The Pillow Book
Author: Sei Shonagon
Publisher: Penguin UK
A new translation of the idiosyncratic diary of a C10 court lady in Heian Japan. Along with the TALE OF GENJI, this is one of the major Japanese Classics.
The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon is a fascinating, detailed account of Japanese court life in the eleventh century. Written by a lady of the court at the height of Heian culture, this book enthralls with its lively gossip, witty observations, and subtle impressions. Lady Shonagon was an erstwhile rival of Lady Murasaki, whose novel, The Tale of Genji, fictionalized the elite world Lady Shonagon so eloquently relates. Featuring reflections on royal and religious ceremonies, nature, conversation, poetry, and many other subjects, The Pillow Book is an intimate look at the experiences and outlook of the Heian upper class, further enriched by Ivan Morris's extensive notes and critical contextualization.
Author: Natsume Soseki
A stunning new English translation—the first in more than forty years—of a major novel by the father of modern Japanese fiction Natsume Soseki's Kusamakura—meaning “grass pillow”—follows its nameless young artist-narrator on a meandering walking tour of the mountains. At the inn at a hot spring resort, he has a series of mysterious encounters with Nami, the lovely young daughter of the establishment. Nami, or "beauty," is the center of this elegant novel, the still point around which the artist moves and the enigmatic subject of Soseki's word painting. In the author's words, Kusamakura is "a haiku-style novel, that lives through beauty." Written at a time when Japan was opening its doors to the rest of the world, Kusamakura turns inward, to the pristine mountain idyll and the taciturn lyricism of its courtship scenes, enshrining the essence of old Japan in a work of enchanting literary nostalgia. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Essays in Idleness
Author: Kenko, Chomei
Publisher: Penguin UK
These two works on life's fleeting pleasures are by Buddhist monks from medieval Japan, but each shows a different world-view. In the short memoir Hôjôki, Chômei recounts his decision to withdraw from worldly affairs and live as a hermit in a tiny hut in the mountains, contemplating the impermanence of human existence. Kenko, however, displays a fascination with more earthy matters in his collection of anecdotes, advice and observations. From ribald stories of drunken monks to aching nostalgia for the fading traditions of the Japanese court, Essays in Idleness is a constantly surprising work that ranges across the spectrum of human experience. Meredith McKinney's excellent new translation also includes notes and an introduction exploring the spiritual and historical background of the works. Chômei was born into a family of Shinto priests in around 1155, at at time when the stable world of the court was rapidly breaking up. He became an important though minor poet of his day, and at the age of fifty, withdrew from the world to become a tonsured monk. He died in around 1216. Kenkô was born around 1283 in Kyoto. He probably became a monk in his late twenties, and was also noted as a calligrapher. Today he is remembered for his wise and witty aphorisms, 'Essays in Idleness'. Meredith McKinney, who has also translated Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book for Penguin Classics, is a translator of both contemporary and classical Japanese literature. She lived in Japan for twenty years and is currently a visitng fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra. '[Essays in Idleness is] a most delightful book, and one that has served as a model of Japanese style and taste since the 17th century. These cameo-like vignettes reflect the importance of the little, fleeting futile things, and each essay is Kenko himself' Asian Student
The Pillow Book
Author: Jee Koh
Publisher: Iwai Books
The critically acclaimed Pillow Book by Singapore poet Jee Leong Koh is now out in an illustrated dual Japanese and English edition. Inspired by Sei Shonagon, a Heian period Japanese court lady, Koh interweaves lists, anecdotes, tanka and haiku into witty, meditative essays. The Japanese translation by Keisuke Tsubono brings Koh's musings to a new audience. In this edition of The Pillow Book, Mariko Hirasawa's charming illustrations accompany Koh's reflections on life and the spaces he has inhabited. After being born and raised in Singapore, Koh studied literature at Oxford University and then Sarah Lawrence College. He now lives in New York City and has written four books of poetry, including The Pillow Book which was nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize. English with full Japanese Translation.
The Diary recorded by Lady Murasaki (c. 973-c. 1020), author of The Tale of Genji, is an intimate picture of her life as tutor and companion to the young Empress Shoshi. Told in a series of vignettes, it offers revealing glimpses of the Japanese imperial palace - the auspicious birth of a prince, rivalries between the Emperor's consorts, with sharp criticism of Murasaki's fellow ladies-in-waiting and drunken courtiers, and telling remarks about the timid Empress and her powerful father, Michinaga. The Diary is also a work of great subtlety and intense personal reflection, as Murasaki makes penetrating insights into human psychology - her pragmatic observations always balanced by an exquisite and pensive melancholy.
A Lady-in-waiting at a Heian court in medieval Japan records her personal feelings and reactions to social standards
A Pillow Book
Author: Suzanne Buffam
Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Not a memoir. Not an epic. Not an essay. Not a spell. Not a shopping list. Not a nocturne. Not a dream book. Not a prayer. Not a novel. Not an apology. Not a dossier. Not a complaint. Not a manifest. Not a manifesto. Not a field report. Not a promissory note. Not a recipe. Not a résumé. Not a confession. Not a lullaby. Not a secret letter sent through the silent palace hallways before dawn.
This is a new release of the original 1928 edition.
Worlding Sei Shônagon
Author: Valerie Henitiuk
Publisher: University of Ottawa Press
The Makura no Sôshi, or The Pillow Book as it is generally known in English, is a collection of personal reflections and anecdotes about life in the Japanese royal court composed around the turn of the eleventh century by a woman known as Sei Shônagon. Its opening section, which begins haru wa akebono, or “spring, dawn,” is arguably the single most famous passage in Japanese literature. Throughout its long life, The Pillow Book has been translated countless times. It has captured the European imagination with its lyrical style, compelling images and the striking personal voice of its author. Worlding Sei Shônagon guides the reader through the remarkable translation history of The Pillow Book in the West, gathering almost fifty translations of the “spring, dawn” passage, which span one-hundred-and-thirty-five years and sixteen languages. Many of the translations are made readily available for the first time in this study. The versions collected in Worlding Sei Shônagon are an enlightening example of the many ways in which translations can differ from their source text, undermining the idea of translation as the straightforward transfer of meaning from one language to another, one culture to another. By tracing the often convoluted trajectory through which a once wholly foreign literary work becomes domesticated—or resists domestication—this compilation also exposes the various historical, ideological or other forces that inevitably shape our experience of literature, for better or for worse.
My Name is Sei Shonagon
Author: Jan Blensdorf
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Sharply evocative, atmospheric, and suspenseful, My Name Is Sei Shonagon—with rights sold in eight countries before publication—adds an exciting new dimension to literature about Japan in the way that Memoirs of a Geisha has done, and introduces a fantast In a small incense shop in modern Tokyo, amid the manic consumerism of cartoon-colored Shibuya youth culture, incense is still made in the ancient way—slowly ground by hand and matured over time. Above the shop, a young woman sits behind a painted screen, listening to men unburden themselves about their work-dominated lives. She calls herself “Sei Shonagon,” after the eleventh-century woman who wrote The Pillow Book. This exquisite first novel is a Pillow Book for the twenty-first century; its “Sei” is a young woman who, as a child, moved to Japan from America to live with her strict, tradition-obsessed uncle after the death of her parents, an American academic and a Japanese student. As the novel opens, “Sei,” now a young woman, lies in a hospital bed, hearing sounds around her, unable to speak except silently to herself-"I don't even know if you are still alive…I’m going to talk to you anyway, tell you everything I remember.” Thus her story unfolds, back to a dark past and toward an unimaginable fate.
I am Kozaisho: Fifth daughter, Woman-For-Play, teller of stories, lover, wife and Flower Samurai. In the rich, dazzling, brutal world of twelfth century Japan, one young girl begins her epic journey, from the warmth of family to the Village of Outcasts. Marked out by an auspicious omen, she is trained in the ancient warrior arts of the samurai. But it is through the power of storytelling that she learns to fight her fate, twisting her life onto a path even she could not have imagined...
Alexander, Robin Hood, Wellington, George Washington... The Western literatures are packed with the stories—real and otherwise—of diverse heroes, but most of them share the common element of victory. Many of them died heroically to achieve their goals. In Japan, however, many of the most revered heroes lost their lives without achieving their goals, and in many cases fought their battles in full realization that they would end in abject defeat and death. This cultural background remains a bedrock underlying the modern Japanese psyche, and continues to shape the Japanese as individuals and a society even today, unconsciously, in the same way the West is still affected by the myths and legends passed down from Greece and Rome. Long recognized as a core book in any study of Japanese culture and literature, The Nobility of Failure examines the lives and deaths of nine historical individuals who faced overwhelming odds, and, realizing they were doomed, accepted their fate--to be killed in battle or by execution, to wither in exile, or to escape through ritual suicide. Morris then turns his attention to the kamikaze pilots of World War II, who gave their lives in defense of their nation in the full realization that their deaths would have little effect on the course of the war. Through detail, crystal-clear prose and unmatched narrative sweep and brilliance, Professor Morris takes you into the innermost hearts of the Japanese people. Supported by extensive notes and bibliography, the chapters cover: - Yamato Takeru - Yorozu - Arima no Miko - Sugawara no Michizane - Minamoto no Yoshitsune - Kusunoki Masashige - Amakusa Shiro - Oshio Heihachiro - Saigo Takamori - and the kamikaze fighters of World War II
The volume comprises lightly annotated translation of a key medieval Arabic text that bears directly on the Crusades and Crusader society and the Muslim experience of them.
A Stone for a Pillow
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Publisher: Convergent Books
Book #2 of The Genesis Trilogy. This special reissue of a classic work of spirituality from the author of A Wrinkle in Time offers life-transforming insights on the rich heritage of the Bible and shows how the characters of this ancient text are relevant for living the good life now. Includes a new reader's guide. In this book for the curious, spiritual seeker, Madeleine L'Engle offers relevant lessons drawn from the life of Jacob from the Old Testament. Here, the son of Isaac becomes a spiritual companion to L'Engle, equipping her to deal with earthly and psychological struggles. Throughout her journey, L'Engle offers contemporary answers to questions that burden modern day readers and believers. With her customary fearlessness and candor, she broaches such topics as the significance of angels, redemption, sexual identity, forgiveness, and the seemingly constant conflict between good and evil.a Madeleine L'Engle possesses the same ambidextrous skill of storytelling as other literary giants, including C. S. Lewis and George MacDonald. Her fictional stories appeal to generations of readers, and are equally embraced in both the secular and religious markets. But, it is her ability in her nonfiction to engage with the historical text of the Bible through a dynamic unpacking of protagonists, antagonists, and matters of faith that establishes the Genesis Trilogy as a highly treasured collection of spiritual writings. A Stone for a Pillow acts as a compass for those traveling through the tumultuous landscape of faith in our cynical and divisive modern culture.