Synopses & Reviews
Written centuries before the time of Shakespeare and Chaucer, The Tale of Genji marks the birth of the novel and after more than a millennium, this seminal work about the life and loves of Prince Genji, master poet, dancer, musician and painter, continues to enchant readers throughout the world. This version by Kencho Suematsu was the first-ever translation in English. Condensed, it's a quarter length of the unabridged text. Perfect for readers with limited time.
"Masterpiece of Japanese literature written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu toward the beginning of the 11th century....It is one of the world's earliest and greatest novels. The Tale of Genji depicts a unique society of ultra refined and elegant aristocrats whose indispensable accomplishments were skill in poetry, music, calligraphy, and courtship. Much of the book is concerned with the loves of Prince Genji and the different women in his life. The novel is permeated with a sensitivity to human emotions and the beauties of nature hardly paralleled elsewhere. The tone of the novel darkens as it progresses, indicating perhaps a deepening of Murasaki's Buddhist conviction of the vanity of the world. Some, however, believe that its last 14 chapters were written by another author." Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
"Not only the world's first real novel, but one of its greatest." Donald Keene, Columbia University
"A triumph of authenticity and readability." Washington Post Book World
"[Seidensticker's] translation has the ring of authority." The New York Times Book Review
This biographical novel centers around the amorous exploits of Prince Hikaru Genji, whose elegance and talent epitomized the values of Heian Japan, an era in which indigenous Japanese culture still held prominence over the Chinese culture that would come to dominate Japan.
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This biographical novel centers around the amorous exploits of Price Hikaru Genji, whose elegance and talent epitomized the values of Heian Japan, an era in which indigenous Japanese culture still held prominence over the Chinese culture that would come to dominate Japan.
One of the best-known and loved novels from early Japanese history.
About the Author
Murasaki Shikibu, born in 978, was a member of Japan's Fujiwara clan, which ruled behind the scenes during the Heian Period by providing the brides and courtesans of all the emperors. Lady Murasaki's rare literary talent, particularly her skill as a poet, secured her a place in the court of Empress Akiko. After the death of her husband, she cloistered herself to study Buddhism, raise her daughter, and write the world's first novel, Genji Monogatari, the tale of the shining Prince Genji.