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Envisioning the Tale of Genji: Media, Gender, and Cultural Production Paperback – July 28, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0231142373 ISBN-10: 0231142374

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (July 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231142374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231142373
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,508,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This interesting book offers the most comprehensive history of the reception of the "Genji"

(Japan Times)

[A] rich anthology.


A thought-provoking study of a seminal work.

(Melinda Takeuchi Impressions 1900-01-00)


Crossing the premodern-modern divide, this collaborative work provides a comprehensive history of the reception, interpretation, and adaptation of the Genji. Particularly laudable is the book's attention to visual transfigurations of the text. It leaves one amazed by the phenomenon that is the Genji across time.

(Sonja Arntzen, University of Toronto)

More About the Author

Haruo Shirane was born in Japan and grew up in the United States. He had an interest in writing fiction and started as an English literature major in college, but in his junior year, after a year in London, he turned his attention to Japanese literature. His first book was on The Tale of Genji, which is noted as the world's "first novel." The Bridge of Dreams: A Poetics of the Tale of Genji looks at both the similarities to the modern European novel and at the very distinct differences, examining the Tale of Genji in a broad social, political, and literary context. His next major book was on Matsuo Basho and haiku. Here he begins with a comparative framework, looking at the North American and European reception of Japanese haiku and then goes on to show the highly unusual manner in which this poetry emerged and the cultural base on which it stands. The most recent book, Japan and the Culture of the Four Seasons, continues this trajectory, but carries it into various literary, visual, and artistic genres. He is interested in particular in the major role that nature and the four seasons has in Japanese culture.

In between these books, he has written two books on Japanese classical grammar, edited a number of anthologies of Japanese literature, and edited two volumes of essays on the issues of canonization and popularization of the Japanese classics.

Haruo Shirane is Shincho Professor of Japanese Literature and Culture, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, at Columbia University. He writes widely on Japanese literature, visual arts, and cultural history. He is particularly interested in the interaction between popular and elite cultures and the issue of cultural memory. He is the recipient of Fulbright, Japan Foundation, SSRC, NEH grants, and has been awarded the Kadokawa Genyoshi Prize, Ishida Hakyō Prize, and the Ueno Satsuki Memorial Prize on Japanese Culture.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Anonymous on November 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lots of great information, but pretty dense with allusions and references. Prior Japanese culture/Tale of Genji knowledge necessary.
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