Ambiguous Bodies: Reading the Grotesque in Japanese Setsuwa Tales

Li, Michelle

Published by Stanford University Press, 2009
ISBN 10: 0804759758 / ISBN 13: 9780804759755
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Synopsis: Ambiguous Bodies draws from theories of the grotesque to examine many of the strange and extraordinary creatures and phenomena in the premodern Japanese tales called setsuwa. Grotesque representations in general typically direct our attention to unfinished and unrefined things; they are marked by an earthy sense of the body and an interest in the physical. Because they have many meanings, they can both sustain and undermine authority. This book aims to make sense of grotesque representations in setsuwa―animated detached body parts, unusual sexual encounters, demons and shape-shifting or otherwise wondrous animals―and, in a broader sense, to show what this type of critical focus can reveal about the mentality of Japanese people in the ancient, classical, and early medieval periods. It is the first study to place Japanese tales of this nature, which have received little critical attention in English, within a sophisticated theoretical framework. Li masterfully and rigorously focuses on these fascinating tales in the context of the historical periods in which they were created and compiled.

About the Author: Michelle Osterfeld Li is an independent scholar and a research fellow in the Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford University.

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Title: Ambiguous Bodies: Reading the Grotesque in ...
Publisher: Stanford University Press
Publication Date: 2009
Book Condition: Very Good

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Book Description Stanford University Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ambiguous Bodies draws from theories of the grotesque to examine many of the strange and extraordinary creatures and phenomena in the premodern Japanese tales called setsuwa. Grotesque representations in general typically direct our attention to unfinished and unrefined things; they are marked by an earthy sense of the body and an interest in the physical. Because they have many meanings, they can both sustain and undermine authority. This book aims to make sense of grotesque representations in setsuwa-animated detached body parts, unusual sexual encounters, demons and shape-shifting or otherwise wondrous animals-and, in a broader sense, to show what this type of critical focus can reveal about the mentality of Japanese people in the ancient, classical, and early medieval periods. It is the first study to place Japanese tales of this nature, which have received little critical attention in English, within a sophisticated theoretical framework. Li masterfully and rigorously focuses on these fascinating tales in the context of the historical periods in which they were created and compiled. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780804759755

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Book Description Stanford University Press, United States, 2009. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Ambiguous Bodies draws from theories of the grotesque to examine many of the strange and extraordinary creatures and phenomena in the premodern Japanese tales called setsuwa. Grotesque representations in general typically direct our attention to unfinished and unrefined things; they are marked by an earthy sense of the body and an interest in the physical. Because they have many meanings, they can both sustain and undermine authority. This book aims to make sense of grotesque representations in setsuwa-animated detached body parts, unusual sexual encounters, demons and shape-shifting or otherwise wondrous animals-and, in a broader sense, to show what this type of critical focus can reveal about the mentality of Japanese people in the ancient, classical, and early medieval periods. It is the first study to place Japanese tales of this nature, which have received little critical attention in English, within a sophisticated theoretical framework. Li masterfully and rigorously focuses on these fascinating tales in the context of the historical periods in which they were created and compiled. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780804759755

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