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The Tale of Genji (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Murasaki Shikibu , Royall Tyler
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $5.01 (31%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Kindle Edition $10.99  
Paperback, Abridged $12.48  
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Book Description

The original novel—a classic of Japanese and world literature and a stunningly beautiful story

Written in the eleventh century, this exquisite portrait of courtly life in medieval Japan is widely celebrated as the world’s first novel—and is certainly one of its finest. Genji, the Shining Prince, son of an emperor, is a passionate character whose tempestuous nature, family circumstances, love affairs, alliances, and shifting political fortunes form the core of this magnificent epic. Royall Tyler’s superb translation is detailed, poetic, and true to the Japanese original while allowing the English reader to appreciate its timeless beauty. In this deftly abridged edition, Tyler focuses on the early chapters, which vividly evoke Genji as a young man and leave him at his first moment of triumph. This edition also includes detailed notes, glossaries, character lists, and chronologies

Editorial Reviews


A landmark event. -- The Wall Street Journal

Superbly written and genuinely engaging... one of those works that can be read and reread throughout one’s life. -- Liza Dalby, Los Angeles Times Book Review

Tyler skillfully catches the erotic flavor, the vivid characterizations, and the allusive poetry of this classic. -- The Philadelphia Inquire

From the Author

I made this abridgment at the request of the publisher of the complete work. The Tale of Genji is impossible to abridge effectively. Considering that the earlier chapters are by far the most widely read, these selections from the first seventeen chapters were simply the best that I could do. The process of abridgment required me to restore to the characters the traditional nicknames that I avoided in the full translation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 872 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0143039490
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic (February 28, 2006)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002FBBRE0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,212 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read!!!!! March 2, 2007
"The Tale of Genji" by Murasaki Shikibu is recognized as the world's first true novel. Written in the late 10th or early 11th century, it is a story of the life of "Genji", who is the son of an Emperor of Japan in the 9th century. Known as "The shining Prince", the story follows Genji's exploits over the course of his lifetime. The book gives insight into the lifestyle of a young, strikingly handsome prince who is revered by those he comes in contact with.

The true author, known as Murasaki Shikibu, was the daughter of a governor of several provinces. She is recognized as writing the entire tale, which consists of 54 chapters in its original format. Because all of the original versions were handwritten, the version we know of today are edited and compiled from multiple versions that were copied from the original, copied by an unknown scholar during the 13th century.

The story gives insight as to royal life during the time period. Its unabashed views of the lifestyle of Genji, and those around him, do not spare the reader of the downsides of royal life. In fact, much of what is portrayed in the book could be considered scandalous in nature, given the positions of importance many of the characters in the book have in Japanese society of that time period.

What strikes me as fascinating with this book is the obvious parallels to the life and human nature of those who live in today's world. The real life drama and adventure presented in this novel is compelling, if not somewhat scandalous. It is an absolutely compelling read, considering the time period it was written in, and it provides a fascinating look into the formality of royal life of the time period.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Bother August 6, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've been reading Genji for 50 years. I'm no scholar and do not read Japanese, but I have kept coming back to it. It is one of the world's greatest novels, and the earliest one. I have both the Waley and Seidensticker translations. I had hand surgery this summer and have been discovering the joys of one handed reading with my Kindle. I thought this an ideal time to revisit an old favorite. Wrong. This sad, truncated version lacks complexity, depth and charm. It breaks off incomprehensibly before the deaths of Murasaki and Genji, and the whole last third of the novel, the most psychologically interesting part, is missing. There are parts that Tyler usefully omitted, like those concerned with poor dreary Suetsumuhana, but if I had encountered it in this form 50 years ago I would never have given it a second reading. Also I think I do not like the translation as well, but that is a judgement formed without the ability right now to compare this version with the other translations. My advice is go for Seidensticker. The Waley translation is my sentimental favorite but he for some reason left out a chapter.

ps: I did enjoy the notes, but anyone wishing to understand the background would do well to read Ivan Morris' World of the Shining Prince.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Consistent issue with classic books on Kindle January 29, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
I agree with R Tyler, knowing the translation is crucial to choosing which version of a book to download. Poor information about editions and translations is a problem I consistently come across in selecting classic books on Kindle and there are many junk versions of classics out there. Amazon please raise the Kindle level of product information to match that of your paper copies. Without this, the utility of the Kindle will always be diminished.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What Tale of Genji? November 9, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
One star for incompetent advertising. Whose translation is this? How much of the complete work does it include? The author of The Tale of Genji is Murasaki Shikibu, not "Genji monogatari." Genji monogatari is the book's Japanese title. Besides English, there are translations into many languages other than Finnish. And most of the Finnish translation, which is not yet complete, is not by Marutei Tsurunen.
Amazon, please get your information right and give your readers fair, accurate, and useful information about the product.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Get it right, Amazon. July 26, 2010
By hja
Format:Kindle Edition
I share the opinion of the two prior reviewers: Amazon needs improve the quality of the information on its electronic books. I have the Waley, Seidensticker, and Tyler translations in paper form. What I want is the Seidensticker and/or Tyler translations on Kindle so I don't have to carry those enormous tomes around. They're both hardcover books of well over a thousand pages each--Tyler is two volumes--and they weigh a ton. From the information given about this ebook Genji I'm not even certain what language it's in, much less which translation. Ebooks, for all their undoubted virtues, are completely useless when the publication information is so bad that consumers can't even tell what they're being asked to buy.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition: Abridge a masterpiece? September 26, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition
The hard cover version is nearly 1200 pages long while the Kindle edition is listed at 400 pages. How does the publisher/author justify cutting out 2/3 of what is judged a masterpiece of literature. I have the print edition and was looking for an electronic copy. I won't find it here.

Buyer beware.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Abridged September 27, 2010
By T. Ward
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This version was not labeled as abridged when I ordered it. Amazon please be more careful about things like that, I didn't really want the cliff's notes version. Hopefully they are cool with exchanging it.

Edit: They were indeed cool with exchanging it for the unabridged, even though I was past the usual return period!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Translation was easy to read
A classic Japanese story. Translation was easy to read. I enjoyed reading this
Published 6 months ago by Samantha English
2.0 out of 5 stars Unabridged usually does not mean including only one third of the total...
I was very dismayed to find so much of the unabridged book was not included. Next time I will look at the number of pages in the book for a clue. A real lesson in buyer beware.
Published on January 29, 2013 by Chalice D. Oleksiewicz
4.0 out of 5 stars You have to start somewhere
This is abridged.
That, with Tale of Genji, is not as bad as it seems.
You may wish to sample this wonderful story by reading this version. Read more
Published on October 18, 2012 by L. J. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Japan's 1st Great Novel: Tale of Genji
The Tale of Genji is a historical fiction book about Minamoto Yoshisune's relationship with his family and with his lovers. Read more
Published on November 3, 2011 by DJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Textbook
This textbook arrived quickly as I signed up for student speed, so to say. It was in good shape and packed very well.
Published on October 8, 2011 by Lisa M. Szeto
1.0 out of 5 stars Other Kindle Editions with translators identified
I tried, by process of elimination, to figure out the translator of this Kindle Edition also. Nothing conclusive, but there are other Kindle versions which do state their... Read more
Published on January 9, 2011 by nsc
3.0 out of 5 stars Abridged
This is a great novel but the kindle version is not labelled as abridged, which it is. Amazon needs to label kindle versions correctly.
Published on September 2, 2010 by Where's my order
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