The Tale of Genji (源氏物語, Genji monogatari) is a classic work of Japanese literature written . Arthur Waley, who made the first English translation of the whole of The Tale of Genji, believed that the work as we have it was finished. Ivan Morris. “What Waley did create is literary art of extraordinary beauty that brings to life in English the world Murasaki Shikibu imagined. The beauty of his. Indeed, “The Tale of Genji”—now available in a new translation by . The two most famous English translations of “Genji”—Arthur Waley’s.

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But if someone wanted to enjoy a lively reading, Waley might be a better choice. Royall Tyler, in his edition of the Tale of Genji cited below, also draws attention to the entry in Murasaki Shikibu’s diary: Notify me of new comments via email. It has its own theory behind it, that is, how Meiji writers like Suematsu Kencho were influenced by Western writers enough so that they attempted to interpret Genji in that mold.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Tale of Genji. I agree with the comment that this could be a lifetime of reading.

Two versions are available online. For political reasons, the emperor removes Genji from the line of succession, demoting him to a commoner by giving him the surname Minamotoand he pursues a career as an imperial officer.

How to Choose English Translation of The Tale of Genji

The Genji is also often referred to as “the first novel”, [32] though there is considerable debate over this — some of the debate involving whether Genji can even be considered a “novel”. This gives waleg to anachronisms ; for instance Genji’s first wife is named Aoi because she is known as the lady of the Aoi chapter, in which she dies.


Between the two, one being a retelling of sorts and the other a faithful rendition, hope to be able to capture the spirit of this work. Even if it is not available in your library, most libraries nowadays can take a request and ship a book from another library. This guide has been most helpful.

An anime television series was made in by director Osamu Dezaki. Genji loves her first as a stepmother, but later as a woman, and they fall in love with each other. InWorldCat identifies 88 editions of this book.

How to Choose English Translation of The Tale of Genji – Kitsune’s Thoughts

Written text from the earliest illustrated handscroll 12th century. Both the original and the modern Japanese versions are available online.

Most remaining manuscripts are based on copies of the Teika manuscript which introduced revisions in the original. This question is more difficult because we do not know exactly when the chapters acquired their titles.

Thank you for your input! The Tale of Genji Genji Monogatari c. Sennen no Nazo Ivan Morrisauthor of The World of the Shining Princebelieved that it was not complete, with later chapters missing. Overall, I prefer Tyler and I think it would be the easist to follow for a first time reader. Writing in Chinese characters was at the time a masculine pursuit; women were generally discreet when using Chinese symbols, confining themselves mostly to native Japanese words yamato kotoba.


Then another of Genji’s secret love affairs is exposed: I did link that review, but this post goes beyond it. Genji and his wife, Lady Aoi, reconcile. The hero of the tale, Prince Genji, is a shining example of the Heian-era ideal man—accomplished in poetry, dance, music, painting, and, not least of all to the novel’s many plots, romance. The titles are largely derived from poetry that is quoted within the text, or allusions to various characters.

It really surprises me that no one has commented on the fact that the Tyler is the only translation of the complete extant Japanese text and that the Seidensticker and the Waley are just excerpts from the complete work.

It seems to continue the story from the previous chapters, but has an unusually abstract chapter title.

This site uses cookies. Paperback reprints of the translations by Suematsu, Waley and Seidensticker have been published by Charles E. Her literary ability quickly won her a place in the entourage of the Empress Akiko.

It is the only chapter whose title has no clear reference within the text, but this may be because the chapter is unfinished.