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Tales of Times Now Past: Sixty-Two Stories from a Medieval Japanese Collection

Marian Ury (trans. & intro.)

29 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0520038649 / ISBN 13: 9780520038646
Published by University of California Press, 1979
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Charles Berry, Bookseller (Middletown, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing (complete number line) hardcover SIGNED BY MARIAN URY, in excellent condition (slightest handling), with VG dust jacket (price-clipped, slightest wear, 1cm edge tear--protected by a clear, removeable cover). 199 pages. [15oz]. Bookseller Inventory # 59060

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Tales of Times Now Past: Sixty-Two Stories ...

Publisher: University of California Press

Publication Date: 1979

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title


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 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", representing a masculine outlook and comparatively plebeian social orientation, stands 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.

Language Notes:

Text: English, Japanese (translation)

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I operated a used bookstore in Davis, California, from 1985-1992 (Berry's Books), then moved to Mendocino, and have been selling used books on the internet since 1998. Middletown CA is my new home, and the air here is ideal for book preservation (low humidity). I am a jack of all trades, master of none, which lends itself well to the book trade. I currently have 19,000 books online in 160 different subject categories. The inventory is regularly updated online, so if you see it listed, there is a 99+% chance that I can mail it by the next business day.

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