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The Tale of Genji [Paperback]

Lady Murasaki , Arthur Waley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 4.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Aug. 24 2000 0486414159 978-0486414157
One of the world's oldest novels and the greatest single work of Japanese literature, this 11th-century romance centers on the lives and loves of an emperor's son. It offers a vast tapestry of the intrigues and rivalries of court life, as well as an exquisitely detailed portrayal of a decaying aristocracy.

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About the Author

Murasaki Shikibu, born in 978, was a member of Japan's Fujiwara clan, which ruled behind the scenes during the Heian Period by providing the brides and courtesans of all the emperors. Lady Murasaki's rare literary talent, particularly her skill as a poet, secured her a place in the court of Empress Akiko. After the death of her husband, she cloistered herself to study Buddhism, raise her daughter, and write the world's first novel Genji Monogatari, the tale of the shining Prince Genji. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a nice read June 26 2006
By M. Pham
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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By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Empathic Expressions of Genji Jan. 23 1998
By A Customer
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) 3.9 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Japanophiles April 15 2004
By Megami - Published on
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.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Introduction and the Best Value Around! Feb. 24 2001
By A Customer - Published on
I first found The Tale of Genji in a military library on Camp Humphreys in Korea. The volume was huge, and the plastic jacket was torn, yellowed, and taped. I had no idea what the book was about, only that it was 1000 and more pages. The translator was Arthur Waley. For three months I immersed myself in the tome until I almost refused to part with it. Later, I also read an abridged version translated by Seidensticker.
This particular volume includes only the first novel of the series; there are actually six in the entire work. It is a dense 190-page introduction to the Heian period of Japanese culture, Buddhism, and Genji. But, this piece of the novel is the best introduction to the work as a whole, and I am grateful for it, although I also want to re-read the succeeding five novels again. If you do not have the time to read 1000 pages (although I heartily recommend it), this is the next best course of action.
The theme of the book is karma, and , specifically, that bad intentions and actions will affect the lives of others in our own life and in the lives to come. Although the succeeding five novels show much more poignantly how an ancestor's actions hurt his children, in the first novel, Genji's actions affects those around him in a very direct way.
The psychological descriptions of the main characters rival any modern work by Dostoevsky. The charm of the title characters distracts the reader from the suffering occuring around him, but Murasaki paints a hauntingly beautiful picture of 11th Century Japan. Waley's translation is fluid, but sometimes quaint and misguided. This volume may be the best value I have ever found, including discount books at second-hand stores and garage sales.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Lie to Readers by the publisher Jan. 28 2013
By Sidney Gendin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I don't like books that are misdescribed. This Dover version is NOT unabridged. the entire second half (after Genji disappears) is removed. All the poetry, too, is gone. No wonder it so inexpensive.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this Feb. 24 2013
By Hello Kitty - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was disappointed that this contains only a few chapters. The translation is not as good as the Seidensticker version. I would not recommend this product.
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good Feb. 11 2009
By F. Hirose - Published on
A complete work that is the GENJI of Arthur waley English translation can be read. It is necessary to request the book on the following six part.
There was one in that in the library of my city in Japan.

part one The tale of Genji
part two The sacred tree
part three A wreathe of cloud
part foure@Blue trousers
part five The lady of the boat
part six The bridge of dreams
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