Organized Panel Session
Gerard Genette describes paratext as a collusion of elements that assist in the reception and consumption of a text, which implicates paratext in the production of the space between the reader and the text. This panel will interrogate that space, in the context of poetic anthologization in Japanese literary history.
Japanese poetry offers fertile ground for exploring how paratext influences avenues of textual production and reproduction in different medias. In addition to elements such as topic markers, sequences, and commentaries, we consider how the presentation of poetry in different orthographic and graphemic forms guided the reception and, in some cases, the canonization or marginalization of texts. Through expanding Genette’s definition of paratext to encompass such aspects of Japanese poetic anthologies, we investigate the nuanced yet impactful effects of paratext in the anthologization process.
Individual papers explore the impact of paratextual elements on various types of Japanese poetry, ranging from waka (Japanese court poetry) to free verse. Danica Truscott analyzes Man’yō poet Sakanoue no Iratsume’s poems within the framework of a particular volume in order to provide a new understanding of her poetry. Mariko Naito discusses the significance of sugata (figures), as pioneered in Fujiwara no Toshinari’s poetic treatises, in the development of the medieval poetic canon. Based on Ichijō Kaneyoshi’s late medieval commentary on ancient court songs, James Scanlon-Canegata considers how paratextual elements may be exploited in the canonization process. Tanya Barnett examines the discourse surrounding Miyazawa Kenji’s “Preface Poem” and how it informs interpretations of his literature and thought.