A Brief Introduction to the World’s First Novel By Nathanael Peterson
This PowerPoint will explain . . . Basic Facts about this work Plot/ Characters The role of Heian court Culture Importance of The Tale of Genji
AuthorWritten by Lady Murasaki also known as Musasaki ShikabuShe was Born: about 978 CEDied: possibly around 1031Was: a court lady for Empress Akiko in Heian Period Japan
Basic Facts. . .Where andWhen? Heian Period Japan 795-1185 CE Set in the Heian courts The upper class people living in the courts had almost no interaction with the common people. They were called “Cloud Dwellers” The Tale of Genji has been called the first novel Written in Japanese(Men at the time wrote in Chinese. This was not suitable for a women so Murasaki wrote in Japanese which was her native language. This gave her a literary advantage. )
Who was Genji?Prince Genji or The Shining One was the son of the Emperor and hisfavorite concubine. Because Genji has no power at court his “brother” is airto the thrown not him.
Other important CharactersThe Women---The Tale of Genji is full of women that Genji loves, marries or sleeps with.Some notable women-Fujitsubo- consort of the emperor, loved by Genji, sleeps with Genji and bareshis son who the Emperor thinks is his.Princess Aoi- Genji’s first wifeMurasaki- adopted by Genji as a child and then becomes his second wifeYugao- Mistress of Genji, dies while possessed by a spirit
Plot. . . The Tale of Genji, tells the story of Prince Genji. The novel carefully twists through his depressing and often tragic love affairs. When Genji dies the tale switches focus to his son. All the while the novel carries a soft, melancholy and psychological tone that emphasizes the passage of time.
Heian Culture. . . Governed by the “rule of taste” Poetry was used as a powerful and primary form of communication Affairs were okay as long as they did not disrupt court life Feelings of melancholy common in works of the time
Importance. . . The Tale of Genji is still important today. Arthur Waley’s Translation is an amazing piece of English Literature in its own right. Parts of The novel are read in Japanese high schools today. It has been made in to Movies and Mangas (Japanese Graphic Novels) It dramatically impacted all Japanese literature that came after it.
Works Cited Murasaki, Shikibu(Lady Murasaki). The Tale of Genji. Trans. Arthur Waley. New York. Random House. 1960. Print. Davis and Harrison and Johnson and Crawford. Bedford Anthology of World Literature. New York, NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print. Note: all pictures in this PowerPoint are considered in the Public Domain within the United States because the creator of these works has been dead for a very long time.