Japanese noh theatre or the drama of "perfected art" flourished in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries largely through the genius of the dramatist Zeami. An intricate fusion of music, dance, mask, costume and language, the dramas address many subjects, but the idea of "form" is more central than 'meaning' and their structure is always ritualized. Selected for their literary merit, the twenty-four plays in this volume dramatize such ideas as the relationship between men and the gods, brother and sister, parent and child, lover and beloved, and the power of greed and desire. Revered in Japan as a cultural treasure, the spiritual and sensuous beauty of these works has been a profound influence for English-speaking artists including W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound and Benjamin Britten.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
was born in London, England, and grew up in Massachusetts, England, Washington D.C., and Paris. He has a B.A. in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard, and an M.A. in Japanese History and Ph. D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University. He has taught Japanese language and culture at, among other places, Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Oslo, in Norway. Beginning in 1990, he taught at the Australian National University, in Canberra, from which he retired at the end of 2000. He will spent the American academic year 2001-02 as a Visiting Professor at Harvard.
Tyler and his wife Susan live in a rammed earth house on 100 acres in the bush about seventy miles from Canberra, where they breed alpacas as a hobby. Royall Tyler’s previous works include Japanese Noh Dramas, a selection and translation of Noh plays published by Penguin; Japanese Tales and French Folktales, anthologies published by Pantheon; and The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity, a study of a medieval Japanese cult published by Columbia University Press.