Basho: The Complete Haiku of Matsuo Basho (World Literature in Translation) (Paperback)

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Basho: The Complete Haiku of Matsuo Basho (World Literature in Translation) By Basho, Andrew Fitzsimons (Translated by) Cover Image
By Basho, Andrew Fitzsimons (Translated by)
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In what is certifiably the most complete edition of the seventeenth century poet's collection of haiku, this edition aims for preserving the complexity of Basho's writings to its fullest degree. Here, editor and poet Andrew Fitzsimons expands on the original translation, by scholar Kon Eizo, by incorporating an extensive history of the poet and providing the reader with the phonetic verbiage of the original text along with incredible footnotes that stay mostly objective in its contextual historical criticism. All 980 poems are here for your consideration, in chronological order and--for the first time--in the original "on" without punctuation, adhering to Basho's initial formatting. The steady flow of the words flow beautifully, highlighting Basho's fascination with the moon and cuckoos, while also capturing a kind of zen humor as well, with lines like "Dog running and pissing/a passing shower". The meditative quality of these poems are substantially enhanced by this translation thanks to these elements. I am very impressed.
— From Trevor's Picks (page 3)


This is the essential English edition of the complete poems of the eminent Japanese master of the haiku, Matsuo Bashō.
Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) is arguably the greatest figure in the history of Japanese literature and the master of the haiku. Bashō: The Complete Haiku of Matsuo Bashō offers in English a full picture of the haiku of Bashō, 980 poems in all. Andrew Fitzsimons’ translation is the first to adhere strictly to form: all of the poems are translated following the syllabic count of the originals. This book also translates a number of Bashō’s headnotes to poems ignored by previous English-language translators.
In Fitzsimons’ beautiful rendering, Bashō is much more than a philosopher of the natural world and the leading exponent of a refined Japanese sensibility. He is also a poet of queer love and eroticism; of the city as well as the country, the indoors and the outdoors, travel and staying put; of lonesomeness as well as the desire to be alone.

His poetry explores the full range of social experience in Edo Japan as he moved among friends and followers high and low, the elite and the demi-monde, the less fortunate: poor farmers, abandoned children, disregarded elders. Bashō: The Complete Haiku of Matsuo Bashō reveals how this work speaks to our concerns today as much as it captures a Japan emerging from the Middle Ages. For dedicated scholars and those coming upon Bashō for the first time, Fitzsimons’ elegant translation—with an insightful introduction and helpful notes—allows readers to enjoy these works in all their glory.

About the Author

Andrew Fitzsimons is Professor of English Language and Cultures at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, and author of The Sea of Disappointment: Thomas Kinsella’s Pursuit of the Real, as well as three books of poetry.

Bashō (1644–1694) is the greatest poet of Japan and one of the major figures of World Literature. His work has inspired haiku to become the most popular poetic form in the world.

Praise For…

"A real landmark publication. . . . In this endlessly rewarding work of scholarship, skill and devotion we find a Bashō not just as he is customarily seen – a philosopher poet of nature – but very much as a man of the world."

"A comprehensive exploration of the writer and man crucial to Japan’s literary history. . . . Fitzsimons’ translations are fresh and unexpected."
— Japan Times

“These translations let in light and space and strike me as authentic, Zen-like, with wonderful echoes. They let the genius of Bashō shine through.”
— Japan Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780520385580
ISBN-10: 0520385586
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: October 25th, 2022
Pages: 472
Language: English
Series: World Literature in Translation