Five Japanese Love Stories. Ihara Saikaku.

Five Japanese Love Stories

London: The Folio Society, 1958. Mark Severin (woodcut engravings). First Folio Society Edition. Hardcover. Used - Very Good. Top red edge stain. Green silk boards with blue lettering to spine. Spine is toned and discolored. Binding tight and square. Corners sharp. Illustrated endpapers. Some toning to text block but otherwise clean and unmarked. Illustrated. 14.5 x 21 cm. 159 pp. / No dust jacket (as issued). Maroon slipcase is intact and tight. Some wear to edges and corners. Item #10213

From our Instagram post for this book, dated May 9, 2019:

‘Men take their misfortunes to heart and keep them there. A gambler does not talk about his losses; the frequenter of brothels, who finds his favourite engaged by another, pretends to be just as well off without her; the professional street brawler is quiet about the fights he has lost; and a merchant who speculates in goods will conceal the losses he may suffer. They are all alike the ‘man who steps on dog dung in the dark’.
But of them all, the one who has a wanton, mischievous wife will feel his misfortune most, convinced that there is no more heartless creature in the world than she.’ -- from ‘What the Seasons Brought the Almanac-Maker’ by Ihara Saikaku

Another prolific and legendary poet-writer by the name of Ihara Saikaku or 井原 西鶴 who at the height of his poetic output was able to compose thousands of haikai in one sitting. Saikaku is perhaps most famous for his stories about the ‘chonin-do’ or ‘the way of the townspeople’ in which townsfolk were depicted as the multifaceted, flawed human beings that they were -- ‘beggars, peddlers, and the lowliest prostitutes, together with merchant princes and famous courtesans’ -- operating before the kind of dark, gritty backdrop that seemed to interest Saikaku the most: the ‘back alleys and slums as well as gay theatres and teahouses’.

This is a vintage 1958 Folio Society edition of Five Japanese Love Stories by Ihara Saikaku, translated into English by William Theodore de bary, with woodcut engravings by Mark Severin and green silk boards.

Price: HK$130.00

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