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Basho - A Biography

by David Barnhill last modified Apr 03, 2011 07:51 AM

Periods in his life and literature

1644-1666
Low ranking samurai in small town (Ueno).

The son of his lord becomes his poetry friend.

1666-1672
Probably lives in Kyoto to begin his poetry career.

Teimon school. Amuse the reader with witty use of language. Little emotional content. Elegant beauty, alluding to court poetry and No drama.

1672-1680
Moves to Edo , where he becomes a successful haikai master.

Danrin school. Expands subject matter and diction to common life. Elegant subjects ridiculed. Word play and allusion used to show humorous contrast to some mundane subject. Also more straightforward simple and spontaneous lighthearted poems. Technique of surprising juxtaposition.

1680-1684
1st Basho hut in outskirts of Edo . Takes up Zen practice. Lonely period. Winter of 1682 his hut burns and a few months later learns his mother died

Transitional period in poetry where he tried to shake of contemporary trends by turning to Chinese and medieval Japanese aesthetics and religion.

1684-1692
Poetry and prose dominated by sabi

Travels
1684-85. First journey: Journal of Bleached Bones in a Field.
1685-87. Quiet life in second Bashō hut.
1687-88. 3 trips & journals: Kashima Journal. Knapsack Notebook. Sarashina Journal.
1689-90. Narrow Road to the Deep North .
1690-92. Various places in Kyoto area. Writes several famous haibun.

1692-1694
Returns to Edo and 3rd Bashō hut. Increasing stress from family and disciples. Heads off on journey to the south and dies in Osaka .

Poetry: More focus on social life. Ideal of “lightness”: detachment and humor. Some poems of frustration.

 

 

 

 

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by David Barnhill last modified Apr 03, 2011 07:51 AM