W. G. Aston (essay date 1899)
SOURCE: Aston, W. G. “Japanese Poetry Generally—The ‘Manyōshiu’—Works in Chinese.” In A History of Japanese Literature, pp. 24-52. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1899.
[In the following excerpt from his survey of Japanese literature, Aston summarizes the principal characteristics of the Man'yōshū and offers several translated examples of the poetry it contains.]
While the eighth century has left us little or no [Japanese] prose literature of importance, it was emphatically the golden age of poetry. Japan had now outgrown the artless effusions … [of a previous era], and during this period produced a body...
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