It is often treated as the world’s first novel by the historians. Others treat it as the first modern novel rather the first psychological novel. All these debates regarding its stature arise because of its…
The novel was read aloud at the court and it became widely popular till date where its appeal has not yet abated. The novel is equally modern in its perspective and this essence has made it eternal. The novel has a wide feminist dimension and does not hesitate to protest the status of women of the time.
“The Tale of Genji” has been translated by many writers .The first partial translation was done by Suematsu Kencho. Edward Seidensticker made the first complete translation into English and the latest translation was made by Royall Tyler in the year 2001 which is a complete text in itself and doesn’t deviate much from the original one.
Royall Tyler’s superb translation is detailed, poetic and is quite faithful to the original Japanese tale. At the same time it also allows the English readers to appreciate the timeless beauty of Japan as well as the novel. In this extensive abridged text Tyler focuses on the early chapters which evokes Genji vividly as a young man and leave him at his first moment of triumph. Tyler doesn’t change the chronicle at all. He gives a true picture of Genji. Tyler describes him as the Shinning Prince and being the son of an Emperor, he was extremely passionate and of tempestuous nature. His family circumstances, love affairs, alliances and shifting political fortunes forms the crux of the novel. These elements are so exact and true in the translation by Tyler that it presents a two-tier of grand work on the same plane. It serves as an important thesis of Eastern History and at the same time it is a masterpiece of exquisite poetical work and a chronicle turned to drama. Tyler faithfully portrays the grand country life of medieval Japan and the enchanting King and Palaces of the land during the eleventh century.
Anyone who dares to translate “Genji” must be as much as a cultural interpreter as a linguist. Arthur Waley translated “Genji” in 1920’s and 30’s and Edward Seidensticker in 1976 and both of them ...
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