Poems, Prose and the real world: Intertextual associations of waka

Thomas McAuley (University of Sheffield)
Pre-modern Literature
Torre B, Piso 2, Sala T7
Start time:
31 August, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel explores intertextuality in waka poetry and its impact and effect, through the analysis of references to Chinese tales in poetry, poems' use to create multi-layered effects in prose contexts and, use of evidence in poetry competition judgements and appeals.

Long abstract:

The extent to which intertextuality is a key feature of both the composition, interpretation and appreciation of waka poetry is well-known. Premodern Japanese poets composed their work incorporating elements from an extremely wide range of other texts: earlier Japanese poems, Chinese poems, Japanese prose texts and tales, and Chinese prose texts and tales, to name but a few. These intertextual references served to expand and develop the range of possible meanings which readers and critics could derive from individual poems and enhance their emotional impact. Simultaneously, waka themselves were used intertextually to punctuate and develop prose contexts and enable authors to add additional resonance and redolence to their work. This panel brings together three papers linked by the intertextual connections of waka with other works or material, in an exploration of how these connections enabled readers of both poetry and prose to expand their understanding of authors' intentions, increase their appreciation of both types of text, and develop more informed judgements regarding the quality - and qualities - of individual works. First, Juan provides an initial focus on how additional meanings and effects could be incorporated into individual poems through references to other works. This will be done through a consideration of the varying types of intertextual relations in kankoji waka - poems alluding to elements from Chinese tales. Second, Nakada shifts the discussion to the impact poetic references could have on prose contexts. This will be done through an examination of the utilisation of poetry in Makura no sōshi, considering the multi-layered aspects of meaning which were added to the prose of the zuihitsu by the inclusion of poems, excerpts from poems and poetic vocabulary. Finally, McAuley considers how intertextual and, to some extent, extra-textual, features played a key role in the evaluation of a poem's meaning, and in the determination of its literary value. This will be done through an analysis of the critical dialogue between Fujiwara no Shunzei, the judge, and Kenshō, one of the participants, in the Poetry Contest in 600 Rounds.