The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches
In later life Basho turned to Zen Buddhism, and the travel sketched in this volume relfect his attempts to cast off earthly attachments and reach out to spiritual fulfillment. The sketches are written in the "haibun" style--a linking of verse and prose. The title piece, in particular, reveals Basho striving to discover a vision of eternity in the transient world around him and his personal evocation of the mysteries of the universe.
Basho, the Japanese poet and diarist, was born in Iga-ueno near Kyoto in 1644. He began to write verse while studying as the companion of the son of the local lord, and continued write when he moved to Edo (now Tokyo) in 1667. He eventually became a recluse, and on his travels relied on the hospitality of temples and fellow poets. His work is much influenced by Zen Buddhism. Nobuyuki Uasa teaches English at the University of Hiroshima.