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Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji – Philosophical Perspectives - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji: Philosophical Perspectives

James McMullen


Abstract The Tale of Genji, written by a Murasaki Shikibu, a female courtier commonly celebrated as a genius, is the greatest work of Japanese literature and has fascinated readers for more than a millennium. It depicts a court life of great sophistication over four generations, concentrating on the ascendancy of a gifted son of an emperor and his relationships with numerous women. Its psychological depth and brilliant narrative technique have astounded critics and general readers alike. Outside Japan, however, little attention has been paid to the philosophical assumptions underpinning this c ... More

Keywords: Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu, Heian court, Confucianism, Buddhism, interiority and exteriority, calligraphy, gardens and nature, gender and performance

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190654979
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190654979.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

James McMullen, editor
Fellow Emeritus, Pembroke and St. Antony's Colleges, University of Oxford