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July 18, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE PLEASURES OF JAPANESE LITERATURE by Donald Keene (Columbia University Press: $12.95; 160 pp.; illustrated). These concise essays are based on five lectures the noted scholar and translator delivered in New York and Los Angeles. Keene argues that four principles characterize Japanese aesthetics in the pre-modern era: suggestion, irregularity, simplicity and perishability. Writing with rare understanding and appreciation he traces the use of these principles in poetry, fiction, theater.

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