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11 - Genji monogatariand its reception

from Part II - The Heian period (794–1185)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Haruo Shirane
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Tomi Suzuki
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
David Lurie
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
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Summary

Genji monogatari or The Tale of Genji was composed by Murasaki Shikibu around the first decade of the eleventh century. Genji monogatari is divided into two major sections: chapters 1 to 41, which describe the story of Genji and the women in his life, and chapters 42 to 54, which deals with Genji's progeny. The first section is subdivided into: chapters 1 to 33, narrating the rise, fall, and rise again of the young Genji, and chapters 34 to 41, which portray him becoming increasingly introspective and contemplative. The story begins with a love affair between the emperor and Kiritsubo. Captivated by her close resemblance to the late Kiritsubo, Genji's father takes in a new consort, known to as Fujitsubo. The earliest documented evidence of Genji reading is found in the diary of the author herself, which claims that figures like the poet Fujiwara no Kinto, Fujiwara no Michinaga, and the Ichijo Emperor read at least parts of Genji monogatari.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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