Quotes from book
The Tale of Genji

Murasaki ShikibuOriginal title 源氏物語 (Japanese)

The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century. The original manuscript no longer exists. It was made in "concertina" or orihon style: several sheets of paper pasted together and folded alternately in one direction then the other, around the peak of the Heian period. The work is a unique depiction of the lifestyles of high courtiers during the Heian period, written in archaic language and a poetic and confusing style that make it unreadable to the average Japanese without dedicated study. It was not until the early 20th century that Genji was translated into modern Japanese, by the poet Akiko Yosano. The first English translation was attempted in 1882, but was of poor quality and incomplete.


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„Real things in the darkness seem no realer than dreams.“

—  Murasaki Shikibu, book The Tale of Genji
Tale of Genji, The Tale of Genji, trans. Arthur Waley, Ch. 1: Kiritsubo

Murasaki Shikibu photo

„The sadness of things.“

—  Murasaki Shikibu, book The Tale of Genji
Tale of Genji, Passim. Cf. Lacrimae rerum. Variant translations: The pathos of things. A sensitivity to things. The sorrow of human existence.

Murasaki Shikibu photo
Murasaki Shikibu photo
Murasaki Shikibu photo
Murasaki Shikibu photo
Murasaki Shikibu photo
Murasaki Shikibu photo
Murasaki Shikibu photo

„It is in general the unexplored that attracts us.“

—  Murasaki Shikibu, book The Tale of Genji
Tale of Genji, The Tale of Genji, trans. Arthur Waley, Ch. 9: Aoi

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