5 thoughts on “The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches

  1. A long time ago I read a book review in the newspaper. It was about a travel book in which the author retraced the footsteps of Matsuo Basho’s journey through seventeenth century Japan told in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Naturally I never did get my hands on the modern book but at my local library there was the penguin translation of Basho’s book.

    no sooner had the spring mist begun to rise over the field than I wanted to be on the road again to cross the barrier-gate of Shirakawa in due

  2. This review is more of a note about this specific translation so that people know what it is.

    The Narrow Road to The Deep North and Other Travel Sketches, from Penguin Classics, translated into English by Nobuyuki Yuasa, 1966.
    * TOC
    * Introduction (pretty good explanation of how haiku stemmed out from waka)
    * The Records Of A Weather-Exposed Skeleton (野ざらし紀行: nozarashi kikou) 1684-85
    * A Visit To The Kashima Shrine (鹿島紀行: Kashima kikou) 1687
    * The Records Of A Travel-Worn Satchel (笈の小文: oi no kobumi)

  3. I want to be very clear about one thing: who the heck am I to be giving Basho two stars? I am nobody, and I am not giving Basho two stars, I am giving this book two stars. The Japanese literary tradition is so deep and aesthetically interesting, and I have no doubt whatsoever that, *in Japanese*, these travel narratives are well worth reading.

    But I, filthy occidental, do not know Japanese, and I am reduced to reading sentences such as this, chosen entirely at random: “Dragging my sore heels, I

  4. I don’t want you to think that I didn’t enjoy this book, because I did. I also don’t want you to think it was an easy read, as I thought it would be when I started. It wasn’t. It required, on my part, a lot of map looking, Google image searching, re-reading, and note taking. I began the book knowing how much I love travelogues, which this is described as being on Amazon. But, written in the 17th century, it is far different than travelogues written in the 20th century. It is sparse; bare-boned.

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