Books & Comics

#DailyBookQuote 28Nov13 : Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji

#DailyBookQuote : 28th November 2013

 Murasaki Shikibu

–          Murasaki Shikibu (11th Century, Japan)

–          Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century, around the peak of the Heian period. It is sometimes called the world’s first novel. Notably, the novel also illustrates a unique depiction of the livelihoods of high courtiers during the Heian period. While universally considered a masterpiece, its precise classification and influence in both Western and Eastern canon has been a matter of debate. The work recounts the life of a son of the Japanese emperor, known to readers as Hikaru Genji, or “Shining Genji”. For political reasons, Genji is relegated to commoner status by being given the surname Minamoto – this took him out of the line of succession so that he would not be in danger of being suspected to overthrow the crown prince and begins a career as an imperial officer. The tale concentrates on Genji’s romantic life and describes the customs of the aristocratic society of the time. Much is made of Genji’s good looks.

Yoshitaka Amano's TRale of Genji

 

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