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In Praise of History

Earl Miner, 1 March 1984

A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. I: The First Thousand Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by David Chibbett.
Macmillan, 319 pp., £20, September 1979, 0 333 19882 4
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. II: The Years of Isolation 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 22088 9
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. III: The Modern Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 307 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34133 3
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World within Walls 
by Donald Keene.
Secker, 624 pp., £15, January 1977, 0 436 23266 9
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Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature 
by Makoto Ueda.
Stanford, 451 pp., $28.50, September 1983, 0 8047 1166 6
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Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake 
by Edward Seidensticker.
Allen Lane, 302 pp., £16.95, September 1983, 0 7139 1597 8
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... Japanese. In general, the translators provide a crisp, matter-of-fact version without nonsense. Don Sanderson seems to me to have done a very able job (Vols II and III). David Chibbett (Vol. I) is another matter. He (or the author) has apparently set the style for names. We are given Onono Komachi and Ariwarano Narihira, which is rather like Johann ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1984, 20 December 1984

... the script. He looks at me inquiringly, then puts a straight line through half a page. ‘Boring, don’t you think? Too tentative.’ He invariably crosses out all my ‘possiblys’ and ‘perhapses’. Sometimes I resent seeing a day’s work crossed out at a stroke (except that I can generally salvage it for something else). It is like having one’s ...

Elzābet of Anletār

John Gallagher, 22 September 2016

This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World 
by Jerry Brotton.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 241 00402 9
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... returned in chains to Henri IV. His successor, Henry Lello, was less competent: the merchant John Sanderson commented that during his first address to the sultan, he stood ‘like a modest midwife, and began a trembling speech in English … sounding like the squeaking of a goose divided into semiquavers’. Brotton​ assembles a panoply of perspectives and ...

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