The Middle Ages: They were dirty and impoverished and disease-ridden and full of such infamous events as the Black Death and the Crusades. At least, that generalization is what you might hear if your education is mostly focused on Europe. In other parts of the world, those years were another story altogether. Today's episode looks at the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, a lady-in-waiting to an empress, and what we can glean from it about the Heian period (794-1185) in Japan.
Our listener mail is kind of special today. I'm not naming any names.
Just for funsies, here's an episode of the historical romance anime "Utakoi" about Sei Shonagon.
For more knowledge: How Geisha Work
Episode link: Sei Shonagon and the Heian Court
- "Nara period." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/403360/Nara-period
- "Sei Sh?nagon." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2013. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/532788/Sei-Shonagon
- Bedford St. Martin's. "Sei Shonagon (c. 966-1017)." World Literature Online. http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/worldlit/content.asp?b=2&c=litlinks&r=Japan&i=shonagon
- Department of Asian Art. "Heian Period (794-1185)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/heia/hd_heia.htm
- Fukumori, Naomi. "Sei Shônagon's Makura no sôshi: A Re-Visionary History." The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese, Vol. 31, No. 1. (Apr., 1997). http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/489680?uid=3739616&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21102959613633
- Greer, David. "The Lists of a Lady-in-waiting." Kyoto Journal. No. 45. 2000. http://www.kyotojournal.org/kjselections/kjshonagon.html
- Morris, Ivan, ed. "The Pillow Book of Sei Shongon." Columbia University Press. 1991.
- Weiss, Penny. "Sei Shônagon and the Politics of Form." The Journal of Political Philosophy: Volume 16, Number 1, 2008.
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