Center for Global Studies

View Full Calendar

Medieval Studies Colloquium | Gian Piero Persiani "Readers, Recipients, and Fans of Poetry in Tenth-Century, Courtly Japan"

Event Type
Hosted by: Program in Medieval Studies; Co-sponsored by CEAPS and EALC
Lucy Ellis Lounge - 1080 Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Building (707 S. Mathews Ave.)
Mar 20, 2024   5:00 - 6:30 pm  
Gian Piero Persiani (Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures, UIUC)
Originating Calendar
CEAPS Events Calendar

The talk introduces the recipients, readers, and lovers of poetry in tenth-century, courtly Japan. Heian aristocrats were passionately, even obsessively interested in waka, the vernacular poetic form in thirty-one syllables. One need only glance at one of the great works of Heian vernacular literature, from Sei Shōnagon’s Pillow Book to Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji, to see for oneself the level of interest that this genre of short poetry was able to attract. Why this intense societal interest in poetry? What needs, if any, did poetry answer? And how did ancient ways of experiencing poetry differ from modern ones? The talk will answer these questions drawing on sources such as court diaries, poem-tales, the records of poetry contests, and narrative fiction. Far from merely providing aesthetic delight, poetry was a form of daily communication, a marker of sophistication, and even a lens through which to view and make sense of one’s life. 

link for robots only