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The Revealing and Concealing Smiles in Heian Literature: Exploring The Mystery of Smiling Through The Concepts of Mono No Aware and Miyabi

Phan, Quynh (2011)
Honors Thesis (49 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Ravina, Mark
Committee Members: Marcus, Frederick R ; Reinders, Eric
Research Fields: Literature, Asian; Literature, Classical
Keywords: heian; japan; italian renaissance; castiglione; murasaki shikibu; tale of genji; mono no aware; miyabi; japanese aesthetics; horikawa diary; torikaebaya; monogatari; sprezzatura; grazia; motoori norinaga; book of the courtier
Program: College Honors Program, Asian and Asian American Studies
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/93d8v

Abstract

Abstract
The Revealing and Concealing Smiles in Heian Literature: Exploring The Mystery of Smiling in The Concepts of Mono No Aware and Miyabi
By Quynh Phan


Unlike tears, the smiles in Heian literature have never been given the attention they
deserve. Various instances of smiling are found throughout famous works of Heian
literature such as "Tale of Genji," "The Changeling," and "The Emperor Horikawa
Diary." The smiles are categorized into the revealing and concealing smile which
are responses to mono no aware and miyabi, respectively.


The revealing smile displays happy, positive emotions, especially to guileless,
childlike innocence like that of Yugao and young Murasaki in "Tale of Genji."
Like tears, it is also a sophisticated and refined form of expression toward mono no
aware.


The concealing smile hides the unwanted, negative, and socially unacceptable
emotions. It is an instrument of miyabi which is parallel to grazia and sprezzatura
of the Italian Renaissance court. Miyabi of "The Tale of Genji" is compared to
grazia and sprezzatura of "The Book of the Courtier" by Baldassare Castiglione.
The analogy of miyabi, grazia, and sprezzatura leads to the understanding of
Japanese conception of reality in the Heian period and provides a more refined
comprehension of miyabi. It also answers the question whether the act of
concealing smile and laughter in both "Tale of Genji" and "Book of the Courtier"
belongs to the category of grazia or sprezzatura.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION TO BACKGROUND OF JAPANESE 1
Aesthetics in Heian Literature 1
Mono no aware - A Definition 2
Miyabi - A Definition 4

Chapter 2: THE SMILES IN HEIAN LITERATURE
Two Types of Smile 5
The Revealing Smile: Pleasure toward Childlike Innocence and Sentiment toward Mono no aware 6
As a Response to Guileless Emotions -Expressing Pleasure 7
As a Response to Mono no aware -Expressing Aesthetic Sensibility 10
The Concealing Smile 15

Chapter 3: THE HEIAN SMILES AND ITALIAN RENASSAINCE LAUGHTER IN LITERATURE 22
Connection between Miyabi, Grazia, and Sprezzatura 22
The Concealing Laughter in The Book of the Courtier 26
Examples of the Concealing Laughter 27
Reconciling Miyabi, Grazia, and Sprezzatura 33

Chapter 4: CONCLUSION 38

BIBLIOGRAPHY 42



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application/pdf Honors Thesis 49 pages (355.7 KB) [Access copy of Honors Thesis]
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