By Patrick W. Caddeau
Murasaki Shikibu’s eleventh-century story of Genji is the main respected paintings of fiction in Japan. This booklet explores Genji’s reception through the years and its position in eastern tradition.
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Additional info for Appraising Genji: Literary Criticism And Cultural Anxiety in the Age of the Last Samurai
Only two months later, family tragedy compounded even more deeply when Hiromichi’s mother died. He writes of her death: I was just six years old at the time so I was probably looking in at things I should not have seen. I was told I was in the way and that I should go stay with my uncle Kaneko. . That night there was a storm and the wind came in strong gusts. My cousin came to fetch me and take me back to my home, talking about this and that along 34 APPRAISING GENJI the way to cheer me up. When we got to my house everything looked different.
Genji is a tale from the Heian period, yet it speaks directly to our lives. 7 NATIONALISM AND NOSTALGIA IN THE READING OF GENJI 15 The tone of Tanabe’s essay is pure Takarazuka. But what is most stunning about this rhetorical tour de force is the way she artfully translates issues concerning cultural identity and nostalgia, the hallmarks of the nativist school (kokugaku) interpretation of Genji more than two centuries earlier, into the language that speaks to the concerns of her audience. The quotation she provides in classical Japanese signals her familiarity with Genji’s original language.
17 His comments also provided poets with a tangible reason to brush up on Genji. While Toshinari attests to the merits of Murasaki Shikibu’s written style, what concerns him most is that poets demonstrate a familiarity with the cultural and aesthetic ethos embodied in Genji rather than the meaning of the prose itself. 19 In the Kakaisho¯, Yoshinari theorized that the life of Minamoto no Takaakira (914–982), the son of Emperor Daigo (897–930) and an imperial consort, served as the model for certain details in the description of the ﬁctional Genji.