Tale of Genji: A Reader's Guide

Overview

"Those who wish to deepen their acquaintance with Murasaki's wondrous world will certainly find Puette's guide most helpful." —The Japan Times

This is the most complete reader's guide available on Japan's highly revered novel, the eleventh-century classic, The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, referred to by Nobel Laureate Yasunari Kawabata as the "highest pinnacle of Japanese literature." Written specifically to accompany the translation of the work by Arthur Waley and Edward...

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Overview

"Those who wish to deepen their acquaintance with Murasaki's wondrous world will certainly find Puette's guide most helpful." —The Japan Times

This is the most complete reader's guide available on Japan's highly revered novel, the eleventh-century classic, The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, referred to by Nobel Laureate Yasunari Kawabata as the "highest pinnacle of Japanese literature." Written specifically to accompany the translation of the work by Arthur Waley and Edward G. Seidensticker, this guide offers detailed summaries and thematic commentaries, as well as cross-referenced notes on the novel's many characters. It also charts the essential progress of The Tale of Genji and introduces the reader to the more subtle complexities, literary devices, and conventions of Lady Murasaki's Heian Japan.

No longer does the reader have to try and guess the novel's cultural and historical milieu. The author presents brief, illustrated essays on historical, philosophical, and cultural features of the novel, and discusses such relevant aspects as the balance between the tenets of Shintoism and Buddhism, the pervasive concepts of karma in human relationships, and the poetic aspects of aware. Both general readers and literature students will find the background information contained in this "companion" indispensable to their reading and interpretation of this complex novel.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9784805310847
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/15/2009
  • Series: Tuttle Classics Series
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

William J. Puette, poet and lecturer, first became interested in the world of The Tale of Genji as a resident of Kyoto, where the novel is set and where he lived and studied. He has taught Japanese literature at the University of Hawaii, and is a founding member of the Humanities Group for Asian Studies.

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Table of Contents

List of Japanese Chapter Titles with Translations 7
List of Illustrations 11
Acknowledgments 13
Introduction 17
Part 1 The World of Genji
I Heian Japan 23
Daily Life at Court 29
II The Way of the Gods and the Three Foreign Teachings 37
III "Aware" and Heian Poetics 42
IV Biography of Murasaki Shikibu 50
V The Translations 55
Part 2 The Tale of Genji
VI Detailed Chapter Precis with Commentaries of Chapters 1-9 61
VII Summaries of Chapters 10-54 86
Part 3 For Further Study
VIII Notes on the Structure of the Novel 143
IX Critical Questions for Study 149
Appendixes
1. Names, Titles, and Sobriquets, Cross-indexed for the Waley and Seidensticker Translations 154
2. Comparative Age Charts 174
3. Maps of Places Mentioned
Japan: Heian Period 175
Heian Kyo and Environs 176
Street Map of the Center and Left Side of Heian Kyo 178
Imperial Palace Buildings 179
Notes 181
Bibliography 185
Glossary-Index 191
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