Peaches and Plumbs Booksellers

Discovering Japanese Classical Literature


Discovering Japanese Classical Literature


Rather than presenting a conventional chronology of Japanese classical literature, the collection presented in Philip Dossick’s Discovering Japanese Classical Literature draws upon a wide variety* of material to demonstrate the creative scope and power of Japanese lyric poetry and prose narrative through the ages.

 How and when did this body of Japanese literature come into being?

 What helped shaped its creation?

The book uses the figure of Murasaki Shikibu as a recurring standard, as her work influenced every Japanese master who came after her, whether they wrote prose or verse.

 *Includes the full text of The Tale of Genji.

Murasaki Shikubu (circa 978-1014) was a member of Japan's Fujiwara clan, which ruled during the Heian Period by providing the brides and courtesans of all the emperors.

Lady Murasaki's rare literary talent, particularly her skill as a poet, secured her a place in the court of Empress Akiko.

After the death of her husband, she cloistered herself to study Buddhism, raise her daughter, and write the world's first novel: The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari) a stunningly beautiful love story.

Consisting of 54 chapters, The Tale of Genji offers an unparalleled glimpse into the magnificence of the Heian era of Japan, which extended from 794 AD to 1191.

During this era of peace and stability, a classic age of art and literature flourished. The ruling classes lived lives of luxury and prosperity, pursuing the fine arts and music.

A man was measured as much by the quality of his poetry as by the strength of his sword.

In addition, the sampling of brilliantly selected poems included herein, reflect the profound, soul-nourishing genius of centuries of classic Japanese lyric poetry—an inviting introduction to the glory that is Japan.


PHILIP DOSSICK is the New York Times critically acclaimed writer and director of the motion picture The P.O.W. He has written for television, including the outstanding drama, Transplant, produced by David Susskind for CBS. His most recent books include Aztecs: Epoch Of Social Revolution, Sex And Dreams, Mark Twain In Seattle, The Naked Citizen: Notes On Privacy In The Twenty-First Century, Lurid Tales & Classic Oddities, Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, Remembering Henry David Thoreau, The Deposition, Vincent Van Gogh: Madness And Magic, Oscar Wilde: Sodomy and Heresy, Abraham Lincoln: 5 Speeches that Changed America, Lenny Bruce: The Myth of Free Speech, Times That try Men's Souls: Henry David Thoreau and Thomas Paine on Slavery and Civil Disobedience, Master and Protégé: Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, Ghost Dance Prophets: Wovoka, Lincoln, and Franz Boas, Voces de Libertad, Arrested! United States vs. Susan B. Anthony Regarding a Woman's Right to Vote, The Outline of History, Volumes I and II by H.G. Wells, and Gina and Frank - A Brief Conversation With Strangers.

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