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The Life of an Amorous Woman and Other Writings
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The Life of an Amorous Woman and Other Writings

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  7 reviews
[From back.]
One of the great writers of Japan, Ihara Saikaku (1623-93) wrote of the lowest class in the Tokugawa world — the townsmen who were rising in wealth and power but not in official status. The title story in this collection of 12 works, told by an aging beauty whose highly erotic nature is her constant undoing, ranges over all of 17th-century Japanese life. The na
Paperback, 402 pages
Published January 17th 1969 by New Directions (first published January 1st 1967)
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Robert Sheppard

The word "libertine' entered the English language not as a sexual term but as a by-product of the wars of religion between Protestants and Catholics in Sixteenth Century Europe, being
Nov 10, 2008 Steebu rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Japanophiles
A classic piece of literature by one of the titans--along with Chikamatsu Monzaemon and Matsuo Basho--of the explosion of popular fiction in the Genroku period (1688-1704). Morris's translation is pretty good too.
This version is NOT the complete novel. It's a selection of chapters. I don't think the entire novel has been translated and made available in one book.

The Life of an Amorous Woman is a picaresque tour of the seamier side of Japan. The unnamed heroine begins as a daughter of the aristocracy, a palace attendant whose hot blood draws her into an illicit affair with another attendant when she's only 11 or 12 years old. That goes south in the worst way, and the heroine barely escapes with her life.
Acknowledged also as moral tales, this 4-part paperback translated by Ivan Morris is interesting and literary-oriented as notified by a line of capital letters above its title, that is, UNESCO COLLECTION OF REPRESENTATIVE LITERARY WORKS. Therefore, I thought this book was not a plain one since we'd read its collection of 12 works (?) written by one of the great fiction writers of Japan on the lowest class in the Tokugawa period (back cover). In fact, this paperback title at the cover came from P ...more
Reading this magnificent (albeit mildly wearisome and befuddling beyond comparison) collection of prose is an adventure in and of itself. A corroboration of the birth of prose writing in Japan, Ihara's nearly four hundred-year-old stories lack structure as defined by today's standards-a facet that brings each chapter to life. In addition, unlike it's non-prose literary counterparts of that time, "The Life of an Amorous Woman..." touches upon social life and that of the individual within it. It i ...more
barely remember this, but it was good.

the "amorous woman" (or what we scientific moderns would just call a n-mpho), finds herself degenerating further and further in society due to her insatiable lust. but, if I recall correctly, there were always moments of redemption.

since it was read years ago, I won't goodreads update it.
Alexia Nachios
v. funny 10/10 would read again
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Ihara Saikaku (井原 西鶴) was a Japanese poet and creator of the "floating world" genre of Japanese prose (ukiyo-zōshi).

Born the son of the wealthy merchant Hirayama Tōgo (平山藤五) in Osaka, he first studied haikai poetry under Matsunaga Teitoku, and later studied under Nishiyama Sōin of the Danrin School of poetry, which emphasized comic linked verse. Scholars have described numerous extraordinary feats
More about Saikaku Ihara...
Five Women Who Loved Love: Amorous Tales from 17th-Century Japan The Great Mirror of Male Love The Life of an Amorous Man This Scheming World Comrade Loves of the Samurai

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“A guardar bene le cose del mondo, si scopre che la più grande sventura che possa colpire una donna è l'impotenza del suo uomo” 1 likes
“Ahora pienso con nostalgia en lo extrañas que son las reglas del amor. Varios hombres apuestos se enamoraron de mí. No obstante, ninguno de mis amigos logró conmover mis sentimientos. Y en cambio, un mocoso de baja condición, que pertenecía a la casa de cierto noble y que debería haberme disgustado, empleaba un estilo que, desde su primera carta, me habría empujado a sacrificar mi vida por él. Me escribía a menudo y quedé completamente seducida. Un buen día empecé a amarle y se acabó mi tranquilidad".” 1 likes
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