Although he and other ukiyo e artists continued to do

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Unformatted text preview: rass is green again.” These lines went through my head as I sat on the ground, my bamboo hat spread under me. There I sat weeping, unaware of the passage of time. Natsugusa ya Tsuwamono domo ga Yume no ato The summer grasses— Of brave soldiers’ dreams The aftermath. In the domain of Yamagata is a mountain temple called the Ryûshaku, a place noted for its tranquility. People had urged us “just to take a look,” and we had turned back at Obanasawa to make the journey, a distance of about fifteen miles. It was still daylight when we arrived. After asking a priest at the foot of the mountain for permission to spend the night, we climbed to the temple at the summit. Boulders piled on rocks had made this mountain, and old pines and cedars grew on its slopes. The earth and stones were worn and slippery with moss. At the summit the doors of the hall were all shut, and not a sound could be heard. Circling around the cliffs and crawling among the rocks we reached the main temple. In the splendor of the scene and the silence I felt a wonderful peace penetrate my heart. Shizakasa ya Iwa ni shimiiru Semi no koe Such stillness— The cries of the cicadas Sink into the rocks.22 Perhaps Bashò’s true greatness lay in the fact that, at a time when other Japanese poets (i.e., of the Danrin school) were recklessly rejecting the poetic traditions of the past in the pursuit of artistic freedom and The Flourishing of a Bourgeois Culture 197 modernity, he sought to bring together the old and the new. His inquiry into Zen brought him into communion with the very essence of the aesthetic spirit of medieval culture. At the same time, as a former member of the Danrin movement, he was fully liberated from the restraining conventions of medieval poetry and was very much a part of the great haikai-haiku movement of the seventeenth century, which accompanied and was made possible by the economic and cultural, if not political, burgeoning of the townsman class. He was thus as much a Genroku man as either Saikaku or Chikamatsu. But to a far great...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at The University of British Columbia.

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