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Next Read-Along: The Tale of Genji

genjiAfter watching the Korean epic series Dae Jang Geum, which was based on the true story of the first female royal physician of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, I have been intrigued by the scheming and insidious insinuations of court life. Some of you have asked if I would host another read-along and what book I would select for the project. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu would be the next selection. I plan to peruse the most recent English translation (2001), by Royall Tyler, which tries to be very faithful to the original text. Deemed the world’s first novel, written in 11th century, The Tale of Genji is considered the pinnacle. The book, which contains a central character and a very large number of major and minor characters, delineates a sequence of events happening over a period of time covering the central character’s lifetime and beyond. It is known for its internal consistency, psychological depiction, and characterization. That the work does not make use of a plot; instead, much as in real life, events just happen and characters evolve simply by growing older, is reminiscent of the 16th century Chinese classics The Dream of the Red Chamber. Each of the 54 chapters may be read as an individual story. I am contemplating a very easy pace of just reading two chapters a week starting in June.

Would you like to spend the summer in Japan?


24 Responses

  1. I’m definitely in! Thanks for the tip on the translation.. that’s what I’ll be getting then, too. And thank you for starting in June.. too much on my hands till May. The two-chapters-a-week pace is just perfect.

  2. Love the two pages you posted here. Sounds fascinating and I’ll be following along while you read it!

  3. This would be a facinating read, and will love hearing about it. I will probably pass on the read-along, while I catch up on my reading challenges, on which I am woefully behind!

  4. Woohoo! Count me in for this one. I’ve been wondering if you’ll pick this book!

  5. This is a book I’ve been wanting to and meaning to read for a long time, so….I take a deep breath…count me in.

  6. We have a copy of this sitting in our TBR pile at the moment – it’s entirely likely that Tony will join in!

  7. Oh I think I might be very tempted!

  8. This seems like an excellent choice to read with others, seeing as it’s so incredibly long and at times complicated.

  9. Sounds interesting.

  10. claire:
    I was debating between Les Miserables and The Tale of Genji. The former seems too grim for the summer and that I haven’t read much of Japanese literature, I decided to go for Genji. I suppose June also would work better for many of you. 🙂

  11. Staci:
    That would be very exciting. This one will be a lengthy read-along as I’m only planning on 2 chapters a week. 🙂

  12. Sandy:
    Make sure you follow our discussion and reading posts. The Tale of Genji is also available in a pictorial edition, if you’re interested.

  13. John:
    I’m excited you’re going to join us buddy. 🙂

  14. Amy @ My Friend Amy:
    I’ll keep you posted on the details of the read-along. Thanks for your interest in the read-along, glad to you with us. 🙂

  15. Steph:
    That’s great to hear. I saw that he has read The master and Margarita…whose review I have to catch up on. 🙂

  16. iliana:
    Join us, join us, join us! 🙂

  17. Biblibio:
    It’s 1238 pages long! It’s a long epic with the same characters but touching on various themes. Would you consider reading along? 🙂

  18. Greg S:
    Are you interested? 🙂

  19. I was planning to read it in August, but I love having people to read books with, so am very happy to move my plans forward!

    I’m in!

  20. Jackie (Farm Lane Books):
    Great! I’m so excited you’ll join us. I love reading with people so they can keep my accountable. 🙂

  21. Re: tale of Genji. Yes, count me in. Do you recommend a particular translation.

  22. I think I’d be interested, but I’d like to read the copy that’s been sitting on my shelf for the past few years rather than pick up a new one.

  23. […] sit idly on the shelve since it was free from the gift wrap. In addition to the June read-along of The Tale of Genji, I’m planning to read books that are discussed in Mendelson’s book. Jane Eyre, which I […]

  24. How does the read-along work exactly? Do we just all read the same book and post entries on our own blogs?

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