Tale of Genji

Murasaki Shikibu

Murasaki Shikibu (mōō´räsä´kē shē´kēbōō´), c.978–1031?, Japanese novelist, court figure at the height of the Heian period (794–1185). Known also as Lady Murasaki, she is celebrated as the author of the romantic novel Genji-Monogatari [tale of Genji], one of the first great works of fiction to be written in Japanese and often considered the world's first novel. Written in long, flowing, lyrical sentences, it concerns the life and loves of Prince Genji and his descendants and is a subtle and thorough delineation of a complex society.

See her diary translated by R. Bowring (1982); classic translation of Genji by Arthur Waley (1925, repr. 2000); modern translations by E. G. Seidensticker (1976), R. Tyler (2001), and D. Washburn (2015).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Tale of Genji: Selected full-text books and articles

The Tale of Genji: A Novel in Six Parts By Lady Murasaki; Arthur Waley Modern Library, 1960
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Images of Japanese Women: A Westerner's View By Bettina L. Knapp Whitston, 1992
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji: Search for the Mother"
18th Century Japan: Culture and Society By C. Andrew Gerstle Curzon Press, 2000
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "The Tale of Genji in the Eighteenth Century: Keichu, Mabuchi, Norinaga"
Heroic with Grace: Legendary Women of Japan By Chieko Irie Mulhern M.E. Sharpe, 1991
Librarian's tip: Chap. 3 "Murasaki Shikibu: The Court Lady"
Gender Is Fair Game: (Re)thinking the (Fe)male in the Works of Oba Minako By Michiko N. Wilson M. E. Sharpe, 1999
Librarian's tip: "Marinated in Memory: 'Conversations' with Lady Murasaki" begins on p. 123
Japanese Literature: An Introduction for Western Readers By Donald Keene Grove Press, 1955
Librarian's tip: Discussion of The Tale of Genji begins on p. 70
Masterworks of Asian Literature in Comparative Perspective: A Guide for Teaching By Barbara Stoler Miller M.E. Sharpe, 1994
Librarian's tip: Discussion of The Tale of Genji begins on p. 390
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