Tale of Genji

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The Tale of Genji has been long considered Japan’s greatest work of literature and one of the world’s greatest novels. Written in the early years of the eleventh century by the court lady Murasaki Shikibu, the very long romance, spanning 54 chapters, first captured the attention of Western readers when Arthur Waley’s translation, now a classic in its own right, revealed an unsuspected world of elegance and romance centring around court life in tenth-century Japan.

This masterly translation by Edward G. Seidensticker, does not attempt to supplant Waley’s, but rather to reflect with more accuracy and with less elaboration the work that Lady Murasaki actually created while in the service of the empress Akiko in the first decade of the eleventh century. It contains innumerable interesting and delightful revelations about Lady Murasaki’s story of the life and loves of the main hero, an idealised prince known as 'the shining Genji', and other characters and about court life of Heian Japan.