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Place Of Poetry, Place In Poetry: On Rulers, Poets, And Gods

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Chapter Summary

This chapter talks about a poem from the Man’yōshū which commentators have traditionally associated with one of the thirty-one journeys that Empress Jitō made to her beloved detached palace in Yoshino, the southern part of the Yamato province. It presents a technique that is extremely attentive to language, especially to poetic language, considering the fact that poetry and etymology share the same interest in probing the depth of language. The level of honorifics employed to express the poet's position and the gods' position towards the ruler is completely different. In order to describe the imperial apotheosis the poet must be part of it; he must participate in the imperial acts, since he must record them. The poet allots to poetic expression a loftier position than the one assigned to the earthly gods.

Keywords: gods; Man’yōshū; poetry; ruler



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