FREE Delivery in the UK.
In stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
As I Crossed a Bridge of ... has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Expedited shipping available on this book. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-century Japan (Classics) Paperback – 30 Jan 1975


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£10.99
£4.50 £0.01
£10.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. In stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-century Japan (Classics) + The Pillow Book (Penguin Classics) + The Diary of Lady Murasaki (Penguin Classics)
Price For All Three: £30.66

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (30 Jan. 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140442820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140442823
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

About the Author

Lady Sarashina (as she is commonly known), born in 1008, was a lady-in-waiting of Heian-period Japan. Her work stands out for its descriptions of her travels and pilgrimages and is unique in the literature of the period, as well as one of the first in the genre of travel writing.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I was brought up in a part of the country so remote that it lies beyond the end of the Great East Road. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
0
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
Lady Sarashina may have lived around the same time as Sei Shonagon, but you couldn't imagine two more different accounts of Heian life. Where Shonagon is witty, arch and often cutting in her observations of life, Sarashina is a dreamer who seems poorly equipped for life at court. Although occasionally frustrating in its slightness, this casts yet more light on an exceptional period in Japanese history -- and the history of literature as a whole. Sarashina describes the world as she sees it in lucid, often beautiful detail. She talks of her pilgrimages, life at court, an unrequited romance. Translator Ivan Morris writes in his excellent introduction that there was a lot more going on in Heian society than we see through the court ladies' eyes -- there were wars, uprisings, unrest. But he compares these writings to looking at a beautiful garden in minute and sparkling detail. If you liked Shonagon's Pillow Book, this will give you a different but no less fascinating view of that garden.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. Clarke on 17 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
Short, poignant and redolent of a very individual experience of life in Heian Japan, the memoirs of 'Lady Sarashina' provide a fascinating glimpse of a woman's life slightly outside of the most exalted circles of eleventh-century life. This is a highly idiosyncratic portrait of its time, concentrating on episodes important to Sarashina herself (dreams, pilgrimages, poetic exchanges) rather than to the politically-active class as a whole. The sense of chronology is vague, the structure dictated more by mood pieces and observations than straightforward diary-keeping.
As such, this probably isn't the place to start with medieval Japanese writing, but something to try after Sei Shonagon (an altogether more ebullient and resilient character, who _is_ at the centre of things) and Lady Murasaki. Sarashina is too withdrawn to involve herself in the customary court intrigues and liaisons, and too low-status to have much impact. Instead, she occupies herself with the fantastical world of Genji and other "Tales". Her memoirs are also notable for their account of a journey through the provinces to the capital, and for highly-praised poetry that unfortunately doesn't translate particularly well.
Ivan Morris' concise introduction sets the work in its context and discusses its significance and textual history; line drawings and unobtrusive notes further build our picture of Sarashina's world. A worthwhile purchase.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Davywavy2 VINE VOICE on 7 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this and "The pillow book of Sei Shonagon" gives you an insight into two worlds - of success and failure - in the Imperial court of early Japan. While Sei Shonagon is vivacious and lively, Lady Murasaki writes with an air of bitterness and tiredness at spending her life in a place to which she was obviously not suited.
Combine the two for a fascinating glimpse into another time and place - but expect to like Sei Shonagon all the more by the end.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Lyrical counterpoint to Sei Shonagon 19 Mar. 2004
By N. Clarke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Short, poignant and redolent of a very individual experience of life in Heian Japan, the memoirs of 'Lady Sarashina' provide a fascinating glimpse of a woman's life slightly outside of the most exalted circles of eleventh-century life. This is a highly idiosyncratic portrait of its time, concentrating on episodes important to Sarashina herself (dreams, pilgrimages, poetic exchanges) rather than to the politically-active class as a whole. The sense of chronology is vague, the structure dictated more by mood pieces and observations than straightforward diary-keeping.
As such, this probably isn't the place to start with medieval Japanese writing, but something to try after Sei Shonagon (an altogether more ebullient and resilient character, who _is_ at the centre of things) and Lady Murasaki. Sarashina is too withdrawn to involve herself in the customary court intrigues and liaisons, and too low-status to have much impact. Instead, she occupies herself with the fantastical world of Genji and other "Tales". Her memoirs are also notable for their account of a journey through the provinces to the capital, and for highly-praised poetry that unfortunately doesn't translate particularly well.
Ivan Morris' concise introduction sets the work in its context and discusses its significance and textual history; line drawings and unobtrusive notes further build our picture of Sarashina's world. A worthwhile purchase.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
The Sei Shonogon antipode 4 Jun. 2004
By Neri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lady Sharashina lived a life of dreamy lament. It is a wonder if someone of her nature could ever be happy with what the real world could offer. Her brief moments of happiness are gained in dreams and fantasy, or tempting/dreaming the impossible, the forbidden fruit. The real world, despite living a life of relative privilege, was a never ending experience of pain to her. She took seeing the ephemeral (wabi sabi/mono no aware) aspects of life to heiights of seeing the eternal in the ephemeral the great in the small, which can be beautiful (as with Basho), but Lady Sharshina seems too idealistic and self obsessed which makes it something pitiful in the end. The real world is one of duty and lament: "veni, vedi, vici" would not be her epitaph; more like perpetual nostaligic anguish and shyness. Her regrets seem misguided.

Lady Sharashina avoided popular attractions, as opposed to her near contemporary Sei Shonagon, in "The Pillow Book", who endeavored to be the attraction. Some of the scenes are unforgetable and the book is a classic for what it is: the memoirs of a dreamer. The book has one of the most poignent poetic conundrum sort of endings I can recall.

The translation failed to capture all of the poems, which is to be expected; but those that were captured are brilliant.

The contrast between Sei Shonagon and Lady Sharshina is one of the beauties of these books and poses an interesting psychological comparison.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful dreamer 19 Aug. 2004
By wiredweird - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This charming, brief book really does move at a dream-like pace. There are great leaps in time, with no apparent explanation. Things that should have seemed vitally important, like raising three children, are dismissed in a few scattered lines. Sarashina simply walks out on a once-in-a-lifetime imperial ceremony, but returns again and again to the sight of the moonlight.

Sarashina, the pseudonym we have for her, lived and wrote in the first half of the 11th century, in Heian Japan. It is a wonderful quirk of history that this era hosted so many educated, literate women, with cloistered lives that allowed time for introspection. The authors of The Gossamer Years and Shonagon's Pillow Book lived during that same era, and even had family connections to Sarashina.

She wrote this memoir near the end of her life, and seemed to use it as a package for presenting her life. Like an elegantly wrapped package, this tantalizes us by hiding the real substance inside. We read a little of her role in the imperial court, but never see into the closed society of the women's quarters. We see a courtier's career interrupted by family duties, but quite make out what those duties were. We learn that her husband was influential enough to be named regional governor, but we never see her part in his court or how that related to her imperial service. Instead, we read a few conversations, travelogues, and poems, the kind that hide more than they reveal.

As a child, she had a passion for romantic stories. She used those tales to enter worlds of elegant people and beautiful places. It was only in her thirties that she came back to earth, and realized that she had let too much time go by. She did marry, but was widowed early. She did have a comfortable life as lady in waiting, but never found her way into the court's inner circle. It was almost as if her life were one of those romances, but she had been given only a minor role in it.

She wrote this memoir when she was old and alone. It is beautifully literate. Still, I almost wonder whether her mind had started to wander, and wander only where the little girl's romance stories led.

//wiredweird
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Lady Remembers: Literary Masterpiece from Heian Japan 19 Aug. 2009
By Alberto M. Barral - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
First I would like to point out that the book in its present form had not been known for centuries. A careless book binder in the17th Century had bound the book in a way that it misplaced chapters and caused her work to be perceived in a totally different manner for almost 300 years. Finally, in 1924 Professor Tamai was able to examine the original copy and discover the 'seven major errors' and thus reconstruct the book to its original form. This is all explained in the excellent introduction by Ivan Morris, who is an authority in translation of Japanese lierature and also provides all the background information about her life and travels.

Lady Sarashina, as the writer of the book is called, was a woman on the 'fringes' of high society and power, a member of a minor branch of the Fuwijara clan. As noted by Proust in his great novel "Remembrance of Things Past" "only ladies that hold secondary salons are able to write well about the period in correspondence and diaries, the ladies who have the real important salons are always too busy to be able to do so". The perfect examples are Sarashina and Murasaki in the generation before her. However it is very important to note that her aunt, on her mother's side, was also a great writer, in Heian Japan it was in bad taste to refer to a lady by what we would call in the West "her Christian name" so most of their real names are unknown to us, it is the oblique reference by which they were known at court that we know about, and she was only known as "the mother of Michitsune" , she wrote "The Gossamer Years", an important non-fictional account of her bad marriage. When Lady Sarashina was born the great Sei Shonagon had completed her "Pillow Book" and Murasaki was still working on "The Tale of the Genji", the greatest novel of Heian Japan, the first work considered a novel, and one of the best ever written. She was very familiar with these works and many others that have been lost as she spent her childhood and youth as an avid reader.

This lady is a pioneer in the development of the concept of the exquisite. Her sensitivity and refinement are the main forces in her writing, as she herself says: "Ever Since I was a child the news of people's death, even the deaths of strangers, had disturbed me greatly and it used to take a long time to recover from the shock" this trait goes hand in hand with her introspection, which is marvellously described in the introduction in a sentence that pretty much says it all: ""In 1028 a large-scale insurrection broke out in the province of Kazusa, where she had spent her childhood, and it took the government three years to bring it under control. Lady Sarashina appears to have been quite oblivious of this revolt, if indeed she ever heard about it, and continued busily writing about the mist-shrouded moon and the rustling of bamboo leaves' Now there is someone that is concentrating on the important, for while historical events come and go, the lyrical rendering of her point of view, is to me the aesthetic essence of that age that she captures so well in her descriptions. Nothing says it better than this fragment from chapter 11: "The height of my aspirations was that a man of noble birth, perfect in both looks and manners, someone like Shining Genji in the Tale, would visit me just once a year in the mountain village where he would have me hidden like Lady Ukifume. There I should live my lonely existence, gazing at the blossoms and the Autumm leaves and the moon and the snow, and wait for the occasional splendid letter from him. This was all I wanted; and in time I came to believe that it would actually happen". We can see from this rendering that the Lady loved romance, beauty, and dreams. This is also a premonition that Mme Butterfly would fulfill in Puccini's opera many centuries later.

She married late, at 36, but still managed to produce three children which leads me to believe she must have both enjoyed sex and maintained a youthful vigor beyond her younger years, as is usually the case with people that love life. Her dreams of perfection, were of course never fulfilled but we must not forget that the whole notion of melancholic regret, was during her period, as in many other elegant ages through history, a sign of good breeding and education, so a lot of what we read in her book follows that conventional approach. Even in "The Tale of the Genji" it was already "de rigueur" to have one's sleeve "wet with tears" from thinking about an absent one or a full moon. Bursting into tears, by both men and women was common and expected at reunions and partings.

The most striking difference between this book and Western literature is that the main subject here are introspection and contemplation, and not action. This may be hard to read if you are looking for a story that develops 'normally'. But if you accept that crossing the Bridge of Dreams is entering the world of Lady Sarashina's lyrical appreciation of nature, and beauty, you are in for a memorable trip.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Written In A Time Of Sorrow 12 Jun. 2001
By Queen Cobra, Goddess of Truth and Justice - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Sarashina Nikki was written by a Lady depressed over the death of her husband and anxious about the future of her children. As grieving people often do she tries to find a reason for her affliction and decides she is being punished for prefering frivolous literature to serious religious study. Lady Sarashina was apparently not only an enthusiastic reader of romances, such as the Tale of Genji, but authored tales of her own though none have survived. How she wasted her youth reading and writing fictions is the theme of her retrospective memoir. I like to think the Nikki reflects a passing mood, that Sarashina eventually recovered from her losses and took a more balanced view her past life and involvement with literature.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback