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matthew
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Hi!

Post by matthew » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:17 pm

Hi! My name is Matthew, and I'm a student from Serbia currently doing a preparatory year of schooling in Japan before I enter university there. I'll probably be doing East Asian history along with languages such as Classical Chinese and Persian.

I acquired a passion for Western classical culture during high school, where I studied Latin and enjoyed it as a subject, but the teaching method was woefully inadequate, even though the teacher had the best intentions. I am now relearning Latin through the LLPSI series (currently on Familia Romana, capitulum XXVI), and plan to soon start learning Greek as well.

The eventual goal is to master both Asian classical languages (of which, at least regarding Classical Chinese and Classical Japanese, I already have a solid command of) and Western ones. We'll see how that works out :P

Cheers!

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bedwere
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Re: Hi!

Post by bedwere » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:00 pm

Welcome to Texkit, Matthew!

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Hi!

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:04 pm

Wishing you all the best in your pursuits. So, for both Japanese and Chinese, what would you recommend as the top literature to read (in translation, please... :) ). Something on the level of Homer and Vergil for Western literature...
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

matthew
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Re: Hi!

Post by matthew » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:18 pm

Everything depends on what interests you the most. For Chinese literature, everyone usually recommends the Four Great Novels (The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, etc.) but they are already part vernacular. What constitutes their "canon" as Homer constitutes the Greek one is of little appeal to the general reader ("The Four Books and Five Classics"), except for maybe Mengzi and The Analects. For poetry, I would definitely recommend Li Bai, Du Fu, and Bai Ju-yi - they are your Virgils and Horaces of China. There are few works in the "epic" tradition per se as we think of it - the closes thing would probably be the Songs of Chu, an early anthology.

Japanese literature has a little more in the way of belles-lettres early on. Make sure to check out The Tale of Genji (if you're only going to read it in translation, the Waley translation gives you the best read) and The Pillow Book. I personally wouldn't place poetry contemporary with these works (ie. around the year 1000) as the peak of classical poetry, but they do fare well in terms of aestheticism, akin the learned poets of Alexandria (see Kokin-wakashu). For poetry, definitely check out Manyoshu, especially poems by Yamabe no Akahito, Yamanoue no Okura, and Otomo no Tabito.

ariphron
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Re: Hi!

Post by ariphron » Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:09 pm

Awesome. So you already have a good knowledge of 文言文, including the Japanese 文体。Are you already learning Persian? Of all classical languages, Persian is the one that I most regret I will not get to in this life.

Are you interested in Chinese or Japanese vernacular literature?

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