Abstract

Abstract:

In 993 or 998, Kamo no Yasunori no Musume (Daughter of Kamo no Yasunori) compiled a sequence of some 240 poems, along with a prose preface and chōka (long poem) that echoes many of the same points. Her sequence is one of a number of long sequences of poems accompanied by prose prefaces composed by poets from the 960s; her is the first or second by a woman. In her preface, Musume deploys what had been a male discourse of complaint about career dissatisfaction to address her plight as a woman confined to her natal home, her life suspended. Musume's text shares qualities with other Heian women's writings, and what besides a successful relationship would have fulfilled her is not fully articulated, for no model was available to her. Unique to her text, however, is an examination of broader inequalities in her society, which implicitly reflect her own plight. The common thread that unites much of her thinking is the insight that some lives are thwarted owing to circumstances beyond a person's control.

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