Murasaki Shikibu: Genji Monogatari [The Tale of Genji] (4718 words)


The Genji monogatari (The Tale of Genji; hereafter the Genji), attributed to a writer known as Murasaki Shikibu, is a fictional narrative from as far back as 11th-century Japan. It is authored in a form of Japanese that requires annotations to fully grasp, even for many Japanese readers today. Despite this it still enjoys a place among well-known classical works both inside and outside Japan. It is not only studied at school and university but also in private reading circles. Furthermore, it is often described as the world’s first novel. But how did this come about, and what importance can we attribute to it today and in a historical perspective?

Focusing on its context and reception, the …

Citation: Jelbring, Stina. "Genji Monogatari". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 March 2020 [, accessed 18 September 2020.]

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