Download A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji by Doris G. Bargen PDF

By Doris G. Bargen

During this refined and hugely unique interpreting of Murasaki Shikibu's eleventh-century vintage the story of Genji (Genji monogatari), Doris G. Bargen explores the function of owning spirits (mono no ke) from a feminine standpoint. in numerous key episodes of the Genji, Heian noblewomen (or their mediums) tremble, converse in unusual voices, and tear their hair and garments whereas less than the spell of mono no ke. For literary critics, Genji, the male protagonist, is imperative to making a choice on the position of those spirits. From this male-centered viewpoint, woman jealousy offers a handy reason behind the emergence of mono no ke in the polygynous marital method of the Heian aristocracy. but this traditional view fails take into consideration the work's woman authorship and its principally girl viewers. depending upon anthropological in addition to literary facts, Doris G. Bargen foregrounds the explanations of the possessed personality and found mono no ke in the politics of Heian society, studying spirit ownership as a feminine method followed to counter male ideas of empowerment. Possessions turn into "performances" through girls trying to redress the stability of energy; they subtly subvert the constitution of domination and considerably modify the development of gender.

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Additional resources for A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji

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This was normal in the period and represents one of the many anomalies of Heian religious-superstitious practice. Shamanism and the idea of possession by evil spirits formed no part of Buddhist doctrine; and, if logic played any role, we Enter mono no ke 19 should expect Shintoist priests to officiate on occasions of this kind. . 88 The dismissive description of spirit possession as “superstition,” which pervades Morris’ pioneer study, is outdated. 89 The important point is that Shinto and Buddhist beliefs and practices combined in a way that made spirit possession a familiar phenomenon in Murasaki Shikibu’s Japan.

As artists lost the ability to work directly from the text, their slavish adherence to manuals meant that “the central iconographic program . . ”124 Nonetheless, nagging questions about how to represent in picture the elusive mono no ke of Murasaki Shikibu’s text were occasionally transformed into new artistic challenges. Could the visual arts make visible the invisible, just as the Genji monogatari succeeded in expressing the unspeakable? Yûgao To understand the meaning of mono no ke in the Genji monogatari it is important to recognize that readers have been influenced by artistic conceptions of mono no ke scenes.

If we rephrase the question in terms favored in Heian times, is the mono reality or dream? To these questions there are no simple answers. Possessing spirits, whether they appear in fictional or in historical narratives, can be “real” in the sense of an actual presence, natural or supernatural, external to the possessed character. 38–39). The ontological differences, reflected in the beliefs of the fictional or historic characters, are determined by the author, who is, of course, influenced by his or her cultural construct of spirit possession.

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A Woman's Weapon: Spirit Possession in the Tale of Genji by Doris G. Bargen


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