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The Tale of Genji Vol. 1

Refer to "The Tale of Genji (源氏物語, Genji Monogatari)".
The Tale of Genji is a classic work of Japanese literature attributed to the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early eleventh century, around the peak of the Heian Period.
It is sometimes called the world's first novel, the first modern novel, the first psychological novel or the first novel to still be considered a classic, though this issue is a matter of debate.
Taking up herewith Photo Image of "The Tales of Genji / Picture Scroll". 

(The Tales of Genji Picture Scroll Kashiwagi 2)

The first partial translation of Genji Monogatari into English was by Suematsu Kenchō. A free translation of all but one chapter was produced by Arthur Waley. Edward Seidensticker made the first complete translation into English, using a more literal method than Waley. The most recent English translation, by Royall Tyler (2001), also tries to be faithful to the original text. Diet member Marutei Tsurunen has also made a translation in Finnish.

(The Tales of Genji Picture Scroll Vol. 3)

The Genji was written chapter by chapter in installments, as Murasaki delivered the tale to women of the aristocracy (the yokibito). It has many elements found in a modern novel: a central character and a very large number of major and minor characters, well-developed characterization of all the major players, a sequence of events happening over a period of time covering the central character's lifetime and beyond. The work does not make use of a plot; instead, much as in real life, events just happen and characters evolve simply by growing older. One remarkable feature of the Genji, and of Murasaki's skill, is its internal consistency, despite a dramatis personae of some four hundred characters. For instance, all characters age in step and all the family and feudal relationships are consistent among all chapters.

(The Tales of Genji Picture Scroll Vol. 3)

One complication for readers and translators of the Genji is that almost none of the characters in the original text is given an explicit name. The characters are instead referred to by their function or role (e.g. Minister of the Left), an honorific (e.g. His Excellency), or their relation to other characters (e.g. Heir Apparent), which may all change as the novel progresses. This lack of names stems from Heian-era court manners that would have made it unacceptably familiar and blunt to freely mention a character's name. Modern readers and translators have, to a greater or lesser extent, used various nicknames to keep track of the many characters. See List of characters from The Tale of Genji.

By TS on Dec 3, 2010
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tag : Genji



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Author:T. SATOH