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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aki No Yo No Naga-Monogatari : a lengthy story for a long autumn night Sawada, Shikyo


Aki no yo no naga-monogatari (A Lengthy Story for a Long Autumn Night). an anonymous work of the Middle Ages, has been considered one of the earliest and finest examples of those chigo monogatari (child stories) which have a homosexual relationship as their main theme. The popularity of numerous plays traditionally believed to be derived from Aki no jo no naga-monogatari as well as the appeal of its homosexual theme has motivated many authors to write commentaries on it, and the tale has even come to be associated with a popular legend. It is certain that Aki no yo no naga-monogatari was extremely familiar to authors of the Tokugawa period, by whom it was much appreciated. Aki no yo no naga-monogatari is a valuable subject for literary scholarship primarily because it combines several techniques found in different genres. The amalgamation of Heian fiction, medieval war story, and Buddhist narrative created a unique type of literary work. In addition, the fairy tale, which became most popular during the Edo period, is prefigured in Aki no yo no naga-monogatari. In this respect, the tale stands apart from other literary works of the Middle Ages. In spite of the fact that many such works have been translated into English, Aki no yo no naga-monogatari and other similar stories have yet to be introduced to Western readers. The introductory portion of this thesis outlines social conditions of the period during which Akl no yo no naga-monogatari was written. The historical background of the hero and details of the religious conflict which comes to light in the tale are given. In chapter two the diverse techniques employed by the author are discussed along with problems of genre classification. Lastly, works associated with Aki no yo no naga-monogatari are treated. The information in the introduction should enable the reader to achieve a better understanding and deeper appreciation of Aki no yo naga-monogatari. My translation is based on the text in Nihon koten bungaku taikei. This is taken from the oldest existing manuscript of Aki no yo no naga-monogatari. For those interested in reading the work in Japanese, this text is the easiest to obtain. I have translated the text as literally as possible throughout, except where interpretation was absolutely necessary to make the meaning clear. I hope that this translation will encourage others to study tales like Aki no yo no naga-monogatari, because they are an important link between Heian literature and the popular literature of the Edo period.

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