East Asian Languages and Cultures | Issues in East Asian Lit: Unreal Dwellings; Houses and Huts in Japanese Culture
E201 | 28201 | Sarra, E.
This lecture/discussion course brings together several ways of
thinking about specific real and imaginary dwellings in premodern
Japanese literature and material culture (10th-18th centuries). We
take as our point of departure the idealized houses of Japanese
fiction and autobiography showcased in such works as “The Record of
the Pond Pavilion,” The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book, the
Sarashina Diary, “An Account of My Hut,” Essays in Idleness, “The
Unreal Dwelling”. Our discussions will explore the layered
significance of dwelling places in Japanese culture: their
architectural and symbolic qualities; their function as embodiments
of social power or social structures; as settings for specific kinds
of social or political relations; and as the means for relations
with what does not partake of the social (haunted houses; ruins; and
the recluse’s hut as expressive of an ideal relation to the natural
world and the value of solitude). No knowledge of Japanese is
This is an entry level course in Japanese literature and culture.
All readings will be in English. Course grade determined by active
participation in class discussions; three in-class essay tests, and
a final exam.