[Buddha-l] New Publication from Columbia University Press
jkirk at spro.net
Mon Jul 24 07:28:04 MDT 2006
X-posted by Joanna K.
July 24, 2006
New Publication from Columbia University Press
From: _pl2164 at COLUMBIA.EDU_ (mailto:pl2164 at COLUMBIA.EDU)
Columbia University Press is pleased to announce the publication of
Burton Watson's new translation of The Tales of the Heike.
The Tales of the Heike
Translated by Burton Watson; Edited by Haruo Shirane
"Burton Watson is one of the premier translators of both Chinese and
Japanese literature and history. His rendering into English of selected
passages from The Tales of the Heike is a great boon for those of us in
medieval Japanese studies. The translation provides an exciting new look
at this famous tale of warrior and courtier life in late-twelfth-century
—Paul Varley, professor emeritus, Columbia University and Sen Soshitsu
XV Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii
"This new abridged translation of The Tales of the Heike is one of the
most approachable versions of this classic war tale; it retains the
sense of sweep and grandeur of the original and includes extensive and
valuable reference materials."
—H. Mack Horton, professor of East Asian languages and cultures,
University of California, Berkeley
"Watson's is... The best of the translations."
—Donald Richie, The Japan Times
The Tales of the Heike is one of the most influential works in Japanese
literature and culture, remaining even today a crucial source for
fiction, drama, and popular media. Originally written in the
mid-thirteenth century, it features a cast of vivid characters and
chronicles the epic Genpei war, a civil conflict that marked the end of
the power of the Heike and changed the course of Japanese history. The
Tales of the Heike focuses on the lives of both the samurai warriors who
fought for two powerful twelfth-century Japanese clans-the Heike (Taira)
and the Genji (Minamoto)-and the women with whom they were intimately
The Tales of the Heike provides a dramatic window onto the emerging
world of the medieval samurai and recounts in absorbing detail the chaos
of the battlefield, the intrigue of the imperial court, and the gradual
loss of a courtly tradition. The book is also highly religious and
Buddhist in its orientation, taking up such issues as impermanence,
karmic retribution, attachment, and renunciation, which dominated the
Japanese imagination in the medieval period.
In this new, abridged translation, Burton Watson offers a gripping
rendering of the work's most memorable episodes. Particular to this
translation are the introduction by Haruo Shirane, the woodblock
illustrations, a glossary of characters, and an extended bibliography.
To read an excerpt from The Tales of the Heike
About the translator
Burton Watson has taught Chinese and Japanese literature at Columbia,
Stanford, and Kyoto Universities. He is the winner of the PEN
Translation Prize and in 2005 was awarded an American Academy of Arts
and Letters Prize in literature. His translations include Chuang Tzu:
Basic Writings, Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan, and The Lotus Sutra, all
published by Columbia University Press. He lives in Tokyo, Japan.
Columbia University Press
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