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The Tale of Genji Paperback – Aug 24 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (Aug. 24 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486414159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486414157
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #175,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“In Dennis Washburn’s new translation of , lovers of novels will have the literary experience denied them until now: for hours and weeks at a time they will be able to sink into the dark, titillating, sexy, sad, enraging, absorbing world of this, the world’s , written by Murasaki Shikibu, the imaginative genius court woman of eleventh-century Japan. Washburn eliminates the gap in centuries between us and that long-lost world, and preserves for us the freshness of vision and voice of that great writer from long ago and her Proustian chronicling of the darkening beauty of a world in decline, a world depleted of male erotic power and female depredation, of the tortures of jealousy and the frailness of art and beauty to console.” — Alan Tansman, University of California at Berkeley

“A formidable accomplishment. The language is beautiful, the footnotes are helpful yet unobtrusive: Washburn has performed a great service by making this groundbreaking novel, written in the eleventh century, available to the English-speaking world in a version worthy of the Japanese masterpiece.” — Edith Grossman

“Retranslations of a classic are always reason to celebrate. All the more so when it’s the , with all its complex characters and unforgettable episodes. One tries to begin logically, from the first page, but can’t resist flipping ahead to locate favorite scenes and see how they are imagined anew. . . . A fresh and invaluable for both those of us reuniting with a familiar friend and those encountering it for the very first time.” — Valerie Henitiuk, editor-in-chief, Translation Studies, and author of Worlding Sei Shônagon: The Pillow Book in Translation

“Award-winning translator Dennis Washburn’s lucid and accessible rendering will introduce new readers to the entrancing narrative world of this great classic.” — David Lurie, Columbia University --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Dennis Washburn is Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor in Asian Studies at Dartmouth College. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University in Japanese language and literature. He lives in Hanover, New Hampshire. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Pham on June 26 2006
Format: Paperback
not realizing that there were about four versions of "The Tale of Genji" out there, i bought the version translated by Kencho i realize i shouldve gotten the Seidensticker or the Tyler version. however, i enjoyed it nonetheless.

at first, when i started reading this book, i thought,"this story..isnt it about 54 volumes or so? this book is horribly thin." and the language is pretty hard to understand. i had to go back at least twice per page to understand it mostly, not even fully. however, once i got used to the language used, it was very easy to understand the rest. reading pages 1-approx. 10 took a couple of days, but getting used to it had pages 11-90 whizzed through. the story angers me at parts, but that proves that it is a good story. :) i recommend it.

since i have recently gotten into the japanese culture, reading this tale was at the top of my to-do list. having read Memoirs of a Geisha [which was a wonderful story as well..i give it 5 stars], i was dying to read some more about the fascinating japanese culture. this book is a great addition, but i think i will have to buy at least another version to fully appreciate this story.
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Format: Hardcover
The Tale of Genji by Lady Muraski is about a young man named Genji who is lost in his own search for real love. He goes on his daily "night" searches and nmanages to wallow into a few messy relationships as a result. One of them being the father of his own king. But the true strength lies in the vivid and colorful description written by Lady muraski and the seemingly endless novel in which it turns out to be. Possibly the most famous novel in Japan
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Jan. 23 1998
Format: Hardcover
The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, Japanese, translated by Arthur Waley. The review: Most of the story is about Prince Genji and the women in his life; their sensuality's, senitivities, and shared love. Here, intimate love emotions between a man and woman, are refracted by the beauties of nature (metaphorically) with a kind of hidden code of innuendoes as well, all mirrored with a human 'inner' emotional-awareness expression. The authoress even reaches into an area between life and death, and the realms of the spirit, also she shows the struggles with the 'magical', and of 'possession by a Spirit'; the 'supernatural' region itself is described with pure imagery, though only momentary, yet it is there. Murasaki, in simple/complexities describes in more detail the true depth of emotional ties which a person has to self, and also the world in which they reside. The often mystical human passions, are linked in parallel to nature, the realms of the land-beyond, and also the 'cosmic link'; Murasaki definitely, a woman with knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the immortal aspects. 'The Royal Lady of the Moon--Murasaki, of the first ones, and the fisherman and his daughter saw the moon, its color deep red, and they sighed within, of what--it signified.' These lines are descriptions by me in review as to some of the messages, subliminal messages from reading The Tale of Genji; there are a massive amount of clear-imagery attached to the spiritual region of perceptive-reading with Murasaki. Murasaki is a major key (in my mind) to the riddle of the human on planet earth. In her novel, there are many symbols and discrete messages interwoven between the line of thought and perceptive reading.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 42 reviews
55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
Don't buy this book -- read on. June 23 2001
By Immanuel A. Magalit - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The Tale of Genji, and this (Seidensticker) translation, is without doubt one of the finest reading experiences one can possibly have. What I want to review is what the publisher has done with this book.
I purchased this copy in June 2001, and on the frontispiece it says 4th printing. There are so many printing errors in this book it mars what might otherwise have been a sublime reading experience. I will give you just one example: on page 113 a line reads:
"Then came Koremitsu's house, he would be called a lecher and a child theif [sic]."
Now this made no sense to me, either as a sentence or in the narrative context, so I consulted the abridged edition (which I also have). The line should have read:
"Then came Koremitsu's unsettling report. He must act. If he were to take her from her father's house, he would be called a lecher and a child thief."
That's a total of 14 words missing between "Koremitsu's" and "house".
This is the most serious error in the book, but there are many others, and I've only read 1/4th of the book so far. This Everyman Library edition, the publisher boasts, uses acid-free cream-wove paper with a sewn full cloth binding. It's a beautifully designed book. If only the publishers had given as much attention to the soul of this book as to its body, it might have been worth the price I paid for it.
Books should come with a warranty, really.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Not the translation advertised; also abridged March 8 2012
By Benjamin Venable - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is not the translation advertised in the description; it is an older translation. Also this version is abridged, which should be noted in the description. If you're looking for a complete translation, this ain't it. :(
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Kindle Edition is NOT the Waley Translation Feb. 17 2012
By Remi Fasolati - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This Kindle edition is a translation by Kencho Suematsu, NOT Arthur Waley, and I would not recommend it to anyone who wants to read The Tale of Genji. There are far far better translations available. The Kindle version is falsely labeled, in my opinion.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A must for Japanophiles April 15 2004
By Megami - Published on
Format: Paperback
This edition is actually the first volume of the series that makes up the complete Tale of Genji. After much anticipation, fuelled by books such as The Tale of Murasaki, I was ready to take on this giant of world literature. It was quite disappointing, but perhaps much of that was due to my strong personal dislike of the title character, Genji. Presented as a `shining prince', and the epitome of manhood, I found him to be a vain and childish character who was annoying in the extreme. So when the story is based on his adventures and accomplishments, it is bound to disappoint.
However, something strange happened with this book - by the end, I had decided to seek out the further volumes so as to complete the story. So Genji, annoying or otherwise, grows on the reader, and you feel compelled to find out what happened next. And this is the sign of a good book. And if you have any interest in Japanese literature, or Heian culture, this book is a must-read, as so much relates to it.
This is one of the `classic' translations, and is quite easy to understand. I would recommend having `A Reader's Guide to The Tale of Genji' by William Puette on hand while reading if you want to fully appreciate all that is going on.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Be warned! Jan. 30 2008
By The Commish - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This edition only contains the first seventeen chapters of the book (less than a third of the whole thing) and they are badly translated, especially the poems--and chapters are shortened without warning, taking out key information. Buyer beware. Unfortunately, I wasn't--and my whole class had to suffer with this bad!