Cover: Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing, from Harvard University PressCover: Realms of Literacy in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 335

Realms of Literacy

Early Japan and the History of Writing

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Product Details


$59.95 • £47.95 • €54.00

ISBN 9780674060654

Publication Date: 11/14/2011


524 pages

6 x 9 inches

27 halftones

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs

World, subsidiary rights restricted

  • Maps, Tables, and Figures
  • Conventions
  • Introduction
  • Part I. Literacy and Power
    • 1. Shards of Writing?: Early Fragments and the Nature of Literacy
      • The Hirota Shell Artifact
      • Writing Lessons: The Politics of Plural Literacies
      • Great Discovery or Just a Smudge?
      • Coins and Contexts
      • Mirroring Text
    • 2. Kings Who Did Not Read: Scribes and the Projection of Power from the First to the Sixth Century CE
      • Peripheral Diplomacy and the Inscription of the ‘Chinese World Order’
      • Writing Between the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese Archipelago
      • Scribes in Service to the Yamato Kings (Fifth–Sixth Centuries CE)
      • Court Scribes in Early Japanese Histories
    • 3. A World Dense with Writing: Expanding Literacies in the Seventh and Eighth Centuries
      • The Emergence of New Literacies in the Mid-Seventh Century
      • Buddhism and Writing
      • Context, Material, and the Breadth of Early Japanese Writing
  • Part II. Writing and Language
    • 4. Kundoku: Reading, Writing, and Translation in a Single Script
      • Language and Writing in Chinese and Japanese
      • Back to the Beginning? The Seventh and Eighth Centuries
      • Early Korea and the Spread of an ‘East Asian’ Script
      • A Variety More Stylistic than Linguistic
    • 5. Governing in Prose: Written Style in the Kojiki and Nihon shoki
      • Parallel Inscriptions in the Main Hall of Hōryūji
      • A Vernacular Voice for Ancient Matters: The Kojiki
      • Localizing a Universal Rhetoric: The Nihon shoki
      • Written Style and Authority in the Eighth Century
    • 6. The Poetry of Writing: The Man’yōshū and Its Contexts
      • Flowers of Naniwa: Spelling Verse Syllable by Syllable
      • The Diversity of Writing in the Man’yōshū
      • Context, Choice, and Stylistic Difference
    • 7. Japan and the History of Writing
      • Writing and Language in Japanese Culture
      • Overcoming the Bilingual Fallacy
      • The Extended Nature of the ‘Chinese’ Script
      • The Latin of East Asia?
      • Myths of Efficiency and the Diversity of Literacies
      • Envisioning a World History of Writing
  • Endnotes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Awards & Accolades

  • 2011 Lionel Trilling Book Award, Columbia University
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