Reading The Tale of Genji: Sources from the First Millennium

Hardcover | December 1, 2015

EditorThomas Harper, Haruo Shirane

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The Tale of Genji, written one thousand years ago, is a masterpiece of Japanese literature, is often regarded as the best prose fiction in the language. Read, commented on, and reimagined by poets, scholars, dramatists, artists, and novelists, the tale has left a legacy as rich and reflective as the work itself.

This sourcebook is the most comprehensive record of the reception of The Tale of Genji to date. It presents a range of landmark texts relating to the work during its first millennium, almost all of which are translated into English for the first time. An introduction prefaces each set of documents, situating them within the tradition of Japanese literature and cultural history. These texts provide a fascinating glimpse into Japanese views of literature, poetry, imperial politics, and the place of art and women in society. Selections include an imagined conversation among court ladies gossiping about their favorite characters and scenes in Genji; learned exegetical commentary; a vigorous debate over the morality of Genji; and an impassioned defense of Genji's ability to enhance Japan's standing among the twentieth century's community of nations. Taken together, these documents reflect Japan's fraught history with vernacular texts, particularly those written by women.

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The Tale of Genji, written one thousand years ago, is a masterpiece of Japanese literature, is often regarded as the best prose fiction in the language. Read, commented on, and reimagined by poets, scholars, dramatists, artists, and novelists, the tale has left a legacy as rich and reflective as the work itself. This sourcebook is the...

Thomas Harper is retired from the Centre for Japanese and Korean Studies at Leiden University. He is the translator of In Praise of Shadows and other essays by Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, and the author of a number of scholarly articles on the reception of The Tale of Genji.Haruo Shirane, Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:632 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:December 1, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231166583

ISBN - 13:9780231166584

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Table of Contents

IllustrationsAbbreviationsChapter Titles of The Tale of GenjiIntroduction1. Early Discussions of FictionKagero Diary, by The Mother of MichitsunaEarlier Collected Poems of the Great Kamo Priestess, by Princess SenshiPreface to The Illustrated Three Treasures, by Minamoto no TamenoriThe Pillow Book, by Sei ShonagonThe Tale of Genji, by Murasaki ShikibuThe Diary of Murasaki Shikibu, by Murasaki ShikibuSarashina Diary, by The Daughter of Sugawara no Takasue2. Genji Gossip (Plus a Bit of Good Advice)A Nameless NotebookThe ListsForty-Eight Exemplars from GenjiA Key to GenjiExemplars from Genji[Untitled]The MatchesThe Feelings of People in Genji: A Match (Awa no kuni bunko text)Genji: A ContestThe Feelings of People in Genji: A Match (Suzuki manuscript)The Women in Ise and Genji: A Match in Twelve RoundsThe Nursemaid's Letter, by Abutsu3. Toward CanonizationSenzaishu, by Fujiwara no Shunzei and Kitamura KiginPoetry Contest in Six Hundred Rounds, by Fujiwara no Shunzei"Lord Shunzei's Memorial in Japanese Script, Submitted in 1200", by Fujiwara no ShunzeiExplicating Murasaki, by SojakuDiary of the Juntoku Retired Emperor, by The Juntoku Retired EmperorFull Moon Diary, by Fujiwara no TeikaOral Transmissions of the GoToba Retired Emperor, by The GoToba Retired EmperorConversations with the Kyogoku Middle Counselor, by Fujiwara no NagatsunaPreface to Sino-Japanese Poems on The Tale of the Shining Genji4. Obsequies for GenjiThe Mirror of the Present, by Fujiwara no TametsuneCollected Poems of the Mother of Acting Middle Counselor Lord Saneki, by The Mother of Acting Middle Counselor Lord SanekiCollection of Fujiwara no Takanobu, by Fujiwara no Takanobu New Imperial Collection of Poetry, by Fujiwara no Muneie"A Dedicatory Proclamation for The Tale of Genji", by ChokenThe Story of Obsequies for Genji, by Seikaku5. The Tale of Genji Apocrypha"Pillowed upon His Arm", by Motoori NorinagaThe "Sakurahito" FragmentsThe Six "Hidden in Cloud" ChaptersThe "Sumori" Fragments"Dew on the Mountain Path"6. Medieval Commentary"Notes on the Rainy Night's Discussion", by SogiKaoku's Gleanings, by Kaoku GyokueiGyokuei's Collection, by Kaoku GyokueiThe Moonlit Lake Commentary, by Kitamura Kigin7. Edo-Period TreatisesDiscursive Commentary on Genji, by Kumazawa BanzanSeven Essays on Murasaki Shikibu, by Ando TameakiraThe Tale of Genji: A Little Jeweled Comb, by Motoori NorinagaFrom Blossoms to Moonlight, by Matsudaira SadanobuA Critical Appraisal of Genji, by Hagiwara Hiromichi8. Modern ReceptionIntroduction to Genji Monogatari: The Most Celebrated of the Classical Japanese Romances, by Suematsu KenchoThe Essence of the Novel, by Tsubouchi ShoyoPreface to A New Exegesis of The Tale of Genji, by Sassa Seisetsu"Upon Finishing Shin'yaku Genji monogatari", by Yosano AkikoAfterword to Shin-shin'yaku Genji monogatari, by Yosano Akiko"The Tale of Genji: The First Volume of Mr. Arthur Waley's Translation of a Great Japanese Novel by the Lady Murasaki", by Virginia Woolf"On Reading the Classics", by Masamune Hakucho"On Translating The Tale of Genji into Modern Japanese" Tanizaki Jun'ichiroIndex

Editorial Reviews

Readers familiar with The Tale of Genji will find that this collection adds considerable depth to their understanding of Japanese cultural history.... Highly recommended.