on japanese literature and other thingsJ KEITH VINCENT
Kokoro and the Cat
I saw an incredible production of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” last night at the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown.
A Sable Figure
In my Proust reading group we are reading the translation by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and I’m so glad.
Why Read Anything Else?
I saw the Argentinian director Maria Alvarez’s film “Le Temps Perdu,” about a Proust reading group in Buenos Aires, at Film Forum in New York. It was wonderful, although I napped a little.
Lydia Davis says that while translating the first volume of Proust she began to notice "how he was incorporating alexandrines into his sentences or building parallel structures, with liberal use of assonance and alliteration..." As a result, "...a single sentence...
The End of the Budding Grove
We finished Proust Volume Two. We all laughed out loud when Marcel tried to kiss Albertine, his head swelled to contain the whole universe and then some. We loved the faces changing over time, successions of selves, faces viewed by other selves, how the girls are the...
Grains of Sand
I went for a long walk yesterday and when I got back a very heavy box was sitting at the foot of our mailbox. I assumed it must be for Anthony. Some new rocks for his aquarium? But then I saw the label from Yaguchi Shoten, a used bookstore in Tokyo’s Jinbochō district, and realized it was the gorgeous new encyclopedia of haiku seasonal words, called a “saijiki” in Japanese, that I had ordered and was anxiously awaiting.
the loofah gourd blooms while he chokes to death on phlegm a buddha Hechima saite / tan no tsumarishi / hotoke kana 糸瓜咲て痰のつまりし仏かな This is one of three poems which Masaoka Shiki scrawled on sheets of paper he used for painting just before he died at around 2 in...
A Wreath of Cloud
My copy of Arthur Waley’s translation of the Tale of Genji is the single-volume Modern Library Edition from 1960 and it’s falling apart. I’m teaching it this semester so I was poking around on abebooks.com the other day looking for a used copy in better shape. Waley’s...
The first page of Shiki's "Rhyme Finder," beginning with words that end in "a."Anthony and I drove to Boston last week so he could check on a construction project. I brought back a carload of books that I’ll need for teaching in the spring and picked up a semester’s...
In January of 1685, Matsuo Bashō had been on the road since August. He was staying with his disciple Hayashi Tōyō in Atsuta just south of Nagoya when one evening the two men, together with two other local poets, decided to take a boating trip “to see the water in...