The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

Paperback | December 30, 1991

Translated byIvan MorrisbySei Shonagon

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The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon is a fascinating, detailed account of Japanese court life in the eleventh century. Written by a lady of the court at the height of Heian culture, this book enthralls with its lively gossip, witty observations, and subtle impressions. Lady Shonagon was an erstwhile rival of Lady Murasaki, whose novel, The Tale of Genji, fictionalized the elite world Lady Shonagon so eloquently relates. Featuring reflections on royal and religious ceremonies, nature, conversation, poetry, and many other subjects, The Pillow Book is an intimate look at the experiences and outlook of the Heian upper class, further enriched by Ivan Morris's extensive notes and critical contextualization.

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The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon is a fascinating, detailed account of Japanese court life in the eleventh century. Written by a lady of the court at the height of Heian culture, this book enthralls with its lively gossip, witty observations, and subtle impressions. Lady Shonagon was an erstwhile rival of Lady Murasaki, whose novel, Th...

Ivan Morris (1925-1976) was considered the most versatile Japanese translator of his generation and wrote widely on modern and ancient Japan. He taught at Columbia University and was chair of its Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. His books include translations of Lady Sarashina's As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, Jiro Os...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:419 pages, 5.3 × 7.8 × 1.04 inPublished:December 30, 1991Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231073372

ISBN - 13:9780231073370

Customer Reviews of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from As good as it gets For those of you interested in the japanese Heian period, you will be delighted. The translator is a genius; he includes graphics (costumes, carriages, the calendar of the time, etc) and also describes play on words and puns. This book is very interesting and a pleasure to read!
Date published: 2000-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enchanting and Entralling I found myself completely drawn into the world of ancient Japan. Excellent book - I look forward to reading it again. I knew very little of Heian culture of one thousand years ago, but I found Ivan Morris' footnotes to be most useful. 5 stars!
Date published: 1999-07-16

Extra Content

Table of Contents

The calenderThe governmentPlacesHome provinces and neighbouring provincesThe surroundings of the capitalThe capitalClothes, houses, etc.ClothesHousesVehiclesLetters, games, musical instrumentsChronology

Editorial Reviews

Shonagon comes through vividly.... [Morris] has given us for the first time in full a delightful and fascinating book which is also a work of notable scholarship.