While saikaku was perfecting a new kind of prose

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Unformatted text preview: n ingenuity and resourcefulness, engaging in a variety of occupations, including those of dancer, parlor maid, seamstress, and calligraphy teacher, as well as courtesan and, finally, common streetwalker. After noting that as a girl she had become intoxicated with love (of the sort she observed being practiced at court) and had come to regard it as the most important thing in life, she recounts her first affair at the tender age of twelve: There is naught in this world so strange as love. The several men who had set their affections on me were both fashionable and handsome; yet none of them aroused any tender feelings in me. Now, there was a humble warrior in the service of a certain courtier. The fellow was low in rank and of a type that most women would regard askance. Yet from the first letter that he wrote me his sentences were charged with a passion powerful enough to slay one. In note after note he set forth his ardent feelings, until, without realizing it, I myself began to be troubled in my heart. It was hard for us to meet, but with some cunning I managed to arrange a tryst and thus it was that I gave my body to him. Our amour was bound to become the gossip of the court and one dawn it “emerged into the light.” In punishment I was banished to the neighborhood of Uji Bridge. My love, most grievous to relate, was put to death. For some days thereafter, as I lay tossing on my bed, half asleep, half awake, his silent form would appear terrifyingly before me. In my agony I thought that I must needs take my own life; yet, after some days had passed, I completely forgot about him. From this one may truly judge that nothing in this world is as base and fickle as a woman’s heart.17 The years take their toll, and in the end the “Amorous Woman,” old and destitute, ventures forth yet again in the dark of night with the forlorn hope of attracting unwary customers: In these days people have become so canny that, though it be only a matter of ten coppers, they exercise more care in their choice of a harlot from the streets than does a rich man i...
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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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