(The Tale of Prince Genji), a Japanese novel from the end of the tenth or beginning of the 11th century, by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady at the court. It consists of 64 chapters. The work is considered the peak of aristocratic court literature of the ninth to 12th centuries in Japan. Based on its content it can be divided into three parts: in the first, Genji’s youth and love affairs are described; the second deals with his mature years, his exile, return to the capital, the years of his glory, and his death; the third part is devoted to the life of Genji’s adopted son Prince Kaoru. The general idea of the novel is Buddhist karma (retribution). The image of the hero is idealized, but the other characters and the setting are described in a lively and realistic fashion. The novel influenced the development of Japanese literature; adaptations and imitations of Genji Monogatari appeared all the way up to the 19th century, and individual motifs were used in dramas.
REFERENCESKonrad, N. I. Iaponskaia literatura v obraztsakh i ocherkakh. Leningrad, 1927.
Vostok: Sbornik, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935.
Literatura Vostoka v srednie veka, part 1. [Moscow] 1970. Pages 274–79.
Genji-monogatari: Ikeda Kikan-kochu, vols. 1–7. Tokyo, 1955–56.
The Tale of Genji. New York, 1923. (Translated from Japanese by A. Waley.)
N. G. IVANENKO