Matsuo Basho

Matsuo Basho - "The Narrow Road of Oku";...

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“The Narrow Road of Oku”; “the Unreal Dwelling” and “Haiku by Bashō and his school” - Matuo Bashō (1644-1694); born in Iga province (today’s Igaueno in Mie prefecture) and pursued a career as a samurai but renounced this career after his lord’s death; he began to devote himself to writing haiku in Edo (today’s Tokyo). - Bashō regarded himself as a kind of hermit, ascetic, floating weeds in the contemporary society, bohemian etc. - Form of haiku: 5-7-5 (originally called hokku , an initiating verse, which can be followed by 7-7); 5-7-5 became a condensed form culminated by Bashō’s aesthetics of simplicity and primitivism. - Bashō’s itinerary: See the map at < http://www.tclt.org.uk/basho_map.htm > ; he traveled 156 days in the northern provinces in Japan; his trip was a pilgrimage to the sites important to literary, religious, and military history of Japan ( topos/topoi ).
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- Bashō’s poetics of sabi (etymologically “rust”): According to Ueda Makoto, sabi signifies the aesthetics of “objective, non- emotional loneliness” that emanates from nature or topoi . Bashō conceived loneliness as “impersonal atmosphere, in contrast with grief or sorrow” and emotional life as “demoniac world of the lusts.” Then, “dissolution of personal emotion into an impersonal atmosphere constitutes the core of Bashō’s attitude toward life.” (“Bashō on the Art of Haiku” 154-156). - Bashō’s last poem: M MM M MM M MM M M H : On travel I am sick / My dream runs around / fields of withered grasses - A recommended reading from: <http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/2008-02/bashos-trail/ norman-text.html> “Basho’s Trail” from National Geographic Magazine Travels along the path of Matsuo Basho, Japan’s 17th-century
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haiku master, help bring his words to life.   “Each day is a journey, and the journey itself home,” the poet Matsuo Basho wrote more than 300 years ago in the first entry of his masterpiece, Oku no Hosomichi, or Narrow Road to a Far Province. The words are on my mind as I prepare to walk in the footsteps of this revered poet, along his narrow road —the 1,200-mile route he followed through Japan in 1689. I confess that even to imagine doing so is a bit daunting. My late friend Helen Tanizaki, a linguist born and raised in Kyoto, told me, “Everyone I went to school with could recite at least one of Basho’s poems by heart. He was the first writer we read in any exciting or serious way.” Today thousands of people pilgrimage to
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Matsuo Basho - &quot;The Narrow Road of Oku&quot;;...

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