The Tale of Genji (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics)

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9780679417385: The Tale of Genji (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics)

 

In the early eleventh century Murasaki Shikibu, a lady in the Heian court of Japan, wrote what many consider to be the world’s first novel, more than three centuries before Chaucer. The Heian era (794—1185) is recognized as one of the very greatest periods in Japanese literature, and The Tale of Genji is not only the unquestioned prose masterpiece of that period but also the most lively and absorbing account we have of the intricate, exquisite, highly ordered court culture that made such a masterpiece possible.

 

Genji is the favorite son of the emperor but also a man of dangerously passionate impulses. In his highly refined world, where every dalliance is an act of political consequence, his shifting alliances and secret love affairs create great turmoil and very nearly destroy him.

 

Edward Seidensticker’s translation of Lady Murasaki’s splendid romance has been honored throughout the English-speaking world for its fluency, scholarly depth, and deep literary tact and sensitivity.

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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.

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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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