Miscellaneous Definition Example Essays

“Who are we, if not a combinatorial of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined. Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly reshuffled and reordered in every conceivable way,” wrote Italo Calvino in his Six Memos for the Following Millennium, as if he were radically describing the classical Japanese genre zuihitsu, which few of those of us on this side of the world know about. A heterogeneous literary style that could be described as a volcano wrapped in a cloud.

Zuihitsu is well known for its first appearance more than a millennium ago in The Pillow Book, (that Peter Greenaway would make famous in his film of the same name). The text was written by Sei Shonagon, a lady of the court of empress Sadako/Teshi and owes its name to the fact that the author made a pillow of the pile of notebooks that she wrote. Zuihitsu can be anything, as long as the author knows how to choose the form that will best fit the content.

Today zuihitsu is taught in some literature classes in the West but its hybrid nature challenges a precise definition, and perhaps for that reason it has escaped writers’ hands and remained a literary concept, albeit a beautiful one.

The Japanese describe the genre as “a running brush” as it does not lie so much in the subjects it deals with but rather in the movement of the wind. The style consists of personal interconnected essays or fragmented ideas that respond to the author’s surroundings; however, these “essays” jump from one to the other by association, as the mind does as it distractedly meditates and memories, abstractions, extracts of other texts, lists, opinions, dreams and poems crop up. It gathers all of the inventory that we are, Calvino would say.

In zuihitsu we feel the writing process and touch the textures of the author’s mind more than the themes or subjects referred to, which is why it is often translated as “miscellany” or “miscellaneous essay;” there is no central point but rather parts that interact with each other. There could be, for example, parts in verse, and which is perhaps the best vehicle for an idea, and parts in prose, whose function is to absorb the sentimentalism in a way that verse cannot. Reading or writing zuihitsu is, in short, to see how the form changes the content.

One of the few Western authors who have ventured into the form is US-born Kimiko Hahn, who wrote The Narrow Road To The Interior. She could be compared to a carpenter of “literary bonfires;” her work is building the house that will best receive an idea and then building bridges between houses to form a heterogeneous neighborhood. Like letting thoughts talk among themselves, but always having control over the form.

Zuihitsu has no rival in Japanese literature and as a result remains popular in the present day, slowly opening a vein in Western literature. Its associative form, alive and intuitive, makes the text a dance in which thoughts can drift like clouds, even within a volcano within.

.

“Who are we, if not a combinatorial of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined. Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly reshuffled and reordered in every conceivable way,” wrote Italo Calvino in his Six Memos for the Following Millennium, as if he were radically describing the classical Japanese genre zuihitsu, which few of those of us on this side of the world know about. A heterogeneous literary style that could be described as a volcano wrapped in a cloud.

Zuihitsu is well known for its first appearance more than a millennium ago in The Pillow Book, (that Peter Greenaway would make famous in his film of the same name). The text was written by Sei Shonagon, a lady of the court of empress Sadako/Teshi and owes its name to the fact that the author made a pillow of the pile of notebooks that she wrote. Zuihitsu can be anything, as long as the author knows how to choose the form that will best fit the content.

Today zuihitsu is taught in some literature classes in the West but its hybrid nature challenges a precise definition, and perhaps for that reason it has escaped writers’ hands and remained a literary concept, albeit a beautiful one.

The Japanese describe the genre as “a running brush” as it does not lie so much in the subjects it deals with but rather in the movement of the wind. The style consists of personal interconnected essays or fragmented ideas that respond to the author’s surroundings; however, these “essays” jump from one to the other by association, as the mind does as it distractedly meditates and memories, abstractions, extracts of other texts, lists, opinions, dreams and poems crop up. It gathers all of the inventory that we are, Calvino would say.

In zuihitsu we feel the writing process and touch the textures of the author’s mind more than the themes or subjects referred to, which is why it is often translated as “miscellany” or “miscellaneous essay;” there is no central point but rather parts that interact with each other. There could be, for example, parts in verse, and which is perhaps the best vehicle for an idea, and parts in prose, whose function is to absorb the sentimentalism in a way that verse cannot. Reading or writing zuihitsu is, in short, to see how the form changes the content.

One of the few Western authors who have ventured into the form is US-born Kimiko Hahn, who wrote The Narrow Road To The Interior. She could be compared to a carpenter of “literary bonfires;” her work is building the house that will best receive an idea and then building bridges between houses to form a heterogeneous neighborhood. Like letting thoughts talk among themselves, but always having control over the form.

Zuihitsu has no rival in Japanese literature and as a result remains popular in the present day, slowly opening a vein in Western literature. Its associative form, alive and intuitive, makes the text a dance in which thoughts can drift like clouds, even within a volcano within.

.

Tagged:Japanese art, japanese literature, Kimiko Hahn, literary genres, literature, The Pillow Book Sei Shonagon, Zuihitsu

  • Not pictured are the other fun new human, animal, mythical creature, clothing, and miscellaneous other emojis to come.

    —tess koman, Cosmopolitan, "Apple Is Fiiinally Rolling Out These Magical Emojis and Here's How You Can Get Them,"6 Oct. 2017

  • An additional $9 million in revenue came from tour fees, merchandise sales, space rentals, royalties, recording fees and miscellaneous activities.

    —john von rhein, chicagotribune.com, "CSO in solid shape despite seventh consecutive deficit,"1 Nov. 2017

  • Missing was a projector valued at $1,150, miscellaneous decorations valued at $250 and 150 pounds of aquarium live rock, valued at $7 a pound.

    —bob dohr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Oak Creek Police Report: Couple has sex in vehicle in South Shore Cinema parking lot,"18 Oct. 2017

  • Rajon Rondo has never been the solution for a team trying to get over the hump, and a slew of miscellaneous wing players will have to provide enough shooting and defense to bridge the gap.

    —jeremy woo, SI.com, "Will the Rockets Prove to Be the Warriors' Biggest Threat?,"5 Oct. 2017

  • Initially, Kurin recalls, the concept was much less daring: the museum would simply house miscellaneous Smithsonian artifacts, a gesture to show that the Institution cared about regions like Anacostia.

    —ryan p. smith, Smithsonian, "How This Washington, D.C. Museum Redefined What Museums Could Be,"20 Sep. 2017

  • The lack of support staff often means counselors pick up miscellaneous duties, from sharpening testing pencils to distributing medication.

    —alia wong, The Atlantic, "The Controversy Behind Chicago's Diploma Mandate,"14 Sep. 2017

  • That’s opened the door to imitations made cheaply from miscellaneous ingredients including Fentanyl, a pain-killer and anesthetic that’s up to 100 times more powerful than Morphine.

    —deborah sullivan brennan, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Xanax abuse creeps into schools,"2 Nov. 2017

  • The program does not cover the approximately $15,000 remaining total cost to attend a year of college for students who do not live at home — expenses such as room and board, books and other miscellaneous items.

    —karen herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "UW-Madison launching free tuition program for first-generation transfer students,"22 Sep. 2017

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