The Tale of Genji is the Japanese classic written by the noblewoman Lady Murasaki in the 11th century. It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first psychological novel, or the first novel still to be considered a classic. While hard to classify precisely, it is universally considered a masterpiece in both Western and Eastern fiction. The novelist Yasunari Kawabata said in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: "The Tale of Genji in particular is the highest pinnacle of Japanese literature. Even down to our day there has not been a piece of fiction to compare with it." Critics have often described The Tale of Genji as the oldest, first, and/or greatest novel in Japanese literature.
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In the eleventh century Murasaki Shikibu, a lady in the Heian court of Japan, wrote the world's first novel. But The Tale of Genji is no mere artifact. It is, rather, a lively and astonishingly nuanced portrait of a refined society where every dalliance is an act of political consequence, a play of characters whose inner lives are as rich and changeable as those imagined by Proust. Chief of these is "the shining Genji," the son of the emperor and a man whose passionate impulses create great turmoil in his world and very nearly destroy him. This edition, recognized as the finest version in English, contains a dozen chapters from early in the book, carefully chosen by the translator, Edward G. Seidensticker, with an introduction explaining the selection. It is illustrated throughout with woodcuts from a seventeenth-century edition.
"From the Trade Paperback edition.From the Back Cover:
The Tale of Genji is a very long romance, running to fifty-four chapters and describing the court life of Heian Japan, from the tenth century into the eleventh.
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