The Life Of An Amorous Woman
by Ihara Saikaku
One of the great fiction writers of Japan, Ihara Saikaku (1623-93) wrote of the lowest class in the Tokugawa world––the townsmen who were rising in wealth and power but not in official status. The title story in this collection of 12 works, told by an aging beauty whose highly erotic nature is her constant undoing, ranges over all of 17th-century Japanese life. The narrator is successively wife, court lady, courtesan, priest’s concubine, mistress of a feudal lord and streetwalker. Ivan Morris, chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures of Columbia University has done a brilliant translation, an introduction, extensive notes, bibliography and two essays on social customs of the period. Illustrated.