In 2005, the celebrated scholar of Japanese literature Haruo
Shirane published "Classical Japanese: A Grammar," Now, with
"Classical Japanese Reader and Essential Dictionary," he completes
his two-volume textbook for learning classical, or literary,
Japanese& mdash;the primary written language in Japan from the
seventh to the mid-twentieth century. The text contains carefully
selected readings that address a wide array of grammatical concerns
and that steadily progress from easy to difficult. The selections
encompass a wide range of historical periods and styles, including
essays, fiction, and poetry from such noted works as "The Tale of
Genji," "The Tales of Ise," "The Pillow Book," "The Tales of the
Heike," and "Essays in Idleness," and such authors as Ihara
Saikaku, Matsuo Basho, Ueda Akinari, Motoori Norinaga, and Fukuzawa
Yukichi. Each reading is accompanied by a short English
introduction, a vocabulary list, and extensive grammatical notes,
and ends with a comprehensive grammatical annotation.
The classical Japanese-English dictionary composes the last
third of the book and features approximately 2,500 key words,
highlighting those used most frequently. The first of its kind,
this volume is a vital tool for students, scholars, and translators
of classical Japanese.
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