The diary of Lady Murasaki is the court diary of the author of the Tale of Genji - an 11th century masterpiece of japanese literature. Although Murasaki Shikibu has been dead for over 1000 years this diary brings to life Murasaki and the imperial court. It recounts an important period at court with the birth of Empress Shoshi's first son. We are given details into court ceremonies, life, fashion, and attitudes. Excellent read, especially if you're interested in Japan.
It is impossible, after finishing this beautiful book, to believe that Murasaki Shikibu has been dead for a thousand years - through her diary and poetry you sense a real human spirit. The diary, and Murasaki herself, are even more appealing when contrasted against the grandeur and ritual of the Heian court she served. The ceremonies, competitions, veneration of poetry and gorgeous colours and costumes are unbelievably vivid, intricate and fascinating. Although the formality of the court seems alien to the modern world, Murasaki's observations give intimate glimpses of the characters of those involved, from Empress to serving-maid. After finishing this book, you feel real regret. Read it and immerse yourself in a lost world.
While England was ruled by Ethelred the Unready, the "Lady Murasaki" was creating a wonderful saga of the shining prince, The Tale Of Genji (Everyman's Library classics) This is the diary of her life at court, describing the clothes, the rituals and the behaviour of the Japanese court, 1000 years ago. The Excellent notes enhance this slim volume.
really interesting if you like the history of Japan and want to understand more about the author of the Tale of Genji. Great pre-read to the masterpiece, will help you put things in context and understand where she got her inspiration from. Totally recommended for fans of Japanese literature.
I read the diary, then read the introduction and comments, which led me to re-read the diary with greater interest and insight. It's not "something sensational to read on the train" but if one is already interested in Lady Murasaki and the Heian period, then this slim volume is helpful. I'm currently reading Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book, and the two books fit well together.
It finally came after a wait of one and a half months! I guess it was worth waiting for, except I was hoping to use it as part of a paper I was doing. It did not arrive in time. I did the paper without it, but I would have preferred it if it had arrived on time.