of the Kamakura reformers. In support of this contention, the authors include a complete translation of the Mirror for Women by Kakusan’s contemporary, Mujū Ichien.
The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice
Zen Sand is a classic collection of verses aimed at aiding practitioners of kôan meditation to negotiate the difficult relationship between insight and language. As such it represents a major contribution to both Western Zen practice and English-language Zen scholarship. In Japan the traditional Rinzai Zen kôan curriculum includes the use of jakugo, or "capping phrases." Once a monk has successfully replied to a kôan, the Zen master orders the search for a classical verse to express the monk’s insight into the kôan. Special collections of these jakugo were compiled as handbooks to aid in that search. Until now, Zen students in the West, lacking this important resource, have been severely limited in carrying out this practice. Zen Sand combines and translates two standard jakugo handbooks and opens the way for incorporating this important tradition fully into Western Zen practice. For the scholar, Zen Sand provides a detailed description of the jakugo practice and its place in the overall kôan curriculum, as well as a brief history of the Zen phrase book. This volume also contributes to the understanding of East Asian culture in a broader sense.