[Buddha-l] New Publication from Columbia University Press

jkirk 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.

Philip Leventhal
Columbia University Press

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