awesome nightfall

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“Saigyō’s poems are masterful mind-language challenges. Bill LaFleur’s deeply understanding translations present us with the snake-like energy of the syntax, and the illuminated world that was called out by one man’s lifetime of walking and meditation is again right here.”—Gary Snyder

AWESOME NIGHTFALL

The Life, Times, and Poetry of Saigyō

William LaFleur

Awesome Nightfall: The Life, Times, and Poetry of Saigyō captures the power of Saigyōs poetry and this previously overlooked poets keen insight into the social and political world of medieval Japan. It also offers a fascinating look into the world of Japanese Buddhism prior to the wholesale influence of Zen.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $15.95
  • ISBN 9780861713226
  • ebook
  • 192 pages
  • $11.99
  • ISBN 9780861719075
about the author
Awesome Nightfall

William R. LaFleur received his PhD from the University of Chicago, where he studied with Joseph Kitagawa and Mircea Eliade. Over the course of his career, LaFleur taught at Princeton University, UCLA, Sophia University, Tokyo, and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the E. Dale Saunders Professor of Japanese Studies. In addition to his work on Buddhist cosmology and the “mind” of medieval Japan, he was a gifted translator and interpreter of poetry and published two volumes on the medieval monk-poet Saigyō. He was deeply interested in Zen, especially as a resource for contemporary thought. He wrote and edited several books and essays, introducing to Western readers the work of the thirteenth-century Zen master Dōgen, the Kyoto-school figure Masao Abé, and the twentieth-century philosopher and cultural historian Watsuji Tetsurō. In 1989, he became the first non-Japanese to win the Watsuji Tetsurō Cultural Prize. In his later career, while continuing to study medieval Japanese religion and literature, he produced pioneering studies of Japanese bioethics, highlighting contrasts with Western approaches to such issues as abortion, organ transplants, and medical definitions of death. Altogether, he wrote or edited nine books. He passed away in 2010.

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