The Tale of Genji (unabridged)

The Tale of Genji (unabridged)


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“A graceful, lucid translation of the world’s first, and one of its greatest, novels.”—Alan Tansman, University of California, Berkeley

Murasaki Shikibu, born into the middle ranks of the aristocracy during the Heian period (794–1185 CE), wrote The Tale of Genji—widely considered the world’s first novel—during the early years of the eleventh century. Expansive, compelling, and sophisticated in its representation of ethical concerns and aesthetic ideals, Murasaki’s tale came to occupy a central place in Japan’s remarkable history of artistic achievement and is now recognized as a masterpiece of world literature.

The Tale of Genji is presented here in a flowing new translation for contemporary readers, who will discover in its depiction of the culture of the imperial court the rich complexity of human experience that simultaneously resonates with and challenges their own. Washburn sets off interior monologues with italics for fluid reading, embeds some annotations for accessibility and clarity, and renders the poetry into triplets to create prosodic analogues of the original.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393047875
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/27/2015
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 1360
Sales rank: 318,597
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 2.60(d)

About the Author

Dennis Washburn is Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies at Dartmouth College. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University in Japanese language and literature. He lives in Hanover, New Hampshire.

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The Tale of Genji 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wish I'd realized... if you enlarge the cover it says abridged, but nowhere does the description say this. So, I've got an abridged ebook, and there are no returns on ebooks. Really annoyed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although it's a slow read because you have to pay close attention- every detail counts- this has to be one of the best books I've ever read. It's long, but worth every second it takes to read it. If you're interested in the Japanese culture, this is a great book. It tells a wonderful, enthralling tale that intrigues you and keeps you going- it makes you want more. If you don't get into it in the first few chapters- don't give up hope- you'd be passing by one of the greatest novels ever written. Just have some patience and stick with it. It will definitely pay off.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book, most of the times. It was a great read in a reality, but you really have to follow it closely. There really is no way that you can't pay attention and absorb what's being said. Every time my mind wondered away from what I was reading, I found myself at a loss of what I just read. Therefore, it was confusing at times with all the jumping around and some of the descriptions, but there was great detail that made the book well-written. I would definitely recommend this book, but only to those who are interested in history and especially Japanese history. It was an excellent insight on their culture that I enjoyed completely. I truly believed that the author, Murasaki, got her point across quite well. This story was obviously written for mainly women audiences and I believe that she achieved her purpose in doing so. She was able to get across how women lived and were treated in the eleventh century of Japan that she was living in herself. She made it clear about her place in society and what it was like, so she was able to get it across very well. She definitely accomplished her purpose in educating the reader on how life was like for women in such a time period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like this well enough but i really thought need edited.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though The Tale of Genji was well-written, I personally found it a boring read. Many parts of the book are difficult to understand and I had to re-read them many times. Also, I think the book would be better suited for people more interested in history, because of its details of the eleventh century time period. I also thought that the story was more about women in the time period, and how they were treated, then about the character Genji himself. I felt like the book just seemed to run on at some points. I would not recommend this book to someone unless they have a great interest in history. However, I do think that the author got her purpose across, and the book was well-written based on the topic. The book was about life during the Imperial Court in Japan. The plot follows Genji's life, taking the reader through many of the affairs that he went through so they could get a detailed glimpse of life in this time period such as love affairs, politics, and the culture. I think that the author targeted the book at a women audience based on the many women characters seen throughout the novel and the look the author gives the reader on how they were treated.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Genji is the ultimate Prince. So much admire by everyone and so dear to many people around him. His elegance and grace surpassed anything that exist before him. Superbly written to give us a glimse into 11 century Japan Imperial Court. The Tale of Genji brings readers to a new threshold of enjoyment and fascination.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World History Review: I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone. It's about hotshot Genji, getting mostly everyone he wants. Not only students who are learning about japan should read this but everyone should read this masterpiece. People get an inside point of view of what was really happening in the royal court in japan. Mostly because the author, Murasaki Shikibu took inspirations from the royals and court life when she wrote it. So basically it shows the Chinese culture they used and the intense patriarchy they had going on, no to mention the concubines. You will find this interesting because you get to see what the emperors would do just to impress others. Genji's life was very interesting, considering he was a player. He ends up sleeping with 14 different women. Shikibu could have made the tale much shorter. Some chapters were very long and unimportant. Like there were a few that didn't matter at all. At times, it was going so slow you would fall asleep. Still, The Tale of Genji is one of the best and most interesting books i have ever read.
bookczuk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My university copy of this book. We have another on our home library shelf. When I was studying Asian History, this was a must read. I don't remember much, except that this is often referred to as the world's first novel -- lots of pillow talk, and descriptions of sleeves as well.It's considered a classic both from Eastern and Western standpoints.
Audacity88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There's a lot of beauty in Genji's world, but his character is in the end too shallow to make his story worthwhile.
JessicaMarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Tale of Genji is a rare glimpse into eleventh century Japan. Murasaki Shikibu does a magnificent job describing the life at the imperial court. The story follows the life of Genji who is the son of the emperor, but his mother is of very low rank so he is unable to become an heir. Even though Genji cannot become an heir to the thrown he is the jewel of the imperial court, being talented in everything that was valued at the time including: poetry, dance, koto playing, and a keen eye for ascetics. Some could say that Genji is the equivalent of the European Renaissance man.The good looks that the people at court thought would lead to Genji having a short life, proved to be wrong and ended up turning Genji into s true ladies man. Most of the story is consumed by Genji's affairs, which can be a bit tiresome and confusing. Genji chose some rather unexpected characters to become his lovers including a little girl that he brings to the palace to shape into the perfect wife. One good thing about all of Genji's affairs is it gives the reader the chance to read many different Waka, which are two lined poems that would be exchanged between lovers.I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Japanese history, since it is written by someone who lived during the Heian period. This book is also good for anyone who truly enjoys classics because it is considered one of the WORLD's first novels. However if you don't mind lengthy books, I would recommend reading the unabridged version which has 54 chapters compared to the 12 available in this version. One plus to the abridged version is it is full of woodblock printings inspired by the novel.
elevbess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Tale of Genji, what can you say? It might be considered the world's first psychological novel, but some consider it deadly boring, some consider it a soap opera set in Heian Japan, others can never get past Genji's so-called "Oedipus Complex." I find a wonderful, relaxing escape to a long ago society. Dig beneath the surface of Genji's numerous romantic escapades and you'll find that he really is a well drawn character, with as many flaws and merits. His journey is worth following.If you are only going to read one translation of the Genji, make sure it's the Royall Tyler one. This is a beautiful, beautiful translation. Seidensticker can be rather dry, and Waley can have some rather jarring anachronism, but this one just flows so smoothly and is true to the somewhat intuitive style of the original Japanese. This is also a book that you shouldn't read in a hurry. Take the time to savor it. Maybe even just a chapter here, a chapter there. Curl up with a cup of tea and just drift for a while.
RoC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a great book! Admittedly it took me two goes to read it, but the first time i tried I was commuting to work by walking several miles and it is a great big brick of a novel. Now i drive everywhere thats much less of a problem.It also took me quite a while to get into - the elliptical way of referring to people and events was quite confusing at first, as are the very japanese sensibilities. However, well worth persavereing with. I'd almost like to learn japanese so I coudl go and read it in the original, but somehow I can't see that happening. I'd also like to read other translations, though by all accounts the [[Waley]] version has less to do with the original text than you would suppose from a translation. I'll have to keep an eye out for other versions.
Airycat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted so badly to like this one. Unfortunately, it made me think of today's soap operas and didn't hold my attention very well. I finished it only because I read it for a class.
banshea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story is wonderful, at once grounded in an idealized Heian Japan and universal. The trappings are peculiar to the setting, of course, but the motivations, emotions, and responses of the characters are perfectly intelligible to the modern reader. In other words, it's everything you'd expect from a work that has the distinction of being the world's oldest novel.That's the good news. The bad news is that it's long and complex, which makes it a difficult read. Murasaki Shikibu didn't use any names for her characters when she wrote it. Instead she referred to characters rather obliquely by things like title or place of residence, which often change over the course of the story.I've found that it's a book you cannot put down and come back to later and be able to pick up right where you left off. It's too complex for that. Rather, you have to be able to dedicate yourself to reading the book from start to finish, which is difficult to do given its length.Casual readers will probably prefer an abridged version of this classic. Liza Dalby's Tale of Murasaki is also an excellent and accessible introduction to this work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
coffeephilosopher More than 1 year ago
The description doesn't tell you that it's incredibly abridged... like one tenth the length of the original book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Warning! This is only volume 1 and not the whole book.
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