In this Book

summary
Tales of Times Now Past is a translation of 62 outstanding tales freshly selected from Konjaku monogatari shu, a Japanese anthology dating from the early twelfth century. The original work, unique in world literature, contains more than one thousand systematically arranged tales from India, China, and Japan. It is the most important example of a genre of collections of brief tales which, because of their informality and unpretentious style, were neglected by Japanese critics until recent years but which are now acknowledged to be among the most significant prose literature of premodern Japan. “Konjaku” in particular has aroused the enthusiasm of such leading 20th-century writers as Akutagawa Ryunosuke and Tanizaki Jun’ichiro.
The stories, with sources in both traditional lore and contemporary gossip, cover an astonishing range—homiletic, sentimental, terrifying, practical-minded, humorous, ribald. Their topics include the life of the Buddha, descriptions of Heaven and Hell, feats of warriors, craftsmen, and musicians, unsuspected vice, virtue, and ingenuity, and the ways and wiles of bandits, ogres, and proverbially greedy provincial governors, to name just a few. Composed perhaps a century after the refined, allusive, aristocratic Tale of Genji, Konjaku represents a masculine outlook and comparatively plebeian social orientation, standing in piquant contrast to the earlier masterpiece. The unknown compiler was interested less in exploring psychological subtleties than in presenting vivid portraits of human foibles and eccentricities. The stories in the present selection have been chosen to provide an idea of the scope and structure of the book as a whole, and also for their appeal to the modern reader. And the translation is based on the premise that the most faithful rendering is also the liveliest.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Series Page
  2. pp. i-ii
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. iv
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  1. Dedication
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xiii-xiv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-23
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  1. Select Bibliography
  2. pp. 24-26
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  1. Konjaku Monogatari Shū
  2. pp. 27-28
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  1. Part One Tales of India
  2. p. 29
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  1. 1. How Śākyamuni Tathāgata Came To Dwell In The World Of Men
  2. pp. 30-38
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  1. 2. About The Death Of The Buddha’s Father, King Śuddhodana
  2. pp. 39-41
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  1. 3. About King Prasenajit’s Daughter Ugly Adamantina
  2. pp. 42-45
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  1. 4. How Bodhidharma Of India Went To This Place And That Observing The Devotions Of The Monks
  2. pp. 46-53
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  1. 5. How A King Went Into The Mountains To Hunt Deer And Was Robbed Of His Daughter By A Lion
  2. pp. 54-58
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  1. Part Two Tales of China
  2. p. 59
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  1. 6. How A Novice Of The K’ung-kuan Ssu In China Viewed The Lotus-matrix World And Returned To Life
  2. pp. 60-63
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  1. 7. How A Nun Of Ho-tung In China Chanted The Lotus Sutra And How The Text She Read From Was Altered
  2. pp. 64-65
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  1. 9. How Someone In Lu-chou Killed A Neighbor And Was Not Punished
  2. pp. 66-70
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  1. 10. How Shih-huang Of Ch’in Governed From His Palace At Hsien-yang
  2. pp. 71-80
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  1. Part Three Tales of Buddhism in Japan
  2. p. 81
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  1. 11. How E No Ubasoku Recited Spells And Employed Demonic Deities
  2. pp. 82-86
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  1. 12. How A Government Clerk Of Higo Province Escaped A Rakshasa
  2. pp. 87-89
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  1. 13. How The Sutra Chanter Shunchō Exhibited The Lotus Sutra’s Efficacy
  2. pp. 90-92
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  1. 14. How A Monk Of The Dōjōji In The Province Of Kii Copied The Lotus Sutra And Brought Salvation To Serpents
  2. pp. 93-98
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  1. 15. How A Priest Of Chinzei Who Ate Carrion Was Reborn In Paradise
  2. pp. 99-101
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  1. 16. How Kaya No Yoshifuji, Of Bitchū Province, Became The Husband Of A Fox And Was Saved By Kannon
  2. pp. 102-113
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  1. 17. About A Monk Who Prayed To Meet A Manifestation Of The Bodhisattva Jizō
  2. pp. 114-120
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  1. 19. How A Falconer In The Western Part Of The Capital Renounced Secular Life Because Of A Dream
  2. pp. 121-126
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  1. 20. How Shinkai, A Monk Of Mount Hiei, Suffered Retribution In This Present Life For Jealousy
  2. pp. 127-132
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  1. Part Four Secular Tales of Japan
  2. p. 133
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  1. 22. How Great Minister Tokihira Got Major Counselor Kunitsune’s Wife
  2. pp. 134-138
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  1. 23. How Taira No Munetsune, Lieutenant Of The Left Division Of The Outer Palace Guards, Escorted High Priest Myōson
  2. pp. 139-141
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  1. 24. How Prince Kaya Made A Doll And Set It Up In The Ricefields
  2. pp. 142-149
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  1. 25. How Fujiwara No Chikataka’s Son Was Taken Hostage By A Robber And Freed Through Yorinobu’s Persuasion
  2. pp. 150-152
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  1. 26. How Men Of Kaga Province Who Went To An Island Where A Snake Was Warring With A Centipede Aided The Snake And Settled In The Island
  2. pp. 153-160
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  1. 27. How A Woman Who Was Bearing A Child Went To South Yamashina, Encountered An Oni, And Escaped
  2. pp. 161-171
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  1. 28. How Tamemori, The Governor Of Echizen, Subdued The Junior Officers Of The Six Companies Of The Guards
  2. pp. 172-182
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  1. 29. How A Thief Climbed To The Upper Story Of Rashō Gate And Saw A Corpse
  2. pp. 183-191
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  1. 30. How A Poor Man Left His Wife And How She Became The Wife Of The Governor Of Settsu
  2. pp. 192-194
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  1. 31. How The Minor Controller Of The Right Moroie No Ason Encountered A Woman And Died
  2. pp. 195-200
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780472902118
Related ISBN
9780939512614
MARC Record
OCLC
1184508577
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-01
Language
English
Open Access
Yes
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