In the first comprehensive study of the birth of Japanese commercial publishing, Dr Laura Moretti investigates the vibrant world of vernacular popular literature. She marshals new data on the magnitude of the seventeenth-century publishing business and highlights the diversity and porosity of its publishing genres. Moretti explores how booksellers sparked interest among readers across the spectrum of literacies and demonstrates how they tantalized consumers with vital ethical, religious, societal, and interpersonal knowledge. Crucially, readers experienced entertainment within the didactic, finding pleasure in the profit gained from acquiring knowledge by interacting with transformative literature. Culling from a rich variety of archival materials, Pleasure in Profit questions traditional literary histories of this period and speaks to broader conversations about the category of the literary.
The book launch for the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is designed as a talk where Dr Moretti will present some of the key arguments that she puts forward in Pleasure in Profit. She will also introduce a number of primary sources and flesh out the wealth of information packed in this monograph.
Pleasure in Profit – Popular Prose in Seventeenth-Century Japan is published by Columbia University Press. It is available for purchase at this link. A discount voucher will be provided for attendees of this event.
About the contributors
Dr Laura Moretti
Dr Laura Moretti is a Senior Lecturer in Premodern Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge and a fellow at Emmanuel College. Her research focusses on early modern Japanese prose, with a specific interest in popular literature. Her new project investigates playful reading in a wide range of early modern materials, including graphic narratives and ephemera. She has published a wide range of articles in English and Japanese and is also the author of Recasting the Past: An Early Modern “Tales of Ise” for Children (Brill, 2016), which was presented at Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in 2017.
Date: Tuesday 26 January 2021
UK Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm (GMT)
Japan Time: 9:00pm-10:00pm (GMT+9)
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