Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji

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Cambridge University Press, 2004 - Fiction - 106 pages
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Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, written in Japan in the early eleventh century, is acknowledged to be one of Japan's greatest literary achievements, and sometimes thought of as the world's first novel. It is also one of the earliest major works to be written by a woman. This introduction to the Genji sketches the cultural background, offers detailed analysis of the text, discusses matters of language and style and ends by tracing the history of its reception through nine centuries of cultural change. This book will be useful for survey courses in Japanese and World Literature. Because The Tale of Genji is so long, it is often not possible for students to read it in its entirety and this book will therefore be used not only as an introduction, but also as a guide through the difficult and convoluted plot.
  

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Contents

The cultural background
1
Murasaki Shikibu
3
Religion
5
Language
10
A grammar of sexual relations
13
History and fiction
17
The Tale of Genji
22
Penance and restitution chapters 1221
28
Kashiwagis tortured mind
57
Equivocal narration
61
Poetry in prose
63
Translations
71
Impact influence and reception
76
Murasaki in hell
80
Medieval commentaries
84
Tokugawa readings
86

A prospect of flowers chapters 2233
34
Dangerous obsessions chapters 3441
41
A passion for selfdestruction chapters 4254
47
Language and style
53
Modern readings
92
Guide to further reading
96
Bibliography
102
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Richard Bowring is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge and Master of Selwyn College, Cambridge. He is co-author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan (1993) and has written a number of Japanese Language textbooks.

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