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The Tale of Genji (Vintage Classics) Paperback – Abridged, 1 Jul 1998
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"Not only the world's first real novel, but one of its greatest."
-- Donald Keene, Columbia University"A. triumph of authenticity and readability."
-- Washington Post Book World
"[Seidensticker's] translation has the ring of authority."
-- The New York Times Book Review
From the Inside Flap
In the eleventh century Murasaki Shikibu, a lady in the Heian court of Japan, wrote the world's first novel. But The Tale of Genji is no mere artifact. It is, rather, a lively and astonishingly nuanced portrait of a refined society where every dalliance is an act of political consequence, a play of characters whose inner lives are as rich and changeable as those imagined by Proust. Chief of these is "the shining Genji," the son of the emperor and a man whose passionate impulses create great turmoil in his world and very nearly destroy him. This edition, recognized as the finest version in English, contains a dozen chapters from early in the book, carefully chosen by the translator, Edward G. Seidensticker, with an introduction explaining the selection. It is illustrated throughout with woodcuts from a seventeenth-century edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
I have the Royall Tyler translation and was looking forward to comparing that with Seidensticker's unabridged version, but I found that the editors or proof-readers responsible for that edition (Seidensticker's unabridged translation) did the publisher and all concerned a disservice in not spotting the error in the Introduction (page ix was missing and in its place page x was repeated). I initially gave the Seidensticker unabridged version a solitary star because of the poor edioial work. However, I have since persevered and read it in comparison not only to the Tyler translation but also the 2010 Arthur Waley translation (Tuttle Publishers) and found that Seidensticker version reads most easily among the three. Seidensticker's first line reads: "In a certain reign there was a lady not of the first rank whom the emperor loved more than any of the others." Tyler's: "In a certain reign (whose could it have been?) someone of no very great rank, among all His Majesty's Consorts and Intimates, enjoyed exceptional favour." Waley's: "At the Court of the Emperor (he lived it matters not when) there was among the many gentlewomen of the Wardrobe and Chamber one, who though she was not of very high rank was favoured far beyond all the rest;" sic. Not familiar with Japanese, I am unable to say which was the more faithful translation.
The Introduction by Seidensticker himself was as informative as that in Tyler's, but Denis Washburn's Introduction in the Waley translation was mainly a long synopsis of the story.