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The Tale of the Heike Paperback – March 1, 1990
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I have found that the best way to read the book is to treat oneself to the episodic nature of the chapters. This reflects the original format of the story; that it was expressed in minstrel style story-telling by the "biwa-hoshi" in nightly recitals. As such each segment of the story can be treated like individual pearls in a string, each complete and entertaining by its own merit but strung together to form the whole epic saga of the Heike. Attempts to read the book in the style of a conventional Western novel with its continuous narrative will result in frustration since the story seem to take many didactic excursions and side plots. This may also have been the rootcause to the earlier frustration of another reviewer who encountered too many characters to comprehend at one single reading. A similar experience can be found if a first time reader tries to read the Bible continuously from Genesis to Revelation.
The other great challenge in this translation is in its reference to the characters of the story. The long titles accorded to each individual felt cumbersome and unnecessary at first but as I continued reading I began to appreciate that the original narrators of the tale were relating to the traditional Japanese audience, not the modern reader.Read more ›
McCullough's translation is very good; her prose is compact, but maintains the poetic quality of the original texts with a minimum of distracting footnotes.
There is probably no other work more influential in the Japanese literature than the one presented here. It is a must read book should you want to learn about the Japanese medieval history and mentality. This work is presented in it's original tale genre of monogatari (story telling) but in order to get the best of your reading pleasure it is important to understand that this work was conceived to be played along with an instrument called the Heike Biwa resembling what it could be ancient epic poems by minstrels in the medieval Europe.
The tale is about the struggle between the clans of Minamoto and Taira for the control of Japan during the XII century, in the Heian period (794-1185). A period where the samurai spirt, the bushido, flourished.
We lost a great scholar when she passed away.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
To explain my selections: it's translated, it's a classic military tale & it's from the 12th centuryPublished 3 months ago by James F. Schultz
excellent! Book came the great condition and very fast. I am happyPublished 19 months ago by Miho Egnor
This book is interesting if you want to know some history of the Japanese culture, It is a translation of another book and it is very close to those writings.Published on December 22, 2011 by Tia
The translation for this books seems to be very good thus far, and it didn't take long at all to recieve it.Published on February 16, 2009 by Jessica A. Ahern