Friday, June 25, 2021

More Summer Reading!

(write-up & photo courtesy of Stuart ~ please click on image to enlarge)

Stuart: "Here’s my Summer reading! It’s Japanese, 1000 years old, and written by a woman of the Imperial court. This translation was the first into English, originally published in the 20’s and 30’s."

"The story focuses on Prince Genji, son of the Emperor by one of his concubines. Genji grows up to be impossibly handsome and to have many love-affairs, one with his own stepmother! In many ways it seems like a modern narrative - intimate in its focus, and delving into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I don’t know if anyone in the West was writing anything comparable at the time. It’s 1100-odd pages, so it’s a leisurely read, but it holds your attention. I’m about 300 pages along, so I may have it finished by August!"

"The pen is my Blue Splash Pilot Vanishing Point. One of the fascinating things of the book is the importance of writing - characters are forever sending each other poems with significant meanings, and the quality of people’s handwriting is given great emphasis. And the papers used also! So writing, the ability to do it beautifully, was a prized thing in the Imperial sphere. BTW, the capital of Japan at that time, and for centuries after, was Kyoto. I don’t think Tokyo became the capital until relatively recent times."

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