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Ivan I. Morris (1925–1976)

Teoksen The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan tekijä

16+ teosta 1,055 jäsentä 29 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää myös: Ivan Morris (1)

Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (1002) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset2,742 kappaletta
Kultainen temppeli (1956) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset2,405 kappaletta
Death in Midsummer and Other Stories (1966) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset869 kappaletta
Keisarinnan hovineidon päiväkirja (1058) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset482 kappaletta
Tulia tasangolla : romaani (1957) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset363 kappaletta
Modern Japanese Literature: From 1868 to the Present Day (1956) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset288 kappaletta
The Life of an Amorous Woman and Other Writings (1686) — Kääntäjä — 172 kappaletta
The samurai (1970) — Tekijä — 55 kappaletta
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon (The Penguin classics) (1967) — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset43 kappaletta
Thought and Behavior in Modern Japanese Politics (1963) — Toimittaja, eräät painokset22 kappaletta
Youth and Other Stories (Shaps Library of Translations) (1994) — Kääntäjä — 15 kappaletta
THE PILLOW BOOK OF SEI SHONAGAN: VOLUME I. — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset11 kappaletta
The Priest of Shiga Temple and His Love — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset1 kappale
Swaddling Clothes — Kääntäjä, eräät painokset1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla


Virallinen nimi
Morris, Ivan Ira Esme
London, England, UK
Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Harvard University
University of London (PhD - School of Oriental and African Studies)
university teacher
Morris, Ira Victor (father)
Morris, Edita (mother)
Amnesty International USA
Columbia University
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Ivan Morris was born in London to Ira Victor Morris and Edita Morris. He began his study of Japanese language and culture at Harvard University, where he received a BA. He received a doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He wrote widely on modern and ancient Japan and translated numerous classical and modern literary works. Ivan Morris was one of the first interpreters sent into Hiroshima after the explosion of the atom bomb.

Dr Morris served on the faculty of Columbia University from 1960 to 1973 and was chairman of Columbia's Department of East Asian languages and Cultures from 1966 to 1969. In 1966 he was elected a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford. He was one of the founders of Amnesty International USA and was the first chair of its Board of Directors from 1973 to 1976. He was one of Friends with Yukio Mishima.

Ivan Morris died in Bologna, Italy, on 19 July 1976.



This was a fascinating and fun little book about Japan's cultural high point in history: the Heian period. Not much is known about this era (or really any civilization from the 10th century), but Morris does a great job of spinning together what he's been able to gleam both from factual sources as well as fictional ones into a somewhat cohesive vision of what the era would have been like.

Morris's biggest source is Murasaki Shikibu's epic novel The Tale of Genji. While it is a fictional representation of the royal court, Murasaki painstakingly uses it to record the lives she observes. He freely admits that, as a result, his research only covers the upper echelons of society, but that's nothing new when it comes to studies like this. That said, Morris does a fantastic job of building up the society around Murasaki's novel. He covers the way Japan closed itself off from the outside world and how that isolation yet adoration of T'ang culture informed every aspect of their society. He paints a picture of the government structure, the religion, the festivals that ruled everyone's days, and the daily lives of the rich and powerful (or just the rich). While the picture is incomplete, it doesn't feel lacking.

Aside from setting up the Heian world for the reader, Morris spends a lot of time delving into the relationships of the people living at this time. After all, relationships were one of the defining things of this era of extreme leisure for the wealthy, and it's one Murasaki herself fixates on in her masterpiece, as well as her contemporaries. The Heian era is certainly unique in that romance is inextricably linked to relationships but in a performative sense rather than an emotional one. The position of men and women is ultra limiting for everyone unless you're the Fujiwara clan member in charge. It's as captivating as it is sad. I don't blame everyone for moping around and writing depressed poetry all the time.

The only odd thing about this book was the introduction, which I would recommend skipping. The majority of it was excusing Morris's behavior and "salvaging" his image. Now, I'm just a regular person. I'm not in academic circles, let alone Medieval Japanese circles. I didn't realize Morris was a problematic figure who needed his image to be cleaned up, and now that I've read this book, I still don't think there's anything alarming. His book was approachable. His arguments made sense, and I didn't get an overwhelming sense of racism, xenophobia, or sexism from the text. There might have been a couple small instances, but the introduction made it seem like his was some horribly outdated viewpoint that needed an apology, so I was expecting some pretty outlandish notions; yet, I didn't get that. I still rated this book 5 stars because I felt Morris did a fantastic job, and I don't think it's fair to rate a book based on what other people wrote in the introduction.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
readerbug2 | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 16, 2023 |
If anyone needs a brief introduction to Japanese literature, this is a good place to start.

This anthology series focuses mainly on Japan's post-war literary period, featuring authors such as Dazai Osamu, Tanizaki Junichiro and Yukio Mishima (I borrowed this book because of Mr Mishima but I found lots of good authors in here too :-) )
Merkitty asiattomaksi
georgeybataille | 1 muu arvostelu | Jun 1, 2021 |
This was one of the 2 favourite books of my grandmother’s childhood friend, Luisa, who taught Chinese and Japanese for a living. She gave me this book as a present when I was a teenager, and up to the last years of her life she always spoke about this book. I would never have read this book if it were not for her. This was the second time I read it, and once again I could not put it down. The writer does a wonderful job at making this book engaging and interesting, with a coherent analysis of a society that was very different from our own. I learned so many fascinating things reading this book.… (lisätietoja)
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Clarissa_ | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 11, 2021 |
There are lots of positive reviews of this on GR, so allow me to present the view for the prosecution. Morris's book is occasionally interesting, but there's very little here that you can't get better from reading the introductions and notes to the various Heian diaries, as well as the diaries themselves. Shining Prince is also a real period piece. It was first published in 1964, and reads like it was first published in some mythical 1954 when White People (other than Ivan Morris, of course) thought The Nips were all Emperor crazed psychopaths just waiting to Kamikaze down from the skies. If you think that, this book will be a very useful corrective. If you have a minimal understanding of history, however, you don't need to read this book. And oddly, if you don't have a minimal understanding of history, this book will be infuriating, because Morris feels obliged to explain the Heian period by comparing it to specific moments in European history. Was this like the Sun King? Yes and no. Was it like this German Emperor's court? Not really. Was it like the Medici?

Don't even get me started on the division he makes between "religion" and "superstition," which would be foreign to the entirety of the world's population outside protestant modernity.

None of this is really Morris' fault; he was writing for a specific audience. The educated layman (definitely 'man') of his time probably knew all about the Medici, and probably knew nothing about Japan. I suspect the educated layperson of our time is more likely to know about Japan than to have the kind of knowledge of European history needed to made all the analogies comprehensible.

Anyway, to restate: if you want to prepare yourself for Genji, which was my purpose in reading this book, you're better off reading the diaries in any responsible edition. Then cherry pick here. The chapters on religion (and "superstition") aren't bad, that on the cult of beauty is worth reading, and the chapter on the emperors might be worth looking at. Everything else you can get elsewhere without the 1950s baggage (again, I'm not accusing Morris of being racist or anything; the problem is that the audience he was writing to doesn't really exist anymore, and if it does, it shouldn't).
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
stillatim | 12 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 23, 2020 |



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