Genji’s Visual Odyssey

William J. Puette, Murasaki Shikibu, Royall Tyler

The Tale of Genji is a tale composed by a Japanese court lady during the fabulous Heian period.

No other work of literature pre and post it approach it in its complexity.

There is a rich tradition of Genji illustrations.

The oldest extant album is the 1510 Genji Album in the Harvard Art Museums.

Miyeko Murase

Melissa McCormick’s book The Tale of Genji A Visual Companion 2018ed gives a wonderful discussion of each of the 54 chapters of The Tale of Genji with paintings and calligraphy from the Genji Album (1510).

Her introduction is excellent and a minefield of golden nuggets.

The calligraphy chosen to express the essence of each chapter has English translations to guide the reader.

A gem.

Lwh @ Kyoto
15 Nov 2023

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