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Ariake no wakare : genre, gender, and genealogy in a late 12th century monogatari

Ariake no Wakare was thought to be a lost tale, but its unique manuscript was
rediscovered in the early 1950s. Thirteenth-century references and internal evidence suggest
a date of composition in the 1190s by an author in Teika's circle, and attest to Ariake's
prominence in the thirteenth-century prose fiction canon. Thematically, it is virtually a
'summa' of previous monogatari themes woven together with remarkable dexterity and
often startling originality. The term giko monogatari, 'pseudo-classical tales,' widely
used to describe such late Heian and Kamakura period tales, and the associated style term
gikobun, turn out to be Meiji era coinages with originally much wider and less pejorative
connotations - a change perhaps related to contemporary language debates that valorized
vernacular writing styles.
The use of respect language and narrative asides, and the interaction between the
narration and the plot, evokes a narrator with a distinct point of view, and suggest she
may be the lady-in-waiting Jiju, making the text more explicitly autobiographical, and
perhaps accounting for aspects of the narrative structure. Statistical information about
Ariake, and analysis of respect language and certain fields of the lexicon reveal that
Ariake is linguistically much closer to the Genji than are the few other giko monogatari
for which information is available, but there are also a few very marked differences.
Similar analysis of other giko monogatari would clarify whether these differences are
characteristic of the subgenre or peculiar to Ariake no Wakare. Ariake no Wakare critiques male behaviour in courtship and marriage, and explores
female-to-male crossdressing; the male gaze (kaimami); incestuous sexual abuse; both
male and female same-sex and same-gender love; spirit possession in a context of marriage,
pregnancy, and rival female desires, and other instances of the conspicuously gendered
supernatural; and the gendered significance of genealogy. The treatment of gender roles
and sexuality focuses on the interaction of performance skill and innate ability or inclination,
and presents the mysterious beauty of the ambiguously gendered and liminally human,
while genealogy is celebrated as privileged female knowledge. The text simultaneously
invites and resists modern modes of reading. Rather than merely imitative, Ariake's
treatment of familiar elements with changed contexts and interpretations produces both
nostalgia and novelty.
Date11 1900
CreatorsKhan, Robert Omar
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
RelationUBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project []

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