"I am grateful to the Davis Humanities Institute for sponsoring my Faculty Research Fellowship for Spring 2020. My current research project is a complete translation, annotation, and analysis of a text known as Mumyōzōshi (The Untitled Book, ca. 1200), frequently cited as the first work of literary criticism in the Japanese tradition. Unfortunately, it has been understudied and inadequately translated, especially considering its monumental importance to any serious study of the fiction from classical Japan (The Tale of Genji being the most noteworthy representative of that genre). The DHI research fellowship will enable me to complete my translation, discuss with colleagues the nature and characteristics of pre-modern literary criticism in a comparative context, and think further about how these works shape the understanding of canonical texts for future generations of readers."
- Joseph Sorensen