Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics is an essential,
all-access guide to the core texts of East Asian civilization and
culture. Essays address frequently read, foundational texts in
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese, as well as early modern
fictional classics and nonfiction works of the seventeenth century.
Building strong links between these writings and the critical
traditions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism, this volume shows
the vital role of the classics in the shaping of Asian history and
in the development of the humanities at large.
Wm. Theodore de Bary focuses on texts that have survived for
centuries, if not millennia, through avid questioning and
contestation. Recognized as perennial reflections on life and
society, these works represent diverse historical periods and
cultures and include the Analects of Confucius,
Mencius, Laozi, Xunxi, the Lotus
Sutra, Tang poetry, the Pillow Book, The Tale of
Genji, and the writings of Chikamatsu and Kaibara Ekken.
Contributors explain the core and most commonly understood aspects
of these works and how they operate within their traditions. They
trace their reach and reinvention throughout history and their
ongoing relevance in modern life.
With fresh interpretations of familiar readings, these essays
inspire renewed appreciation and examination. In the case of some
classics open to multiple interpretations, de Bary chooses two
complementary essays from different contributors. Expanding on
debates concerning the challenges of teaching classics in the
twenty-first century, several pieces speak to the value of Asia in
the core curriculum. Indispensable for early scholarship on Asia
and the evolution of global civilization, Finding Wisdom in
East Asian Classics helps one master the major texts of human
Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Philosophy, Religion
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