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Genji And The Gardens Of Medieval Romance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares the literary gardens of love in The Tale of Genji with traditions of medieval romance in Europe and Persia. The gardens of Genji provide material for comparison with several major tropes in medieval literature worldwide. Literature in several major cultures throughout the world reveals a common concern with love, courtship and sexual encounters during the medieval. In these several and distinct medieval cultures, romantic love, the central topic for romance literature, presented a potentially subversive subject, one often condemned by the religious orders of these cultures. In Japan, there is a vast volume of documentary data, which together with well preserved sites, which together inform the notions of Japan's medieval historic gardens. Finally, it is clearly apparent that these tropes fall out of favour when these cultures become more humanist, as rationalism begins to displace faith in the divine, and the mainstay of romance irony is weakened.

Keywords: Japan's medieval historic gardens; medieval romance; romance literature; Tale of Genji



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