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Title: The Engishiki Norito : a rhetorical study
Author: Mann, Laurence Edward Murray
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 5026
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis aims to set the Engishiki Norito (hereafter Norito), a group of early Japanese liturgical texts, in the context of the broader Old Japanese textual tradition and, in the process, draw attention to their value as literary artefacts. This is achieved by valorizing the role in the texts of rhetoric - defined broadly as meaningful units of repetitive language - and demonstrating that rhetorical structures similar to those found in the Norito exist throughout the corpus of Old Japanese literature, as far as it is extant. There have only been two substantial attempts to engage with the repetitive language in the Norito as a network of structures or systems recognizable as rhetoric (Inamura & Inamura, 1956; Kameyama, 1995). While still valuable, these studies embody the combined legacies of diverse traditional discourses, borrowed Western notions of veracity versus ornament and narratives of continuity poorly applied to early Japan that have affected Norito scholarship generally. In particular, they do not pay close attention to the syntax, morphology and phonology of Old Japanese encoded in the texts, as distinct from later forms of Japanese. Neither do they emphasize the extent of the close intertextual bonds the Norito share with other Old Japanese texts, or the associative potential of logography in a textual tradition as sophisticated as that within which the Norito were recorded in writing. In Western Japanological discourse, the repetitively structured language termed rhetoric in this study has been openly viewed as detrimental to the Norito's literary worth (Sansom 1931, Philippi 1959, 1990); most likely as a result of the problematic status of rhetoric and repetition in Western modernity. This - coupled with disciplinary divisions in Japan - has resulted in the Norito becoming divorced from the mainstream corpus of Old Japanese literature, despite their close relationship to that corpus and despite their high degree of rhetorical sophistication. After addressing some of the reasons for the Norito's alienation in discourse on Japanese literature, and exploring some theoretical dimensions of rhetoric itself, this study proceeds to set the liturgies in the context of Old Japanese oral and textual cultures and to begin to introduce features of their rhetoric - noting that the interrelatedness of rhetorical structures is a major key to understanding them. The last three chapters of the study are concerned with rhyme, a special feature that is both an analogue of, and interconnected with, other rhetorical structures. Together, the three chapters argue that rhyme is an understudied but pervasive feature of Japanese poetry and song and that - in the Old Japanese case - rhyming structures constitute a significant component of the rhetoric of the Norito and other texts. The development of a robust analytical approach to rhetorical features of Old Japanese texts has been hampered by the persistent reluctance to associate Japanese literature with 'rhyme', or 韻 in - two terms with problematic heritages. In attempting to implement such an approach in the case of the Norito, it is hoped that this study will, in small measure, contribute to a better understanding of rhetorical texts in general and, above all, to the repositioning of the Norito within the mainstream corpus of Old Japanese literature, where they belong.
Supervisor: Frellesvig, Bjarke ; Harries, Phillip Tudor Sponsor: Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities ; British Association for Japanese Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Japanese literature ; Rhetoric ; Rhyme ; Old Japanese ; Poetics ; Norito ; Engishiki