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Bashō and the Aesthetics of Wandering: Recuperating Space, Recognizing Place, and Following the Ways of the Universe

Thomas Heyd
Philosophy East and West
Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jul., 2003), pp. 291-307
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1400219
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Bashō and the Aesthetics of Wandering: Recuperating Space, Recognizing Place, and Following the Ways of the Universe
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Abstract

An appeal is made to the foot travels of Matsuo Bashō, especially his 1689 journey to northern Japan, reflected in his Narrow Road to the Interior, as examples of wandering. It is suggested that while the travels of a poet-wanderer such as Bashō are notably distinct from shamanic travels in some respects, they are similar in other important ways, for example in their capacity to give perspective to our everyday experience. Based on Bashō's example, three aspects of wandering are discussed that may be of aesthetic interest, and it is concluded that in the face of various technological and social developments in industrial societies that increasingly alienate us from our environment, wandering may help us to recover a sense of the depth of space, the real diversity of places, and our human lives in the larger context of nature.

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