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"The Tale of Genji" by Lady Muraski is one of the world's most influential novels. As the first psychological novel, "The Tale of Genji" delves into the motivations and thoughts of the main characters, which had never been done in previous novels. The famous Japanese story is about Genji, the son of an emperor. When his mother died, Genji's father married another woman who greatly resembled Genji's mother. However, Genji fell in love with his new stepmother, causing problems between him and his own wife. He pursues a number of affairs, and is eventually exiled from the Capitol to a small, rural town. While Lady Murasaki did not base "The Tale of Genji" on a true story, she was inspired by a Minister in the royal court. She wrote the story in small installments for the ladies of the court, which might explain why the story was never "finished;" Lady Murasaki intended to keep the stories going as long as she possibly could. She also created some of the most memorable female characters in literature. As such, "The Tale of Genji" is widely considered to be one of the greatest works in the Japanese literature canon, as well as one of the most influential works of storytelling. Contained in this volume is the abridged translation of Suematsu Kencho.
Widely recognized as the world's first novel, as well as one of its best, the 11th-century tale of Genji the shining prince has been painstakingly and tenderly translated by Tyler, a retired professor of Japanese language and literature. Genji, the son of an emperor by one of his "Intimates" and preternaturally blessed with beauty and charm, is the center of this two-volume opus though he and his heroine die some two-thirds into the book which details both his political fortunes and his many amorous adventures. Chronicling some 75 years of court life with a dizzyingly large cast of characters, it is an epic narrative; it is also minutely attentive to particulars of character, setting, emotion even costume. While two complete English translations exist (Arthur Waley's of 1933 and Edward Seidensticker's of 1976), Tyler clearly intends his to be the definitive one. It is richer, fuller and more complicated than the others indeed, Tyler's fidelity to the bygone Japanese custom of not writing proper names can sometimes make it difficult, for example, to determine which of Genji's myriad lovers he is thinking about. Unlike Waley's translation, Tyler's is unexpurgated; unlike Seidensticker's, his is heavily annotated. New line drawings of Japanese architecture and activity complement the text, while character lists at chapter beginnings, a plot summary at the conclusion and two glossaries one of offices and titles, the other of general terms orient the reader in a multigenerational and unfamiliar world. Tyler's formality of tone (contrast Seidensticker's anachronistic "He could see her point" to Tyler's simple "He sympathized") offers readers a more graceful, convincing rendering of this 1,000-year-old masterpiece. Scholars and novices alike should be pleased. 6-city translator tour.