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Description - Essays in Idleness by Donald Keene

Written sometime between 1330 and 1332, the "Essays in Idleness" hardly mirror the turbulent times in which they were born. Despite the struggle between the Emperor Go-Daigo and the usurping Hojo family which rocked Japan during these years, the Buddhist priest Kenko found himself "with nothing better to do, jotting down at random whatever nonsensical thoughts have entered my head." The resulting essays, none of them more than a few pages in length and some consisting of but two or three sentences, treat a variety of subjects in a congenial, anecdotal style. Kenko clung to tradition, Buddhism and the pleasures of solitude, and the themes he treats are all suffused with an unspoken acceptance of Buddhist beliefs. He gives voice to a distinctively Japanese aesthetic principle: that beauty is bound to perishability.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780231112550
ISBN-10: 0231112556
Format: Paperback
(221mm x 127mm x mm)
Pages: 235
Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 15-Apr-1998
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Donald Keene

Donald Keene is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and University Professor Emeritus at Columbia University. He is the author of more than thirty books, including So Lovely a Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers; Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan; Frog in the Well: Portraits of Japan by Watanabe Kazan, 1793-1841; and Emperor of Japan: Meiji and His World, as well as a definitive multivolume history of Japanese literature.

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