Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Literary References

An Author's Note after Poul Anderson's "Rokuro" (All One Universe, New York, 1997) informs us:

"The traditional No play is full of allusions to classic literature and quotations from it." (p. 151)

- and adds:

"You may be interested to see what was intended in this case." (ibid.)

Yes, indeed, since I missed all the references as I read the play. I will mention only some of them here.

"Triumph and tragedy..." (p. 140) is from Winston Churchill, The Second World War, vol. V. Churchill drinks in the Old Phoenix in Anderson's "Losers' Night."

"They grind worlds forth..." (p. 141) is attributed both to Johannes V Jensen and to Vergil's Aeneid. Thus, Jensen is mentioned three times in All One Universe.

"With stars at its head..." (p. 142) is a reference to Dylan Thomas, "And Death Shall Have No Dominion," which, as Anderson points out, is cited in James Blish, They Shall Have Stars, the opening volume of Blish's interesting but shorter future history.

"'In Him the Way...'" (p. 144) is from Rudyard Kipling, "Buddha at Kamakura." Anderson discusses Kipling in an article in All One Universe.

"Into what wilderness..." (p. 145) is a reference to Tom o' Bedlam, which is quoted in Anderson's "Goat Song" and in the title of his A Knight Of Ghosts And Shadows.

The Author's Note also mentions Archibald MacLeish, Frederic Brown, Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand Of Darkness, Buddhist figures of speech, Pascal, haikus by Kyoshi and Basho and Robert Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land.

Thus, "Rokuro" is a short but rich work.

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