The Tales of Genji

A Visual Companion
Melissa McCormick
Published by Princeton University Press

Melissa McCormick's illustrated companion is the perfect guide to The Tale of Genji, the 11th-century Japanese masterpiece by Murusaki Shikibu. 

Written in the 11th century by the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji is a masterpiece of prose and poetry that is widely considered to be the world’s first novel. Melissa McCormick provides a unique companion to Murasaki’s tale that combines discussions of all 54 of its chapters with paintings and calligraphy from the Genji Album (1510) in the Harvard Art Museums, the oldest dated set of Genji illustrations known to exist.

In this book, the album’s colourful painting and calligraphy leaves are fully reproduced for the first time, followed by McCormick’s insightful essays that analyse the Genji story and the album’s unique combinations of word and image. This stunning compendium also includes English translations and Japanese transcriptions of the album’s calligraphy, enabling a holistic experience of the work for readers today. In an introduction to the volume, McCormick tells the fascinating stories of the individuals who created the Genji Album in the 16th century, from the famous court painter who executed the paintings and the aristocrats who brushed the calligraphy to the work’s warrior patrons and the poet-scholars who acted as their intermediaries.

Beautifully illustrated, this book serves as an invaluable guide for readers interested in The Tale of Genji, Japanese literature, and the captivating visual world of Japan’s most celebrated work of fiction. 

Published by Princeton University Press

288 pages

224 illustrations

Hardback

262 mm x 185 mm

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