Travel and the Intersection of Place, Gender, and Status in Edo Japan

“Laura Nenzi’s fascinating work bridges visual and narrative representations of traveling with social history and views of traveling from below. She brings to light palpable details on the mechanics of traveling as a means of overturning socialconventions and speculates on their effect on self-transformation. Her discussion of the transformatory capacity of women’s traveling and place commodification are particularly notable contributions to the field and a delight to read. Her delving in grounds of both literary and visual studies is to be endorsed. This kind of interdisciplinary approach is absolutely necessary in the context of the Edo period’s cultural production that knew no division between the two.” —Jilly Traganou, Parsons The New School for Design

Excursions in Identity provides a new understanding of familiar material by treating it in an original and lively manner. Nenzi approaches travel as a cultural act, arguing that it allowed individuals to challenge and redefine the strictures imposed upon them by social, political, and cultural conventions. She analyzes her subject from a variety of approaches, literary, religious, spatial, and gender, the last of these of particular value to the literature on Japan. The scholarship is sound, the treatment well balanced, and the narrative polished and accessible. The book will be widely read with great benefit by scholars in several fields, including specialists in Japanese history and literature, and more widely by those interested in gender studies.” —Constantine Vaporis, University of Maryland Baltimore County

April 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3117-2 / $57.00 (CLOTH)