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A new translation of what is considered to be the world’s first novel.
Murasaki Shikibu, born into the middle ranks of the Japanese aristocracy, wrote The Tale of Genji during the early years of the eleventh century. Expansive, compelling and sophisticated in its representation of ethical concerns and aesthetic ideals, Murasaki’s tale is recognised as a masterpiece of world literature.
The Tale of Genji is presented here in a flowing new translation for contemporary readers, who will discover in its depiction of the culture of the imperial court the rich complexity of human experience that simultaneously resonates with and challenges their own. Washburn sets off interior monologues with italics for fluid reading, embeds some annotations for accessibility and clarity, and translates poetry into English triplets to create prosodic equivalents of the original.
“...Genji is gorgeous, hypnotic, disturbing and endlessly fascinating.” — Metro
“Murasaki watched the sexual maneuverings, the social plots, the marital politics, the swirl of slights and flatteries that went on around her, with the keen, sometimes sardonic, and always worldly eyes of a medieval Jane Austen.” — The New Yorker