Any topic (writer’s choice)

You will write about 2 of the assigned readings, discussing them in terms of one of the key concepts guiding the course. You will choose 2 works from a list of works eligible for that essay.

Choose from:  Asai Ryis stories; Ihara Saikakus stories; Love Suicides at Sonezaki; Kaga no Chiyos poems; Sukeroku; Playboy Roasted a la Edo; Hiraga Gennais essays.

Your essay must analyze your chosen works in terms of one of the following two key concepts.  You may write both of your essays about the same key concept, or one essay about each, as you choose.  The key concepts are:

            1) Ga and zoku.  You may consider questions such as the following:  How do your chosen works fit into the elegant (high) vs vulgar (low) dichotomy? Are your works primarily one or the other, or do they combine elements of both?  In what ways?  How does an awareness of this dichotomy help us to think about the works?  Etc.

            2) Modernity and tradition.  You may consider questions such as the following:  What elements of modernity do your chosen works display?  What elements of tradition?  Do they show a consciousness of being modern, or a yearning for the traditional?  How do they view the present and its relationship to the past?  Etc.

Each essay should be between 1000 and 1200 words long (roughly 3-4 pages of double spaced Times New Roman).  You will be graded on the cogency and persuasiveness of your analysis, your mastery of the ideas presented in lectures and readings, and the clarity of your writing.  Spelling and grammar count.  The best essays will present a clear argument with a concise thesis statement and specific examples drawn from the works under discussion.

You do not need to consult any sources beyond what is assigned to the class;  therefore, you do not need to include a Works Cited list, and may cite the work youre discussing merely by page number.  If you do consult any sources beyond what is assigned to the class, you must include a Works Cited list with the details of what you have cited.


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