Synopses & Reviews
The original novela classic of Japanese and world literature and a stunningly beautiful story
Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the worlds first novel. Genji, the Shining Prince, is the son of an emperor. He is a passionate character whose tempestuous nature, family circumstances, love affairs, alliances, and shifting political fortunes form the core of this magnificent epic. Royall Tylers superior translation is detailed, poetic, and superbly true to the Japanese original while allowing the modern reader to appreciate it as a contemporary treasure. Supplemented with detailed notes, glossaries, character lists, and chronologies to help the reader navigate the multigenerational narrative, this comprehensive edition presents this ancient tale in the grand style that it deserves.
This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
Written in the 11th century, Lady Murasaki's account of court life in the city of Heian, Japan, stands as one of the undisputed monuments of world literature and one of the first novels in the modern sense of the term.
At the core of this epic is Prince Genji, the son of an emperor, whose passionate character, love affairs and shifting political fortunes offer a glimpse into the golden age of Japan.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -1182).
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.
Royall Tyler was born in London, England, and grew up in Massachusetts, England, Washington D.C., and Paris. He has a B.A. in Far Eastern Languages from Harvard, and an M.A. in Japanese History and Ph. D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University. He has taught Japanese language and culture at, among other places, Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Oslo, in Norway. Beginning in 1990, he taught at the Australian National University, in Canberra, from which he retired at the end of 2000. He will spend the American academic year 2001-02 as a Visiting Professor at Harvard.
Royall Tyler and his wife Susan live in a rammed earth house on 100 acres in the bush about seventy miles from Canberra, where they breed alpacas as a hobby.
Royall Tyler’s previous works include Japanese Noh Dramas, a selection and translation of Noh plays published by Penguin; Japanese Tales and French Folktales, anthologies published by Pantheon; and The Miracles of the Kasuga Deity, a study of a medieval Japanese cult published by Columbia University Press.
Table of Contents
Translated by Royall Tyler
List of Maps and Diagrams
1. The Paulownia Pavilion (Kiritsubo)
2. The Broom Tree (Hahakigi)
3. The Cicada Shell (Utsusemi)
4. The Twilight Beauty (Yugao)
5. Young Murasaki (Wakamurasaki)
6. The Safflower (Suetsumuhana)
7. Beneath the Autumn Leaves (Momiji no Ga)
8. Under the Cherry Blossoms (Hana no En)
9. Heart-to-Heart (Aoi)
10. The Green Branch (Sakaki)
11. Falling Flowers (Hanachirusato)
12. Suma (Suma)
13. Akashi (Akashi)
14. The Pilgrimage to Sumiyoshi (Miotsukushi)
15. A Waste of Weeds (Yomogiu)
16. At the Pass (Sekiya)
17. The Picture Contest (Eawase)
18. Wind in the Pines (Matsukaze)
19. Wisps of Cloud (Usugumo)
20. The Bluebell (Asagao)
21. The Maidens (Otome)
22. The Tendril Wreath (Tamakazura)
23. The Warbler's First Song (Hatsune)
24. Butterflies (Kocho)
25. The Fireflies (Hotaru)
26. The Pink (Tokonatsu)
27. The Cressets (Kagaribi)
28. The Typhoon (Nowaki)
29. The Imperial Progress (Miyuki)
30. Thoroughwort Flowers (Fujibakama)
31. The Handsome Pillar (Makibashira)
32. The Plum Tree Branch (Umegae)
33. New Wisteria Leaves (Fuji no Uraba)
34. Spring Shoots I (Wakana 1)
35. Spring Shoots II (Wakana 2)
36. The Oak Tree (Kashiwagi)
37. The Flute (Yokobue)
38. The Bell Cricket (Suzumushi)
39. Evening Mist (Yugiri)
40. The Law (Minori)
41. The Seer (Maboroshi)
Vanished into the Clouds (Kumogakure)
42. The Perfumed Prince (Niou Miya)
43. Red Plum Blossoms (Kobai)
44. Bamboo River (Takekawa)
45. The Maiden of the Bridge (Hashihime)
46. Beneath the Oak (Shiigamoto)
47. Trefoil Knots (Agemaki)
48. Bracken Shoots (Sawarabi)
49. The Ivy (Yadorigi)
50. The Eastern Cottage (Azumaya)
51. A Drifting Boat (Ukifune)
52. The Mayfly (Kagero)
53. Writing Practice (Tenarai)
54. The Floating Bridge of Dreams (Yume no Ukihashi)
Clothing and Color
Offices and Titles
Summary of Poetic Allusions Identified in the Notes
Characters in The Tale of Genji