Volume 1, Issue 2, Fall 2004
The Narrow Road to The Deep North
Earth and World in Poetry and Prose
The paper offers a reading of “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” and related writings by the famous Japanese haiku poet of the 17 century, Basho. Employing the Heideggerian distinction between earth and world, the interpretation of Basho suggests that prose narrative, represented by Basho’s travelogue or account of his journey by foot through Japan, inserts nature (earth) within the scope of everyday human concerns (world). The reading suggests that it is in the poetic interludes, the haiku pieces that interrupt the story of the trip with pristine word images of a natural object or scene, that nature unfolds on its own terms, i.e. as a world unto itself.