Hello again! I’m continuing my work from the summer fellowship this semester as I work on my PDH Capstone with the Studio.
This semester I am primarily focused on fleshing out the first thirty locations for my map. I’m still following my previously established large headings (visited in text, mentioned in text, and mentioned in poetry) but I’ve begun a hash tagging type system for further clarifying the types of locations. My hashtags are things like “real” vs “fictional”, “extant” vs “non-extant”, and “poetic.” “Fictional” covers places such as Genji’s houses that were never necessarily actual physical buildings that existed, but are described as existing at a concrete location within the text which can then be mapped. “Poetic” is used to refer to places that are mentioned primarily for the purpose of a poetic allusion.
I’m also in the process of fleshing out my core categories, so that their definitions are clearer and better defined. They are currently defined as follows, though this is bound to change as I continue working:
Visited in Text
Locations that fall under this category are places that a character or characters physically travels to during the course of the story. As I am not, in this iteration of the map, marking the number of trips taken or tracking those trips visually, the location merely contains a list of characters who visit at some point in the text. While many places in this category actually exist (ie Suma, Akashi, Mt. Hiei) others are fictional places (Nijō-in, Rokujō-in) that were imagined to exist at a particular geographic location and described as such within the text. My subcategories will add further categorization on a place by place basis.
Mentioned in Poetry
Places in this category are real places that are mentioned in poems directly within the text. (ie Miyagino: “Hearing the wind sigh, burdening with drops of dew all Miyagi Moor, my heart helplessly goes out to the little hagi frond.” (Tyler 8)). This category will include locations from Genji poems and allusions to other poems but only if that poem is quoted in whole.
Mentioned in Text
This category is compiled of places that the characters mention within the prose text. This is a bit of a catch-all for places that don’t fit in the other two categories but are still mentioned. These places can be either real places, fictional with a real-world location, or real locations used as a poetic allusion. This section will also include locations from poems that are alluded to within the prose text.
I’ve also found that I unintentionally created hierarchy, with visited in text being the most important, mentioned in poetry being second, and mentioned in text being a catch-all for places that didn’t fit either of the other two categories. As I’m working through my data, I’m double checking to make sure that each place is in the correct category and I am making sure that I am using the absolute first instance of place appearing within the text as the passage that I cite within my data compilation spreadsheet. As I want this map to be used as a textual analysis tool by other scholars, I am trying to keep as objective as possible, so even if the passage containing the first mention of a location isn’t particularly exciting, that is still the passage that I will include.
I’ve also expanded my spreadsheet to include the passages from the two main Japanese sources, the Shin Nihon Koten Bungaku Zenshu and Shin Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei. This allows myself and the future users of the map to compare the Japanese passages to the English, of which I’m including passages from the Royall Tyler and Dennis Washburn translations.
I’ve also been having weekly meetings with Dr. Kendra Strand to discuss my work, the poems I’m translating from the text for the “mentioned in poetry” sections, and to do our own textual analysis as we discuss how place functions within the text. From our latest meeting, I’ve decided that I will also end up creating a glossary to include on Genjipedia which will reflect my own thoughts and analysis that I’ve generated as I’m close reading the text for this project.