It will put the facts of this book in a functioning albeit fictional setting, giving one the chance to experience epiphanies as the once unfathomable plot twists become clear. Now that imagery may raise some brows, but unless you have a lot of patience you won't stick around in hopes of some unique antics. I believe the final chapters, those set years after the deaths of Genji and the character Lady Murasaki, are written in too different a style and from too different a point of view to have come from the same pen. It was however impossible and as the second best, Emperor Reizei later gave Genji nearly the same rank as an abdicated emperor. Or for that matter, any history. But almost all of it was a front to rank hogging inside the court structure.
She gave me this book as a present when I was a teenager, and up to the last years of her life she always spoke about this book. Why is it that I think that it's so unfortunate that these are basically the men that I providing me with all of my cultural information on Japan? A young man falls in love with his stepmother at first sight -- even though they had lived in the same household his entire life. That's what I'm judging it on. The last two chapters of the book deal with Murasaki and The Tale of Genji. Thanks to a recommendation from D. The members of the Japanese court have, indeed, lived opulent lives, concerning themselves with works of art aside from their primary occupation of managing lands and came to depend on a system of private estates shoen for revenues.
Similar ceremonies are carried out in the temples and private residences. Sure he discusses the time before and after and changes during the Heinan period but it feels to much for my taste as a frame, a well developed frame of a period in Japanese history namely the 11 century. Ultimately, Morris' book will aid in heightening the experience of reading the work of Murasaki and Shōnagon even Lady Sarashina. An excellent window into the circumstances surrounding the Tale of Genji, as well as insight and information regarding the historical and societal context of the novel. None of this is really Morris' fault; he was writing for a specific audience.
The describes him as a superbly handsome man and a genius. And because a young emperor was a malleable emperor, they normally had the emperor abdicate early to keep the emperor on the throne young plus it divides the court. I can appreciate this and I think it works to set the tone and make the book stand out as one of the rare history books that can really take one back in time and understand those living in the past. I've also chosen this particular country as an intellectual interest and focal point because it's a notoriously difficult culture to understand, and the spoken and written language is incredibly complex and beautiful. Morris's slim volume is an attempt to provide a much needed context that will enable the general reader to better appreciate this world and its customs and thereby the novel that sprang from them.
If you think that, this book will be a very useful corrective. Because they didn't grow up in Japan. Imagine taking a 5 mile detour to your lover standing on the other side of the road. This is a broad look at the Heian Era of Japan, and specifically, the court life at the capital. But despite all that, a period that lasted close to four centuries without any bloody wars and invasions to boast of is bound to leave impressions unknown elsewhere.
There is a lot more information about the history of Heian Japan, how the Fujiwaras took power, and how romantic relations were conducted back then. Furthermore, the book offers the key to the fatalistic turn of mind of the aristocracy, drawn upon heavily in the Heian literature. After the introduction, we start the book proper. It was first published in 1964, and reads like it was first published in some mythical 1954 when White People other than Ivan Morris, of course thought The Nips were all Emperor crazed psychopaths just waiting to Kamikaze down from the skies. But one of the important things to keep in mind is that, this book is the interpretation of the Heian period as gleaned by Morris from surviving literature and other cultural paraphernalia.
It starts with an argument about how creative and sophisticated Heian high culture was, not a copy of something else. Perhaps that was an intentional style. Offering readers detailed portrayals of the daily lives of courtiers, the cult of beauty they espoused, and the intricate relations between the men and women of the age, The World of the Shining Prince has been a cornerstone text on ancient Japan for half a century. There is no talk of treacherous plans or assassinations in court crevices, but the ruthless politics behind the facade of etiquette and decorum makes the reader aware of the controlling force that runs the imperial court. That, and I'm really just a huge fan. He received a doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London.
Here is an excellent example of Morris paraphrasing the aspect of otherworldly salvation to be found in the practice of Buddhism. The other element that should be taken into consideration during the Heian Period is the position of women in the society. Women can have freedom only if they can keep up with the challenges freedom entails. Yes it is slow paced, but that's what allows things to sink in better. Morris quotes portions of her diary in which she noted her use of her wits to escape the attention of a powerful courtier and argues for her greater serious over her more gossipy contemporary, Sei Shonagon. This book also reminded me that there are other contemporary works, namely The Pillow Book and Essays in Idleness.
Indeed, in the political sense, the period is known for the height of control of the noble families. The fossilized, impotent capitol police and bureaucracy were increasingly unable to keep order and, while a separate warrior class had yet to develop, provincial military and manorial families were developing into a 'second aristocracy'. The book won awards and sold well, and after reading it, I can say it's all well deserved. It was a brilliant climax. He is largely successful in this endeavor, and his book contains a wealth of fascinating detail that is rarely dry or boring.
There is the overzealous foodie, who, so enamored with asian cuisine, will immerse themselves deeply in the culture just for a chance to eat more exot Like many other cultural stereotypes, I associate so many negative characteristics with the Gaijin. The Heian Period of 10th century Japan, which was far removed from the shared trends observed across histories, did pass on the one thing it upheld above everything else. By making them Japanese, they managed to develop a unique culture of their own. All thanks to this book. Before then, however, it provides the court life it was set in -- mining both it and the contemporary Pillow Book, also by a court lady, for information.