The Tale of Genji [NOOK Book]

Overview

Published by the female aristocrat, Murasaki Shikibu, somewhere around the year one thousand eleven. Consisting of 54 chapters, it is generally considered to be the world's first true novel, and thereby occupies a critical role in the world's literary canon. It is almost universally acknowledged that this book is the finest flower of all Japanese literature, past or present.
The Tale of Genji offers an unparalleled glimpse into the spirit and grandeur of the Heian era of Japan, ...
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The Tale of Genji

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Overview

Published by the female aristocrat, Murasaki Shikibu, somewhere around the year one thousand eleven. Consisting of 54 chapters, it is generally considered to be the world's first true novel, and thereby occupies a critical role in the world's literary canon. It is almost universally acknowledged that this book is the finest flower of all Japanese literature, past or present.
The Tale of Genji offers an unparalleled glimpse into the spirit and grandeur of the Heian era of Japan, which extended from 794 AD to 1191, between the Nara and Kamakura eras. During this era of peace and economic stability, an aristocracy controlled by the Fujiwara family dominated Japan, and the nation's capital was located at Kyoto. This period was a classic age of art and literature. Japan's culture was no longer one largely borrowed from China but had become distinctively Japanese. The ruling classes lived lives of luxury and prosperity, pursuing the fine arts and music. A man was measured as much by the quality of his poetry as by the strength of his sword.

Prince Genji, the hero of this sparkling chronicle of court life, is a complex personality and a peerless lover. It is on the field of love, not on the fields of battle, that the romantic Genji excels. With consummate sensitivity, he responds differently to meet the needs of each woman he captivates. That his character has enthralled readers ever since the tale first appeared is a tribute to its author. But the novel is also unforgettable for its rich poetry, imagery, and imaginative wordplay.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012162588
  • Publisher: A.J. Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 850
  • Sales rank: 392,568
  • File size: 1,010 KB

Meet the Author

Murasaki Shikibu, was born in about 978 in Kyoto. Her real name is unknown, and it is thought she was called Murasaki after the heroine in her novel. After her husband's death in 1001, she considered devoting her life to religious service, but by 1005 she was a courtier to the empress Joto Mon'in. Murasaki charmed the court with her beautiful verses, as is evident from the diary she kept from 1007 to 1010, the main source of information about her life. The Tale of Genji was composed sometime between 1001 and 1010. The novel demonstrates Murasaki's sensitivity to human elnotions, her love of nature, and her great learning in many subjects, including Chinese. The best-known English translation of this work was made by Arthur Waley in 1935, although a more modern translation was produced by Edward Seidensticker more recently. Murasaki Shikibu's diary is also published in English. Murasaki died in Kyoto in about 1014.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(13)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2010

    Darn! This is an abridged version.

    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.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    Not the unabridged edition

    Despite linking to this page from the unabridged Seidensticker edition, this is neither Seidensticker nor unabridged. My rating here is meaningless. It only reflects the fact that I had to give a rating to post this comment.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2005

    CLASSIC!

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2002

    The Tale to be Hold

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Warning! This is only volume 1 and not the whole book.

    Warning! This is only volume 1 and not the whole book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Abridged

    THIS IS ABRIGED! IF YOUR LIKE ME AND HHHAAATTTEEE ABRIGED BOOKS! DONT GET IT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2013

    Part 1 - Review - Settle dispute over abridged vs. unabridged

    To settle a running issue in the reviews, I just purchased this book, it is indeed UNABRIDGED. The only "flaw", is the OCR of the original book converted all of the ending "Os" in the Japanese names into a "?" or question mark. Sad, for it mars a perfect book. When I have completed reading the book, then I will provide a content review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    I like this well enough.

    I like this well enough but i really thought need edited.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Lol

    Didnt even buy it

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    I enjoyed reading this book, most of the times. It was a great r

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    A Tragic tale part 1

    Ther are many Tragic tales in this world. I am here to tell only one of them. Let the story begin.

    Thunderkit opened his eyes after a good nights sleep. "Two more moons till I'm an apprentice" he thought.

    "Hey small fry when are you going to get up and actually be useful?" Smirked his sister Flamekit

    "I see why mama beats you. Your useless and ugly. Were out of here." Said his brother Grasskit

    They left laughing at Thunderkit. He cringed thinking of his mother. She was a pretty white cat with bright green eyes. It's true that she beats him. But not with just her paws. Oh no she did it with her claws.

    "THUNDERKIT GET UP NOW!" shouted his mother Daisypetal

    "I'm.....I'm coming!" Mewed Thunderkit

    "The leader wants you and he wants you NOW." Shouted Daisypetal "I hope he kills you. Your worthless. I don't want you even."

    I pad into the leaders den shaking. Why was mama always so mean? What did I do to diserve it? Its it because I was born Black? Or is It because I have green eyes?

    "Thunderkit come here." Said Berrystar

    "ye...yes sir."


    END OF PART 1

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    The Tale Of Gengi Review

    At first I thought that The Tale of Genji would be an ok book. But when I started reading it I couldn't put it down. The only problem I had with the book is that some parts were really confusing and it jumped around a whole lot. For the most part I had to reread it and take it in bits of pieces. So pretty much what im saying it isn't a book that you can just fly through. You really need to break it down and think through it. If you really like history or enjoy Japanese culture than I believe this a really good and interesting book to read. It was really amazing and outrageous to read about different cultures and how they depended on life in there period of time. When I was reading I loved how vivid the story was when they were described the court life. It was so vivid that when I read it I could actually see it in my head as if actually I was there during the time. They described the events beautifully. Talking about the plot, well the plot is mostly about Genji`s life. The book really went through and talked about the affairs he had with many woman. It pretty much showed you his life at his time period. It didn't just show his affairs with different woman but even about his culture. Genji had a really rough time and I don't think he new what he was doing at the time. Genji had everything in front of him but to me he never opened his heart up for anything. I believe he was a very ignorant type that used many people than he would help. But then again his life at his time and period it wasn't easy and was really different from today's life. In many parts of the book it would make you think how lucky we are today that we didn't or don't have to got through the things they did at the time. One main thing that really made me think is how woman were treated at the time and it would probably kill me to be hidden all day and not seeing men all the time. That's why I really liked this book because it really explained and made you think how lucky we are today then to be treated in Genji`s time. I really loved this book and its one of m favorites I do to recommend it to everyone but mainly people that love history or Japanese culture.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

    AP World History Review: Well-written, but boring at times

    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.

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Genji needs a bottle

    The Tale of Genji is quite the adventure of one prince in Japan. Through many unfortunate events Genji continues on his way through life trying to remain positive and happy. However, he fails miserably in several affairs, is betrothed to a Princess several years older than he who hates him for unexplained reasons. Through every extra marital affair Genji explores (and there are many) he has horrible luck as well. He always falls in love with what he can't have and then looses interest when the affections are returned. He runs several prominent women into the nunnery by his behavior and even has several die on him. He kidnaps another Prince's daughter because he wanted to, and then drives her crazy with his hot and cold advances. I think I delighted in his adventures with his friends, more than all the late night excursions he went to with various ladies. The court life and festivals were described beautifully and added a richer element to the tale. The description of wardrobes, poems, artistic works and explanations on why each of these was used in certain situation was very enjoyable. Overall, I would have preferred a more historically based story, than what ended feeling like nothing more than one mans indiscretions and all that can possibly go wrong. He should have corked himself up, and his life might have been less stressful and painful in the end.

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  • Posted March 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Tale of Geji

    I was a bit skeptical when I bought the book and thought I would hold off on reading it until better times (when I have nothing else to read). But once I read couple of pages I wasn't able to stop. The language is very beautiful, even though it's hard to understand sometimes. The poem and verses that the characters address to each other are very touching and actually express their feelings more than author's narration would have. In the beginning of the book the translator said that the book was written in stages, that the author didn't write the whole thing all together, but rather had it unfold over couple of years. And it's actually very noticable, if you compare the writing in the beginning and at the end. But I think it's a very unique way of writing a book or a novel, because we can see that the author matured over the years and, so did the writing style.
    Over all I think it's a really good book and I definitely did not expect it. I also believe that this book really shows how different that time was comparing to ours. When I was reading this book I started to compare how everyone treated each other and how men behaved towards women....... This book makes you think about certain topics of our every day lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2007

    Long but has its strong points.

    The Tale of Genji unfolds almost like a modern-day soap opera. And although the tale touches on the historical importance of its time, most of the book is focused solely on the love affairs men enjoyed with women and the consequences that came about. With knowledge that the book was written by a woman, where in her time women wrote to entertain themselves, it is fair to say that The Tale of Genji succeeds in providing its intended female audience a grand entertaining tale. So absorbed is the book with love affairs, however, that one is left wondering if even the males enjoyed any other activities in life other than their personal relationships. The book¿s description of its characters, particularly that of Genji leave a powerful impression on the reader. The tale is surprisingly engrossing and enjoyable to read, but at times difficult to follow. It seems the tale is indeed ¿patched together¿ as often times readers may find themselves returning back to previous chapters to understand exactly what is being discussed. It is worth noting that an interesting aspect of the novel is its wide use of poetry. There are literally hundreds of poems located within the novel, and like the novel itself, these poems, though entertaining, can be difficult to follow for the general reader. Perhaps the book¿s biggest disappointments occur with the death of Genji. It is hard to imagine the main character and hero of the book dead long before the book reaches its end, but that is precisely what occurs in this novel. The general reader may find it difficult to adjust to an almost completely new set of characters with a similar plot for the remaining chapters. Of course it is the novel¿s length that is most difficult to bear. The novel endlessly stretches on without a solid plot or timeline that makes it seem never-ending. When the end is finally reached, the reader may be disappointed that the book seems unfinished and startlingly comes to an abrupt end without notice. All in all, this book might be recommended only for those with a true appreciation of Japanese writing. It is not a book that even the most avid of readers will be able to breeze through it requires a slower, more methodical method of reading. In fact, it is very likely that the reader will want to return to parts of the novel several times seeking clarity or further explanation as events unfold. This is not a story that has a clear structure. The story does seem to jump around a bit, and even though it offers much love and tragedy, it fails to satisfy the reader with its less-than-exciting ending. For its history alone and the very way it came to exist in today¿s literature collections, the book deserves at least three stars out of five.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2007

    Tale of Genji

    Tale of Genji is a very good read. You must however, alot quite a bit of time and then sometimes reread certain sections. Genji is a wonderful book in which matters of the heart are looked at from a different era and by a different prespective. Genji is written in the time of the Imperial Court of Japan and offers the reader a little look at what life was like during that time. Genji is quite the playboy and he has the love of several different women. In some ways I feel sorrow for Genji. He is looking so hard for love that he doesn't realize he has it all along. I also think when it comes to insight, the book is great in this respect because it is written by a female author who is considered to be one of the greatest Japanese artist of her time. Once again a very good book, but lenghty.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2005

    Incredibly enjoyable, well worth the time

    This book is an exquisite tale of a adored 11th century Japanese prince. Although the sheer size may be off-putting, you should definitely reconsider, especially if you are a fan of Asian culture. The story and particularly the characters are sometimes hard to follow but once you are secure with the rhythm and style of Murasaki's writing, you will be utterly enthralled.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    Very good book

    Eventhough I have not read it yet, but from the review I'm very sure it's a very very interesting book. Please read it and support the asian culture!~

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    Excellent Book

    Very good book about the Japanese Imperial Court. The translator soothed the major pain of the difficult names of the characters. In the original Japanese and translated Chinese versions (which is very close to Japanese). Yet, you should read the original if you can or Chinese or Korean (not as good as Chinese) translations. The character names are very difficult. For example, when a comcubine becomes a queen, she sometimes takes another title and it is very easy to get lost in the book. Also, in the original, the some characters are not given names until much later or not at all. Yet, overall, this book is excellent. If you really enjoyed this book, try the Red Chamber Dream. The story is somewhat similar yet is way better in poetry, characters, and major plot line.

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