Read The Diary of Lady Murasaki by Murasaki Shikibu Richard Bowring Online


'When I go out to sit on the veranda and gaze,I sem to be always conjuring up visions of the past'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'When I go out to sit on the veranda and gaze,I sem to be always conjuring up visions of the past'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.In his illuminating introduction, Richard Bowing discusses what is known of Murasaki's life, and the religion, ceremonies, costumes, architecture and politics of her time, to explain the cultural background to her vivid evocation of court life. This edition also includes an explanation of Japanese names and dates, appendices and updated further reading.Translated and introduced by RICHARD BOWRING...

Title : The Diary of Lady Murasaki
Author :
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ISBN : 9780140435764
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 90 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Diary of Lady Murasaki Reviews

  • Edward
    2019-05-12 06:16

    PrefaceA Note on Japanese Names and DatesIntroduction (Cultural Background, The Author, The Diary)--The Diary of Lady MurasakiAppendix 1: Ground-plans and MapAppendix 2: Additional SourcesA Guide to Further Reading

  • Leajk
    2019-04-28 02:06

    It has come to my attention through Goodreads that I’m quite the slow reader nowadays. Personally I blame the Internet, or rather I spend a great deal of time reading, but more of it turns out to be silly digital articles than books. The upside of all this that when I do finish a book it becomes quite a significant milestone in my mind. This would explain why I feel there is so much to say about this rather slim thing of a diary left to us by Lady Murasaki, author of The Tale of Genji and court lady and tutor to an empress.It is so slim in fact that many academics, as mentioned in the excellent foreword, keep having this nagging suspicion that this is a re-written version and perhaps just a fragment of the original. It sad to think of how much that is probably lost, that this sliver is so filled with so many descriptions of court life when you long to know more of the inner life of Murasaki. Although, or perhaps because of, being a novice to all things Heian Period (794 - 1192), or Japanese history in general (I’m reading this in part due to my interest in women’s history and in part as preparation to someday reading the intimidating The Tale of Genji), I found that the descriptions of court life and ceremonies quite intriguing. At one moment it all seems impossibly stiff and otherworthly, the next moment the very same people are drunk and crying at the sight of their son or flirting shamelessly with the closet person in sight. My enjoyment of the court descriptions probably has to do with Murasaki’s reflective style. When I compare her to the very formal diaries, all written in the male only Chinese, included in the Appendix, I realize how lucky we are to have her records. That is not to say that reading her is a laugh-riot. She is somber and pensive to say the least. At the moment I’m telling myself that I have to finish this review before getting further along with The Pillow Book, the exuberant diary/notebook/list-fest of her contemporary Sei Shonagon. It appears that The Pillow Book is far more popular among the Goodread crowd and it’s supposed to be a more lust filled and engaging read. To me it appears to be a question of different but equally intriguing styles. Murasaki is melancholy sure, but it is a beautiful melancholy with an incredible eye for pointing out the follies of those around her. The tone almost reminds me of one of my first loves, Austen: ”Lady Koshosho is so indefinably elegant and graceful she reminds one of a weeping willow in spring. She has a lovely figure and a charming manner, but is far too retiring, diffident to the point of being incapable of making up her mind about anything, so naïve it makes one want to weep. Whenever someone unscrupulous tries to take advantage of her or spreads rumors, she immediately takes it all to heart. She is so vulnerable and so easily dismayed that you would think she was on the point of expiring. I do worry about her.”Doesn't that just sound like a description of Jane Bennet ?Though of course most of this book is in the tone of the later Austen, the Mansfield Park and Persuasion Austen. The seclusive Murasaki constantly withdraws from the court festivities she describes in such detail: "Realizing that it was bound to a terribly drunken affair this evening, Lady Saisho and I decided to retire once the formal part was over. We were just about to leave when His Excellency’s two sons, together with Kantetaka and some other gentleman, came into the eastern gallery and started to create a commotion. We hid behind the dais, but his Excellency pulled back the curtains and we were both caught. ’A poem each for the Prince!’ he cried. ’Then I’ll let you go!’””I felt quite depressed and went to my room for a while to rest. I had intended to go over later if I felt better, but then Kohyoe and Kohobu came in and sat themselves down by the hibachi. ’It’s so crowded over there, you can hardly see a thing!’ they complained. His Excellency appeared. ’What do you think you’re all doing, sitting around like this?’ he said. ’Come along with me!’”Of course, being a very reflexive person she’s well aware of her own rather gloomy aura: "And when I play my koto rather badly to myself in the cool breeze of the evening, I worry lest someone might hear me and recognize how I am ’adding to the sadness of it all’, how vain and sad of me.”This and similar reflections saves her from sounding all too bitter and self indulgent. And as a reader how can one not feel for her when all she tries to do is to be alone with her books: "Whenever my loneliness threatens to overwhelm me, I take out one or two of them to look at; but my women gather together behind my back. ’It’s because she goes on like that she is so miserable. What kind of lady is it who reads Chinese books?’ they whisper. ’In the past it was not even the done thing to read sutras!’ ’Yes,' I feel like replying, ’but I’ve never met anyone who lived longer just because they believed in superstitions!’”We also learn a bit about how she became a learned lady, the teacher to the empress and her feelings of being an author: "When my brother,…, was a young boy learning the Chinese classics, I was in the habit of listening with him and I became unusually proficient at understanding those passages that he found too difficult to grasp and memorize. Father a most learned man, was always regretting the fact: ’Just my luck!’ he would say. ’What a pity she was not born a man!’ But then I gradually realized that people were saying ’It’s bad enough when a man flaunts his Chinese learning; she will come to no good,’ and since I have avoided writing the simplest character.” (my feminist hearts bleed for her)"Then Her Majesty asked me to read with her here and there from the Collected Works of Po Chü-i, and because she evinced a desire to know more about such things, to keep it secret we carefully chose times when other women would not be present, and, from the summer before last, I started giving her informal lessons on the two volumes of ’New Ballads’. I hid this fact from others, as did Her Majesty, but somehow both His Excellency and His Majesty got wind of it and they had some beautiful copies made of the various Chinese books, which His Excellency then presented to her.””I tried reading the Tale [of Genji] again, but it did not seem to be the same as before and I was disappointed. Those with whom I had discussed things of mutual interest - how vain and frivolous they must consider me no, I thought; and then ashamed that I could even contemplate such a remark, I found it difficult to write to them.” There is something about this book that sparks my imagination. Perhaps it is the fact that it is written over a thousand years ago and yet I feel like I would connect and be bffs with Murasaki straight away (which is obviously me fangirling, she would at the very least think me very uncultured for not knowing all the Chinese classics, I'll have to work on that). Here are a few of my favorite theories/fan-fiction ideas about this book: - Murasaki is actually lesbian which would explain why she’s constantly trying to withdraw from the public male places and go hang out with only the other court ladies, it would also work nicely with this passage: "In particular I missed Lady Dainagon, who would often talk to me as we lay close by Her Majesty in the evenings. Had I then indeed succumbed to court life? I sent to her the following: How I long for those waters on which we layA longing keener than the frost on a duck’s wingTo which she replied:Awakening to find no friend to brush away the frostThe mandarin duck longs for her mate at night(Footnote by the translator: Mandarin ducks were supposed to always go around in inseparable pairs. This common metaphor for lovers originally came from Chinese literature but had by this time become firmly a part of the Japanese poetic vocabulary. These poems should be seen as forming a conventional exchange between close friends - nothing more.)”Obviously the translator is trying to destroy my fan fiction right here, but that doesn't really change anything.- Murasaki meets Jane Austen, and perhaps Sai Shonagon, in a parallel universe and they discuss the pro and cons of living in the country side (both Murasaki and Shonagon hade fathers who were provincial governors, but at least Shonagon had a very snobbish attitude towards the countryside, Austen obviously abhors all thing city and/or court), the downside of having to downplay your intelligence and wit as to not offend society, the hilarity in male critics not taking your work seriously because you’re a woman and you mention clothes in your books, the upside in not getting a formal education leaving you entirely free (you’re upper class with time on your hands after all) to make up a much more interesting education on your own, deploring that you all had to rely on getting your education from male classics when you’re well aware (now) that women have been writing since forever (considering asking Edhuanna to join the conversation)

  • Justin Evans
    2019-04-29 22:01

    There's no meaning to the star rating here, so I forgo it. This was a very odd reading experience: the editor and translator of the Penguin edition seemed most keen to stop me reading the actual diary itself. He stressed, time and again, that it's very hard to understand what's going on and there's really not that much here etc etc... Well, that's true. On the other hand, the actual diary is very short, Bowring's annotations, introductions and appendices are helpful, and, unless we've all been massively hoaxed, this is a bit of a diary by one of the great writers the human species has ever thrown up (I confess, I say this based on reputation, rather than a thorough knowledge of Genji), and is well worth reading for that alone. Murasaki is a charming diarist, even though she's describing rituals and goings-on that I really do not understand even in the slightest (in brief: a royal baby is born. Much ritual follows). What I do understand, however, is gentle melancholy, which is here in spades, and literary snark, of which there is only half a spadeful, but boy, what a spadeful she drops on Shonagon's head. That's a spat I'd *love* to know more about. I say Bowring's editorial work is helpful, but it isn't that helpful. For instance, people are often referred to by honorary titles ("Her Excellency", "Her Majesty" etc...) But we're never told what those titles might mean. I think I worked it out, but I could easily be wrong. Given that we have multiple architectural diagrams of fairly easy to visualize buildings, the note to read another book to learn about the titles seems a little grudging.

  • Nickolas
    2019-04-23 04:17

    "The Diary of Lady Murasaki" written by Murasaki Shikibu and translated by Richard Bowring isn't for everyone. It begins as a very detailed record of the birth of a new Prince in the Heian Japanese Court, as seen through Murasaki's eyes. Detailing all the costume and rituals of the court, some readers may get bored of reading paragraphs dedicated to a certain woman's ceremonial dress or what exactly happens on the 5th day of a Prince's life. Later it becomes more reflective on Murasaki's life and the lives of the People around her. It's a relatively short read, but it will only prove interesting to someone who is fascinated by the workings of Japanese Heian Court at it's peak. If you have no prior knowledge or interest on the subject, I wouldn't suggest reading it. The passages where Murasaki talks of her rivals are my favorite. She has strong opinions on Sei Shonagon (author of "The Pillow Book") and on Izumi Shikibu (a famous poet and contemporary of Murasaki).Another alternative would be checking out "The Tale of Murasaki" written by cultural anthropologist Liza Dalby. She wrote a fantastic historical fiction novel about Murasaki based on what scholars know and speculate about one of Japan's first and most celebrated author.

  • Annie
    2019-05-21 06:01

    So I’m doing a lil survey of Heian-period female-written literature consisting of six books: The Diary of Lady Murasaki, The Tale of Genji, As I Crossed A Bridge of Dreams, The Gossamer Years, The Pillow Book, and The Confessions of Lady Nijo (okay, technically that last one is Kamakura period but what’s a century among friends). Murasaki’s diary was… a little disappointing, honestly. This from the author of the world’s first novel (arguably)? Fairly dry with its dogged insistence of random details, told in a cool, detached, slightly depressing voice. I guess it’s a good introduction to the period— I’m situated, I have an image of what a Heian-period noblewoman’s world is like— which should serve me over the next few weeks of reading, but I was glad this one was short! Sincerely hope Mursaki’s the Tale of Genji is more engaging.

  • Bri Fidelity
    2019-04-23 00:26

    Less a memoir and more a series of pretty, impressionistic word-pictures, strung together like Christmas cards: little sketches of a fussy, formal, effete world, long gone.'It is still the depth of night. The moon has clouded over, darkening the shadows under the trees. There come voices: 'Can we open the shutters?' 'But the servants will not be ready yet!' 'Attendant! Open up!' Then the bell for the dawn watch suddenly wakes everyone up and the Ritual of the Five Mystic Kings begins...''I was absent from the mansion the day the Governor of Harima gave a banquet as a forfeit for losing a game of go, and it was only later that...''Sometime after the twentieth of the eighth month, those nobles and senior courtiers whose presence was required at the mansion started to stay the night. They would take naps on the bridge and the veranda of the east wing, and play music in desultory fashion. The younger members, who were as yet unskilled in either koto or flute, held competitions to see who was the best at chanting sūtras and they practiced the latest songs together...''His Excellency carried the baby prince in his arms, preceded by Lady Koshōshō with the sword, and Miya no Naishi with the tiger's head.''On the last night of the year, the ceremony for casting out devils was over very early, so I was resting in my room, blackening my teeth and putting on a light powder, when...''On the ninth of the ninth month, Lady Hyōbu brought me floss-silk damp with chrysanthemum dew.'"Here," she said, "Her Excellency sent this especially for you. She said you were to use it carefully to wipe old age away!"'It's like the Dreamlands - or Gormenghast.

  • Aubrey
    2019-04-24 22:01

    I want to reveal all to you, the good and the bad, worldly matters and private sorrows, things that I cannot really go on discussing in this letter. But, even though one may be thinking about and describing someone objectionable, should one really go on like this, I wonder? But you must find life irksome at times. I know you do, as you can see. Write to me with your own thoughts — no matter if you have less to say than all my useless prattle, I would love to hear from you.The problem with a text like this is, unless you come at it with a whole host of previous experience with related materials and interests, it's not going to do much. Sure, you could marvel at the depth of psychological analysis present in a text written half a century before the Norman Conquest occurred on the opposite ends of the earth, but even my eyes started glazing over near the end of the last trailing description of aesthetic arrangements, and I've already read and loved The Tale of Genji. I'm not suggesting you tackle TToG first, or that you commit to an academic career path centered around Heian Japan (unless you're not white, there's enough neo-Orientalism floating around), but just that if you're in the habit of skipping both forewords and afterwords in your textual engagement, you're not going to have much of a worthwhile time. Admittedly, the afterword is tedious with its almost complete excision of inner reflection and the foreword is abhorrently Christocentric (Japan's belief system was not evolving on the trajectory towards a Jesus cult), but they still give much needed orientation for a person reading a millennium after the text's composition.The best parts of this text for me were any time The Tale of Genji was mentioned. If one knew only the general prescriptions of women not being educated or encouraged to write in the dominant language (Chinese) of their day, one would probably imagine a stereotypical Dickinson situation (even this assumption doesn't adhere to the facts of the Transcendentalist poet's life in conjunction with publication), wherein the text was unearthed after death and brought to public view against the creator's misguided wishes. This was not the case with Murasaki (the evidence for the name also shows up in this text), as her position in court was much affected, although the details of the positives and the negatives are hazy, by the revealing of her composition and her having composed it well within her lifetime. On a less academic note, I also got a kick out of her scathing remarks on Sei Shonagon; I had known of them previously, but encountering them firsthand (as firsthand as translation of ancient Japanese into English can get) will make my reading of The Pillow Book all the richer. It's also not difficult to be drawn into Murasaki's meditations, mournful as they are, as they are truly are, in the lazily overused sense of the word, "modern" in their equivocating nostalgia and social analysis. I'll never be able to read the original in the language it was written in, but I wouldn't mind reading other engagements with this short text, should they ever cross my way.Throughout my self-imposed, if wandering and dabbling, completionist attempts, I've remained aware that certain authors will never rise up the ranks through sheer number, and not just due to the limits of my personal interest. Murasaki Shikibu is such a one, which is why I saved her microtome until I felt like revisiting my memories of her writing. Unlike most with limited bibliography, though, she benefits from a grand reception in the halls of text and textual analysis, well- earned by her display of literary skill so early in the echelons of history. I can only hope interest in her, both biographical and metafictional, remain alive in these art-killing times.So you see — I still fret over what others think of me, and, if I had to sum up my position, I would have to admit that I still retain a deep sense of attachment to this world. But what can I do about it?

  • Brendan
    2019-04-21 01:23

    "One had a little fault in the colour combination at the wrist opening. When she went before the Royal presence to fetch something, the nobles and high officials noticed it. Afterwards, Lady Saisho regretted it deeply. It was not so bad; only one colour was a little too pale."That's it. That sums up much of the Heian period writing....Which is both wrong, and unfair, but I tell you it doesn't miss the mark. I mean, there's a reason it's considered a kind of golden age. Golden age for the nobility in the Court, of course, since all that glory is built on the backs of 250 years of peasant rice farmers....But that quote is meaningful in the context of this group whose greatest worries involved sex, courtesy, and fashion. There was barely any war, it, and the preceding Nara period, we essentially dark ages for most the rest of the world. There was barely any war or violence, and the Heian period saw a fairly low amount of plague/natural disasters, certainly nothing great enough to cause it's collapse.... though, of course, that golden age did cause it's own collapse. Once the rest of toughened-rising-warrior-caste Japan realized they were being led by a handful of pampered socialites, there was literally no way for that era to maintain itself in the face it's own decadent self destruction."It was not so bad;" No, not for the right people, but then... "Only one colour was a little too pale." With our historical hindsight, this is no different then, "Et in Arcadia ego" (or, even in Arcadia, death is there). Which is all to say, the culture, the attitude, the ideas and things of a golden age are the very things that sew it's own destruction.

  • Gina
    2019-04-27 04:14

    One word of advice: if you don't know anything about Japanese history or culture and have the Penguin Classics edition, read the introduction, including the notes about Japanese naming. It is so much more helpful in understanding what's going on if you do.Since this was the diary of an actual woman, there's not much to say other than that there are a lot of descriptions of clothing, some amusing moments, and the most interesting parts happen on pages 47-59, when she examines the characters of the women she's surrounded with and expresses some of her own personal thoughts about matters of propriety and so on.I may keep it on my shelves just for those last parts.

  • Young At Heart Reader
    2019-04-25 23:28

    As a diary, I can't in fairness give this a star rating. Who am I to judge the star worth of someone's experiences and thoughts?Anyway, I read this book a) because oh my God a diary from 1000 years ago I just have to and b) Murasaki, who wrote the first novel. Though I didn't quite expect the elaborate detail on clothing and rituals, it was interesting to see what great importance these elements had at the time. While I was hoping for some more personal thoughts, what I got was surprisingly relatable and profound. I mean, a woman talking about how out of place she feels and how she wants to distance herself from despair, yet can't rid herself of it. 1000 years between us and there is that connection in emotions and experience. Incredible.

  • Paul
    2019-05-16 02:17

    It’s a slim volume, and indeed in the introduction by Richard Bowring, it is general consensus that the diary as I was holding in my hands is fragments of what it was. Which is a shame because it would have been a beautiful piece of history as a whole. Instead we are left to mere speculation for a lot of parts, including as to why the tone changes from a journal style to that of a letter written to an intimate.Indeed the theories for this are expounded in the thorough introduction which covers Japanese names and dates, cultural background, language and style, poetry, religious background, architecture, dress and women’s titles.The biography of Murasaki’s life is interesting and does it’s best to patch together the little of what is known about Mursaki (her real name, for example, is not known).The diary itself is given extensive analysis, in it’s structure, evidence of additional parts, and it’s date of composition.All this means by the time you reach the diary itself, you are wondering just what it will contain, even after glimpses of it given as examples. In some cases, certainly for a casual reader, you would be forgiven for wondering if it was worth it.There is no doubt that historically the diary is crucial, but while reading it it is difficult not to get bogged down in Names, titles (I particularly liked Yorimichi’s – Commander of the Gate Guards of the Left), footnotes (a necessity, given the word play on some of the witty poetry exchanges) and the flicking to the appendix to see the ground layouts during the different days festivities.However, when the diary switches to that of a letter, there are some fascinating insights:“It is very easy to criticise others but far more difficult to put one’s own principles into practice, and it is when one forgets this truth, lauds oneself to the skies, treats everyone else as worthless and generally despises others that one’s own character is clearly revealed”(About the women in the High Priestess’s household)The poetry is beautiful and I delighted in the sparring nature of their composition and there is a strong melancholy running through the diary that Mursaki hints at.At the end of the two years covered by the diary, an important son has been born and festivities and ceremonies have been observed and documented, including details of the colours worn by the women at court and the roles played by different nobles and servents. However it seems that a full diary would have put this into context of Murasaki’s own life, which despite being written by her hand, seems just out of reach.Still I believe any inadequacies in the book will have been brought by myself, indeed it seems a bit silly wishing for more of the diary, when we are indeed lucky to have what we do, but perhaps it’s not something for a casual reader, or perhaps if I had a much stronger interest in Japanese history and culture I would have enjoyed it much more than I reviewhere )

  • Liz
    2019-05-16 05:19

    Murasaki, I could listen all day to your seesawing between bitching about the other women at court and attacks of shame at your own spiteful pettiness. the appendix of the edition I have includes excerpts from the diaries of other people who were present at the events Murasaki was recording, which cement my suspicion that men are boring.

  • Juliana
    2019-05-04 01:20

    I wrote about this book here:

  • Alex Pler
    2019-05-10 22:09

    La bloguera Murasaki nos abre la puerta de otro mundo, describiendo con detalle las modas y costumbres de la corte Heian. Es fascinante por recorrer un mundo desaparecido, pero le falta la profundidad que sí tienen otros textos de la época.

  • Hilâl
    2019-04-24 01:10

    Çok beğenerek okuduğum kitaplardan biri oldu. Beklettiğime üzüldüm biraz ama o arada Murasaki'nin en ünlü eseri Genji Monogatari'nin 2009 yapımı olan animesini izlemek istemiştim (aslında okumak istedim ama çevirisi yok Türkçe'de, bu kitaba öyle rastlamıştım zaten, Genji'yi ararken) ve onu da bitirmem uzun sürdü.Kitabımız Heian döneminde yaşamış, bazı araştırmacıların dünyanın en eski romanı olarak kabul ettiği Genji Monogatari'nin yazarı olan Murasaki Shikibu'nun nedimelik yaptığı dönemleri anlattığı 3 ciltten ( kitabın içeriği 3 kısımdan oluşuyor, orjinale yakın diye cilt kelimesi kullanılmış sanırım) oluşan, günü gününe yazılmamış, daha çok hatırat denilebilecek bir eserdi. Bu 3 cilt dediğim ana metin 76 sayfa, dipnotlar ve kaynakça da 20 sayfa ve çevirmenin eklediği dönemle alakalı 40-50 sayfalık bir kısım da var. Aslında orjinal metnin daha uzun olduğu düşünülüyormuş ama kanıt yok, zaten Murasaki Shikibu'nun adı bile bilinmiyor.Shikibu, günlüğünde prenslerin doğum zamanlarını, saray hayatını, tanıdığı insanlardan bahsediyordu. Hatta ana metnin çoğunluğunda nedimelerin kıyafetlerini anlattığını söyleyebilirim. (saray hayatında çok önemli olsa gerek) Ama Shikibu'nun üslubu öyle harika ki kitabı elinizden bırakmak istemiyorsunuz. Bu kadar betimlemeyi takmıyorsunuz (yani, aslında günlük bu değil mi, betimleme normaldir.) En sevdiğim kısım 2.cilt oldu, çünkü kendi duygularını ön plana çıkardığı kısımdı, Shikibu orada aynen şunu diyor: Bu şekilde ondan bundan bahsederek, kendisine ait hatırlanacak bir tek şeyi bile olmadan yaşayıp giden biri... Bu cümle beni fazlasıyla etkiledi, zira genel olarak Japon edebiyatından okuduğum kitaplardan hissettiğim yalnızlık ve yabancılaşmanın yansımasını gördüğümü düşündüm. Ama fazla uzunca bir kısım değildi bu duygu içerikli kısım.Heian dönemi Japonya'nın edebiyat alanında da fazlaca aktif olduğu bir dönemmiş, bu yüzden kitabın içinde geçen şiirler vardı, aslında bunlar atışma gibi, birbirine cevap verdiğin, gizli anlamlar içeren dizeler. Onları da okumak çok hoşuma gitti, zaten Karuta isimli oyundan dolayı biraz şiirlerine ilgi duyuyordum, belki bu kitabın vesilesiyle bu alanda farklı şeyler de okuyabilirim.5 yerine 4 vermemin sebepleri ise;, kitabın başındaki dönemle alakalı bilgilere rağmen bu konudaki bilgi birikimim yeterli değildi ve verim alamadığımı düşünmem,, Genji Monogatari'nin animesini pek sevmemiş olmam. Onla hiç alakası yok filan diyeceksiniz ama bilmiyorum, o etkiledi bence beni. :D Ama kitap versiyonunu Esin Esen gibi bir çevirmenle okuyabilsek keşke, Shikibu'nun dilini çok güzel yansıtmıştı çünkü.Genel manada bilgilendirici ve güzeldi. Tavsiye ederim ama Japon edebiyatına, hatta geleneksel Japon edebiyatına ilginiz yoksa, kesinlikle sıkıcı olacaktır.

  • Frimple
    2019-04-30 22:04

    This edition is very up front about what may well be its only major failing, it doesn't contain the poetry that Murasaki included throughout. Richard Bowring, in the extremely helpful and informative introduction, explains that he felt that they would not be of interest to the intended reader and that he didn't feel he was up to the task of translating them and maintaining their poetry and often very obscure meanings and references. I've, perhaps cruelly, taken off a star in recognition of their omission. Aside from that this edition is very good throughout. The translation is at the very least good enough to fool a layman like me and the footnotes well placed and helpful. I was tempted to skip over the introduction thinking that I knew enough about the Heian court but it also has details about the relations between court figures and relatively obscure historical events that give good context for what would otherwise be missed in reading.The appendices as well as containing the usual maps of Heian, palaces, and family trees, have lengthy extracts from other, admittedly much duller, contemporary chroniclers. Their perspective is as an interesting counterpoint to Murasakis own, especially as regards to the differing focus of men and women.Monstrously, and I feel I should remove all its stars for this, the book also makes repeated and alluring references to works like the Eiga Monogatari [inexplicably translated as Tale of Flowering Fortune] and Fujiwara Michinaga's own diary. Which are out of print and not translated into english respectively. Now I am left like a hungry ghost, wanting more but unable to ever satisfy the lusts it's planted within me.

  • Isobel
    2019-05-07 00:04

    It feels rather odd reviewing someone's diary; you can hardly critique the plot or characters, and I doubt it was written in the hope of being a great literary work, so it would be strange to comment on the language and form. I guess what I can talk about is my enjoyment of the book, and how it made me feel.Lady Murasaki is often credited as having written the first ever novel, The Tale of Genji, in the 11th century, and I was interested in reading a snippet of the life of a woman who lived during this period in Japan, as it is fairly undocumented from a female perspective. Murasaki's writing gives a sense of her feelings towards the people and surroundings, in a very short and readable series of vignettes. I especially loved her opening description of autumn and her later descriptions of some of the women around her.This was a very beautiful read, and it is fascinating to hear from the woman who wrote the first ever novel, purely from a feminist perspective - knowing that a woman wrote the first novel casts an interesting light on the art that later became so male-dominated. Hearing more of her life as one of the few woman of the era who knew Chinese, and therefore understood more of the government's workings than most other women at the time, is wonderful. A good read for anyone interested in feminist writing, or Japanese history and classics. 4 stars for my love of the way she thinks and my enjoyment of the book.

  • USS
    2019-04-23 23:05

    I wanted to read a non-Western memoir and a memoir from Japan's medieval era (the Heian period), a delicate, diaphanous world of gossip, court frivolity, fastidious fashion, and secret musings and longings. Murasaki Shikibu is known for writing the world's first novel, and reading her vignettes about her daily life at court are a treat. She does have a pensiveness about her, a pervasive melancholy, but it's an exquisite melancholy to be adored. This memoir contains beautiful sentences and observations on nature and what people were wearing--I find it incredible that her memory was able to note every single color (dozens of them) on what every courtier, minister, attendant, and lady in waiting was wearing, in addition to the way that they were wearing it. The poetry in this diary is beautiful as to be expected. This diary is a window of another world. Not as good as Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book, but certainly a worthy entry in the corpus of Heian era literature.Thus completes the memoir entry for my Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge.

  • Douglas
    2019-05-20 03:05

    I read The Diary of Lady Murasaki in preparation for another attempt on The Tale of Genji. The Diary is a slight work in every sense of the word, registering at 66 pages (not counting the 44 pages of introductory material, well put together by Richard Bowring). You think the English Royal family has it tough? Japanese court life was (and by all accounts, to some degree still is) incredibly insular and stultifying. And it was doubly tough on the female members of the royal family and their entourage. Bowring summarizes it best thusly: "Amid a certain magnificence, [Murasaki] also found drunkenness, frivolity, back-biting, and a general sense of life being wasted." The charms of this book are mostly found in Murasaki's inward reflections, as well as her detailing the everyday life of a very special sub-culture literally a millennium ago.

  • Jane Tara
    2019-04-26 05:06

    Quite a wonderful read, although I'm still a card carrying member of team Sei Shonagon over Murasaki.

  • Bender
    2019-05-19 03:17

    Non vel officiis aut placeat ab. Dolor placeat neque. Ex et perferendis repellendus. Doloribus et beatae occaecati necessitatibus quasi ut. Ipsum aut qui quas consequuntur voluptatem.

  • Zoe Byrne
    2019-05-08 02:03

    A fantastic snapshot of the thoughts and feelings of a lady a millennium ago.

  • Zeynep Bal
    2019-05-02 22:23

    inanılmaz güzel bir kitap. Esin Esen'in girişinde verdiği bilgiler kitabın okunmasını kolaylastirmakla birlikte Heian dönemi ile ilgili ciddi bilgiler edinmenize sebep oluyor.

  • David
    2019-04-23 01:09

    Som historiskt dokument är det uppenbarligen en viktig bok (även om förhållandevis många dagböcker från denna period tycks ha bevarats) som beskriver dagshändelser vid hovlivet i Japan under 1000-talet. Det har också en viss charm att läsa fragment om de små intriger och konflikter som ägde rum som påminner om att vi människor trots de stora förändringarna samhället genomgått sedan den tiden på många sätt är desamma som vi var då.Problemet med boken, som med många dagböcker, är att det är fragmentariskt och saknar röd tråd. En mängd personer och händelser rusar förbi utan något större sammanhang. Det gör att det en aldrig riktigt "kommer in" i boken. För mig som läste den inför att någon gång läsa Sagan om Genji gav den inte särskilt mycket. För någon intresserad av det japanska hovlivet under denna tid lär det finnas bättre sammanfattande verk av historiker. Om en har en inblick i hovlivet under denna tid och till det vill läsa om detta från en individs perspektiv så kan denna bok vara värd att läsa. Jag lägger dock ifrån mig boken utan att den gett något större intryck.

  • Carlos Recamán
    2019-04-27 22:19

    Si por alguna esotérica razón eres un freak impenitente del Japón Heian, el diario de Murasaki es mucho más interesante que cualquier libro de historia. La edición es preciosa: detalladísima (¡con la faja y las letras y la contra en color morado!), bien corregida y llena de notas explicativas, transcripciones en hiragana y rōmaji, mapas y hasta árboles genealógicos.Eso sí: cualquier persona que no ame Japón profundamente odiará el libro.

  • Mariam
    2019-04-25 04:02

    It was interesting because despite how old it is, in the end it felt modern. The same emotions, the same ideas expressed. I felt for when she felt depressed and really identified with how she felt about the tale of genji. There was a LOT of descriptions of women’s robes and their colors.

  • Brielle
    2019-05-03 02:03

    What a melancholy woman. I feel she lived very much inside her own head.

  • Luana Coelho
    2019-04-27 04:11

    Estou gostando do Genji Monogatari, mas... Desculpa Murasaki, entre o seu diário e o Livro do Travesseiro, sou mais o da Sei Shonagon :p

  • Gulay Avsar
    2019-05-15 03:11

    I found this book funny and warm. She shows her thoughts and feelings of the time. She is rule- bound and good narrator.

  • Colin
    2019-04-21 01:11

    Nothing has really changed in the last thousand years.