The Diary of Lady Murasaki

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The Diary of Lady Murasaki am Book PrefaceA Note on Japanese Names and DatesIntroduction Cultural Background The Author The Diary The Diary of Lady MurasakiAppendix Ground plans

The Diary of Lady Murasaki am Book PrefaceA Note on Japanese Names and DatesIntroduction (Cultural Background, The Author, The Diary)--The Diary of Lady MurasakiAppendix 1: Ground-plans and MapAppendix 2: Additional SourcesA Guide to Further Reading. When I go out to sit on the veranda and gaze,I sem to be always conjuring up visions of the past The Diary recorded by Lady Murasaki c 973 c 1020 , author of The Tale of Genji, is an intimate picture of her life as tutor and companion to the young Empress Shoshi Told in a series of vignettes, it offers revealing glimpses of the Japanese imperial palace the auspicious When I go out to sit on the veranda and gaze,I sem to be always conjuring up visions of the past The Diary recorded by Lady Murasaki c 973 c 1020 , author of The Tale of Genji, is an intimate picture of her life as tutor and companion to the young Empress Shoshi Told in a series of vignettes, it offers revealing glimpses of the Japanese imperial palace the auspicious birth of a prince, rivalries between the Emperor s consorts, with sharp criticism of Murasaki s fellow ladies in waiting and drunken courtiers, and telling remarks about the timid Empress and her powerful father, Michinaga The Diary is also a work of great subtlety and intense personal reflection, as Murasaki makes penetrating insights into human psychology her pragmatic observations always balanced by an exquisite and pensive melancholy.In his illuminating introduction, Richard Bowing discusses what is known of Murasaki s life, and the religion, ceremonies, costumes, architecture and politics of her time, to explain the cultural background to her vivid evocation of court life This edition also includes an explanation of Japanese names and dates, appendices and updated further reading.Translated and introduced by RICHARD BOWRING. Bestseller Books The Diary of Lady Murasaki It has come to my attention through Goodreads that I’m quite the slow reader nowadays. Personally I blame the Internet, or rather I spend a great deal of time reading, but more of it turns out to be silly digital articles than books. The upside of all this that when I do finish a book it becomes quite a significant milestone in my mind. This would explain why I feel there is so much to say about this rather slim thing of a diary left to us by Lady Murasaki, author of The Tale of Genji and court lady and tutor to an empress.It is so slim in fact that many academics, as mentioned in the excellent foreword, keep having this nagging suspicion that this is a re-written version and perhaps just a fragment of the original. It sad to think of how much that is probably lost, that this sliver is so filled with so many descriptions of court life when you long to know more of the inner life of Murasaki. Although, or perhaps because of, being a novice to all things Heian Period (794 - 1192), or Japanese history in general (I’m reading this in part due to my interest in women’s history and in part as preparation to someday reading the intimidating The Tale of Genji), I found that the descriptions of court life and ceremonies quite intriguing. At one moment it all seems impossibly stiff and otherworthly, the next moment the very same people are drunk and crying at the sight of their son or flirting shamelessly with the closet person in sight. My enjoyment of the court descriptions probably has to do with Murasaki’s reflective style. When I compare her to the very formal diaries, all written in the male only Chinese, included in the Appendix, I realize how lucky we are to have her records. That is not to say that reading her is a laugh-riot. She is somber and pensive to say the least. At the moment I’m telling myself that I have to finish this review before getting further along with The Pillow Book, the exuberant diary/notebook/list-fest of her contemporary Sei Shonagon. It appears that The Pillow Book is far more popular among the Goodread crowd and it’s supposed to be a more lust filled and engaging read. To me it appears to be a question of different but equally intriguing styles. Murasaki is melancholy sure, but it is a beautiful melancholy with an incredible eye for pointing out the follies of those around her. The tone almost reminds me of one of my first loves, Austen: ”Lady Koshosho is so indefinably elegant and graceful she reminds one of a weeping willow in spring. She has a lovely figure and a charming manner, but is far too retiring, diffident to the point of being incapable of making up her mind about anything, so naïve it makes one want to weep. Whenever someone unscrupulous tries to take advantage of her or spreads rumors, she immediately takes it all to heart. She is so vulnerable and so easily dismayed that you would think she was on the point of expiring. I do worry about her.”Doesn't that just sound like a description of Jane Bennet ?Though of course most of this book is in the tone of the later Austen, the Mansfield Park and Persuasion Austen. The seclusive Murasaki constantly withdraws from the court festivities she describes in such detail: "Realizing that it was bound to a terribly drunken affair this evening, Lady Saisho and I decided to retire once the formal part was over. We were just about to leave when His Excellency’s two sons, together with Kantetaka and some other gentleman, came into the eastern gallery and started to create a commotion. We hid behind the dais, but his Excellency pulled back the curtains and we were both caught. ’A poem each for the Prince!’ he cried. ’Then I’ll let you go!’””I felt quite depressed and went to my room for a while to rest. I had intended to go over later if I felt better, but then Kohyoe and Kohobu came in and sat themselves down by the hibachi. ’It’s so crowded over there, you can hardly see a thing!’ they complained. His Excellency appeared. ’What do you think you’re all doing, sitting around like this?’ he said. ’Come along with me!’”Of course, being a very reflexive person she’s well aware of her own rather gloomy aura: "And when I play my koto rather badly to myself in the cool breeze of the evening, I worry lest someone might hear me and recognize how I am ’adding to the sadness of it all’, how vain and sad of me.”This and similar reflections saves her from sounding all too bitter and self indulgent. And as a reader how can one not feel for her when all she tries to do is to be alone with her books: "Whenever my loneliness threatens to overwhelm me, I take out one or two of them to look at; but my women gather together behind my back. ’It’s because she goes on like that she is so miserable. What kind of lady is it who reads Chinese books?’ they whisper. ’In the past it was not even the done thing to read sutras!’ ’Yes,' I feel like replying, ’but I’ve never met anyone who lived longer just because they believed in superstitions!’”We also learn a bit about how she became a learned lady, the teacher to the empress and her feelings of being an author: "When my brother,…, was a young boy learning the Chinese classics, I was in the habit of listening with him and I became unusually proficient at understanding those passages that he found too difficult to grasp and memorize. Father a most learned man, was always regretting the fact: ’Just my luck!’ he would say. ’What a pity she was not born a man!’ But then I gradually realized that people were saying ’It’s bad enough when a man flaunts his Chinese learning; she will come to no good,’ and since I have avoided writing the simplest character.” (my feminist hearts bleed for her)"Then Her Majesty asked me to read with her here and there from the Collected Works of Po Chü-i, and because she evinced a desire to know more about such things, to keep it secret we carefully chose times when other women would not be present, and, from the summer before last, I started giving her informal lessons on the two volumes of ’New Ballads’. I hid this fact from others, as did Her Majesty, but somehow both His Excellency and His Majesty got wind of it and they had some beautiful copies made of the various Chinese books, which His Excellency then presented to her.””I tried reading the Tale [of Genji] again, but it did not seem to be the same as before and I was disappointed. Those with whom I had discussed things of mutual interest - how vain and frivolous they must consider me no, I thought; and then ashamed that I could even contemplate such a remark, I found it difficult to write to them.” There is something about this book that sparks my imagination. Perhaps it is the fact that it is written over a thousand years ago and yet I feel like I would connect and be bffs with Murasaki straight away (which is obviously me fangirling, she would at the very least think me very uncultured for not knowing all the Chinese classics, I'll have to work on that). Here are a few of my favorite theories/fan-fiction ideas about this book: - Murasaki is actually lesbian which would explain why she’s constantly trying to withdraw from the public male places and go hang out with only the other court ladies, it would also work nicely with this passage: "In particular I missed Lady Dainagon, who would often talk to me as we lay close by Her Majesty in the evenings. Had I then indeed succumbed to court life? I sent to her the following: How I long for those waters on which we layA longing keener than the frost on a duck’s wingTo which she replied:Awakening to find no friend to brush away the frostThe mandarin duck longs for her mate at night(Footnote by the translator: Mandarin ducks were supposed to always go around in inseparable pairs. This common metaphor for lovers originally came from Chinese literature but had by this time become firmly a part of the Japanese poetic vocabulary. These poems should be seen as forming a conventional exchange between close friends - nothing more.)”Obviously the translator is trying to destroy my fan fiction right here, but that doesn't really change anything.- Murasaki meets Jane Austen, and perhaps Sai Shonagon, in a parallel universe and they discuss the pro and cons of living in the country side (both Murasaki and Shonagon hade fathers who were provincial governors, but at least Shonagon had a very snobbish attitude towards the countryside, Austen obviously abhors all thing city and/or court), the downside of having to downplay your intelligence and wit as to not offend society, the hilarity in male critics not taking your work seriously because you’re a woman and you mention clothes in your books, the upside in not getting a formal education leaving you entirely free (you’re upper class with time on your hands after all) to make up a much more interesting education on your own, deploring that you all had to rely on getting your education from male classics when you’re well aware (now) that women have been writing since forever (considering asking Edhuanna to join the conversation)

About Author

  • Murasaki Shikibu Richard Bowring Post author

    Murasaki Shikibu, or Lady Murasaki as she is sometimes known in English Japanese , was a Japanese novelist, poet, and a maid of honor of the imperial court during the Heian period She is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, written in Japanese between about 1000 and 1008, one of the earliest and most famous novels in human history Murasaki Shikibu was not her real name her actual name is unknown, though some scholars have postulated that her given name might have been Takako for Fujiwara Takako Her diary states that she was nicknamed Murasaki purple wisteria blossom at court, after a character in The Tale of Genji Shikibu refers to her father s position in the Bureau of Ceremony shikibu sh Murasaki Shikibu 2007, October 8 In , The Free Encyclopedia Retrieved 22 03, October 19, 2007, from enpedia w indexp t

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  • PrefaceA Note on Japanese Names and DatesIntroduction Cultural Background, The Author, The Diary The Diary of Lady MurasakiAppendix 1 Ground plans and MapAppendix 2 Additional SourcesA Guide to Further Reading

  • It has come to my attention through that I m quite the slow reader nowadays Personally I blame the Internet, or rather I spend a great deal of time reading, but of it turns out to be silly digital articles than books The upside of all this that when I do finish a book it becomes quite a significant milestone in my mind This would explain why I feel there is so much to say about this rather slim thing of a diary left to us by Lady Murasaki, author of The Tale of Genji and court lady and tutor to [...]

  • There s no meaning to the star rating here, so I forgo it This was a very odd reading experience the editor and translator of the Penguin edition seemed most keen to stop me reading the actual diary itself He stressed, time and again, that it s very hard to understand what s going on and there s really not that much here etc etc Well, that s true On the other hand, the actual diary is very short, Bowring s annotations, introductions and appendices are helpful, and, unless we ve all been massivel [...]

  • The Diary of Lady Murasaki written by Murasaki Shikibu and translated by Richard Bowring isn t for everyone It begins as a very detailed record of the birth of a new Prince in the Heian Japanese Court, as seen through Murasaki s eyes Detailing all the costume and rituals of the court, some readers may get bored of reading paragraphs dedicated to a certain woman s ceremonial dress or what exactly happens on the 5th day of a Prince s life Later it becomes reflective on Murasaki s life and the liv [...]

  • So I m doing a lil survey of Heian period female written literature consisting of six books The Diary of Lady Murasaki, The Tale of Genji, As I Crossed A Bridge of Dreams, The Gossamer Years, The Pillow Book, and The Confessions of Lady Nijo okay, technically that last one is Kamakura period but what s a century among friends Murasaki s diary was a little disappointing, honestly This from the author of the world s first novel arguably Fairly dry with its dogged insistence of random details, told [...]

  • Less a memoir and a series of pretty, impressionistic word pictures, strung together like Christmas cards little sketches of a fussy, formal, effete world, long gone It is still the depth of night The moon has clouded over, darkening the shadows under the trees There come voices Can we open the shutters But the servants will not be ready yet Attendant Open up Then the bell for the dawn watch suddenly wakes everyone up and the Ritual of the Five Mystic Kings begins I was absent from the mansion [...]

  • I want to reveal all to you, the good and the bad, worldly matters and private sorrows, things that I cannot really go on discussing in this letter But, even though one may be thinking about and describing someone objectionable, should one really go on like this, I wonder But you must find life irksome at times I know you do, as you can see Write to me with your own thoughts no matter if you have less to say than all my useless prattle, I would love to hear from you.The problem with a text like [...]

  • One had a little fault in the colour combination at the wrist opening When she went before the Royal presence to fetch something, the nobles and high officials noticed it Afterwards, Lady Saisho regretted it deeply It was not so bad only one colour was a little too pale That s it That sums up much of the Heian period writing.Which is both wrong, and unfair, but I tell you it doesn t miss the mark I mean, there s a reason it s considered a kind of golden age Golden age for the nobility in the Cou [...]

  • One word of advice if you don t know anything about Japanese history or culture and have the Penguin Classics edition, read the introduction, including the notes about Japanese naming It is so much helpful in understanding what s going on if you do.Since this was the diary of an actual woman, there s not much to say other than that there are a lot of descriptions of clothing, some amusing moments, and the most interesting parts happen on pages 47 59, when she examines the characters of the wome [...]

  • As a diary, I can t in fairness give this a star rating Who am I to judge the star worth of someone s experiences and thoughts Anyway, I read this book a because oh my God a diary from 1000 years ago I just have to and b Murasaki, who wrote the first novel Though I didn t quite expect the elaborate detail on clothing and rituals, it was interesting to see what great importance these elements had at the time While I was hoping for some personal thoughts, what I got was surprisingly relatable and [...]

  • It s a slim volume, and indeed in the introduction by Richard Bowring, it is general consensus that the diary as I was holding in my hands is fragments of what it was Which is a shame because it would have been a beautiful piece of history as a whole Instead we are left to mere speculation for a lot of parts, including as to why the tone changes from a journal style to that of a letter written to an intimate.Indeed the theories for this are expounded in the thorough introduction which covers Jap [...]

  • Murasaki, I could listen all day to your seesawing between bitching about the other women at court and attacks of shame at your own spiteful pettiness the appendix of the edition I have includes excerpts from the diaries of other people who were present at the events Murasaki was recording, which cement my suspicion that men are boring.

  • La bloguera Murasaki nos abre la puerta de otro mundo, describiendo con detalle las modas y costumbres de la corte Heian Es fascinante por recorrer un mundo desaparecido, pero le falta la profundidad que s tienen otros textos de la poca.

  • ok be enerek okudu um kitaplardan biri oldu Bekletti ime z ld m biraz ama o arada Murasaki nin en nl eseri Genji Monogatari nin 2009 yap m olan animesini izlemek istemi tim asl nda okumak istedim ama evirisi yok T rk e de, bu kitaba yle rastlam t m zaten, Genji yi ararken ve onu da bitirmem uzun s rd.Kitab m z Heian d neminde ya am , baz ara t rmac lar n d nyan n en eski roman olarak kabul etti i Genji Monogatari nin yazar olan Murasaki Shikibu nun nedimelik yapt d nemleri anlatt 3 ciltten kitab [...]

  • This edition is very up front about what may well be its only major failing, it doesn t contain the poetry that Murasaki included throughout Richard Bowring, in the extremely helpful and informative introduction, explains that he felt that they would not be of interest to the intended reader and that he didn t feel he was up to the task of translating them and maintaining their poetry and often very obscure meanings and references I ve, perhaps cruelly, taken off a star in recognition of their o [...]

  • It feels rather odd reviewing someone s diary you can hardly critique the plot or characters, and I doubt it was written in the hope of being a great literary work, so it would be strange to comment on the language and form I guess what I can talk about is my enjoyment of the book, and how it made me feel.Lady Murasaki is often credited as having written the first ever novel, The Tale of Genji, in the 11th century, and I was interested in reading a snippet of the life of a woman who lived during [...]

  • I wanted to read a non Western memoir and a memoir from Japan s medieval era the Heian period , a delicate, diaphanous world of gossip, court frivolity, fastidious fashion, and secret musings and longings Murasaki Shikibu is known for writing the world s first novel, and reading her vignettes about her daily life at court are a treat She does have a pensiveness about her, a pervasive melancholy, but it s an exquisite melancholy to be adored This memoir contains beautiful sentences and observatio [...]

  • I read The Diary of Lady Murasaki in preparation for another attempt on The Tale of Genji The Diary is a slight work in every sense of the word, registering at 66 pages not counting the 44 pages of introductory material, well put together by Richard Bowring You think the English Royal family has it tough Japanese court life was and by all accounts, to some degree still is incredibly insular and stultifying And it was doubly tough on the female members of the royal family and their entourage Bowr [...]

  • Non vel officiis aut placeat ab Dolor placeat neque Ex et perferendis repellendus Doloribus et beatae occaecati necessitatibus quasi ut Ipsum aut qui quas consequuntur voluptatem.

  • inan lmaz g zel bir kitap Esin Esen in giri inde verdi i bilgiler kitab n okunmas n kolaylastirmakla birlikte Heian d nemi ile ilgili ciddi bilgiler edinmenize sebep oluyor.

  • Som historiskt dokument r det uppenbarligen en viktig bok ven om f rh llandevis m nga dagb cker fr n denna period tycks ha bevarats som beskriver dagsh ndelser vid hovlivet i Japan under 1000 talet Det har ocks en viss charm att l sa fragment om de sm intriger och konflikter som gde rum som p minner om att vi m nniskor trots de stora f r ndringarna samh llet genomg tt sedan den tiden p m nga s tt r desamma som vi var d.Problemet med boken, som med m nga dagb cker, r att det r fragmentariskt och [...]

  • Si por alguna esot rica raz n eres un freak impenitente del Jap n Heian, el diario de Murasaki es mucho m s interesante que cualquier libro de historia La edici n es preciosa detallad sima con la faja y las letras y la contra en color morado , bien corregida y llena de notas explicativas, transcripciones en hiragana y r maji, mapas y hasta rboles geneal gicos.Eso s cualquier persona que no ame Jap n profundamente odiar el libro.

  • It was interesting because despite how old it is, in the end it felt modern The same emotions, the same ideas expressed I felt for when she felt depressed and really identified with how she felt about the tale of genji There was a LOT of descriptions of women s robes and their colors.

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