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The Splendor of Longing in the Tale of the Genji

Norma Field

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Belletristik / Essays, Feuilleton, Literaturkritik, Interviews


Foremost among Japanese literary classics and one of the world's earliest novels, the Tale of Genji was written around the year A.D. 1000 by Murasaki Shikibu, a woman from a declining aristocratic family. For sophisticaion and insight, Western prose fiction was to wait centuries to rival her work. Norma Field explore the shifting configurations of the Tale, showing how the hero Genji is made and unmade by a series of heroines.
Professor Field draws on the riches of both Japanesse and Western scholarship, as well as on her own sensitive reading of the Tale. Included are discussions of the social, psychological, and political dimensions of the aesthetics of this novel, with emphasis on the crucial relationship of erotic and political concerns to prose fiction.
Norma Field is Assistant Professor of Far Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago.

Originally published in 1987.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.



Haikai, Pathetic fallacy, Futility (poem), Ariwara no Motokata, Novelist, New Thought, Sobriquet, Sugawara no Michizane, The Tale of the Heike, Spinster, Evocation, Virginia Woolf, Infatuation, Tsumi, Himiko, Euphemism, Anecdote, In Parenthesis, Ibid (short story), Cupid and Psyche, Irony, Parody, Sense and Sensibility, Caricature, Fujiwara, Incest taboo, Mourning, Castrato, Minor Characters, Monogamy, Precaution (novel), Epic and Novel, The Tale of Genji, I Wish (manhwa), Memoir, Japanese poetry, Melodrama, Narrative, Boredom, Poetic diction, Cautionary tale, Conflation, Aestheticism, Story of Women, Poetry, Kozue, Murasaki, Pun, A Pack of Lies, Anachronism, Voyeurism, Creation myth, The Song of Everlasting Sorrow (novel), Parable, Takasue's Daughter, Superiority (short story), Yamatogoto, Fujiwara no Teika, Misery (novel), Metonymy, Marriage plot, Genshin, Hikaru, Indulgence, Suetsumuhana, Lament, Monogatari, Orpheus and Eurydice, Psychological novel, Mircea Eliade, Murasaki (novel), Self-parody, His Woman, Murasaki Shikibu, Makurakotoba, Edward Seidensticker, Hashihime, The Uses of Enchantment, Watatsumi, Brief Encounter, Misfortune (folk tale), Satsuki, Trickster, Domestic drama, Chiyo, Cuckold, Plot twist, Conceit, Genji Monogatari Emaki, Epic poetry, Tragic hero, Despair (novel), Lady Fujitsubo, Etymology, Fiction, Izanami-no-Mikoto, Romance novel, Ukifune, Vocation (poem), Roland Barthes