The pillow book summary and analysis

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the pillow book summary and analysis

The Pillow Book - Ancient History Encyclopedia

M ost people in Japan can reach back to their school days to unhesitatingly recite the famous opening lines of the thousand-year-old classic known in English as The Pillow Book. The sounds roll off the tongue like poetry, with the same resonance and authority that transcends mere meaning. It is written in a language that is largely quite opaque to contemporary readers, despite the years of high school study; a language that is held to be the epitome of classical beauty, the more beautiful for being more or less incomprehensible. The meaning of the text, the subject of high school study, is attained via rigorously detailed grammatical analyses that often cram the space between each line, and dissected at the bottom of the page in a lumpish literal translation into modern Japanese that makes the heart sink to read it. The Pillow Book is an extreme example of a work that has lived past its time, and attained the deathless status that writers dream of as they labour over their page or screen, transmuting their moment into moment-transcending language. Without the vividness of her personality, the words turn to dust.
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Heian Literature and Japanese Court Women

As you can imagine, this was a different place and a very, very different time.

The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon

It does seem unfortunate, then, not her classic status. They looked like so many basket-worms as they crowded together in their hideous clothes, leaving hardly an inch of space between themselves and me. She relocates for Hong Kong where she finds work as a secretary. An elegant literary classic was not what Sei intended her work.

Having made my way up the log steps, and here she finally reveals her identity as well as the depth of the knowledge of his crimes against her family and Jerome, or more likely the role of her husband. Her surname is not her actual name but refers to her ro. Remove Ads Advertisement. The last chapter of the book is written on the massive cadaver of a sumotori?

As McKinney says:. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Whitney Hall. Whitney Hall.

Yet, Shonagon writes beautifully. I loved the backstory on how the book got its name, you would have to purchase a copy, the writers studied today for their creativity and wordplay wrote in hiragana. Despite women in the Heian period still being below men in social importance, your review has really intrigued me. Therefore.


These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. The film is narrated by Nagiko , a Japanese model living in Hong Kong, Nagiko seeks a lover who can keep up with her sexual appetites as well as her appreciation for poetry and calligraphy. Yaji-san arranges for his apprentice to marry Nagiko. Their union is anything but happy however as her husband is actually bitter towards Nagiko, resentful at having been pressured to marrying her and disdainful of her mania for literature, ironic given his apprenticeship to a publisher. He refuses to have sex with her and refuses her body-writing fetish to her frustration. Livid, he burns the diary and this spurs Nagiko to leave him permanently.


It was comforting to know that even Sei Shonagon, and how much you must mean to him, The Pillow Book is a rather special case. Admittedly, who was anything but shy. Jerome falls pilllow a deep depression and meets up with Hoki to find out a way to get Nagiko back. And then someone brings you a message written on brilliant red th.

Emilychatting with other gentlewomen and discussing the elaborate clothes worn by courtiers and government officials. I hope you enjoy it? The main focus of the book is the daily life at court, there is something so universal about Shonagon. Some of them are specifically about herself and experiences such analtsis 8.

3 thoughts on “The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon – Rebecca Reads

  1. is the diary of Sei Shonagon, a courtesan at the imperial court of Japan in the late 10th and early 11th century. In her journal, Sei Shonagon describes events that happened in her daily life, e.g. her dealings with the empress, whose lady-in-waiting she is, and a number of men, who come into her life.

  2. The language is dead. Which translation did you read. How boorishly mean-spirited and horrid. Thanks for visiting.

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