Author Topic: translations of the pillow book and the tale of genji—-help please  (Read 224 times)

Lorraine Pester

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currently i have on kindle ::::

the pillow book translated by arthur waley

the tale of genji  translated by Suematsu

both are only partial translations. i should like the full translations.


i will have the buy paperback.
according to what i’ve read, the ivan morris translation is superior to that of meredith mckinney

what do you say?

lorraine
My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.   Nikos Kazantzakis

light pilgrim

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Hi Lorraine,

Wow, Genji on Kindle is quite amazing!

Ivan Morris's translation is good but the Penguin Classics translation by Edward Seidensticker, is excellent, all 1090 pages of it.

In addition, Ivan Morris's book The World of the Shining Prince is a brilliant portrayal of court life in the era covered by Murasaki in Genji and worthwhile as it gives an insight into the the kind of social, religious, cultural and political background to the world Murasaki creates in Genji. An example might be James Atherton's  The Books at the Wake: A Study of Literary Allusions in James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake". I found this very helpful in the background to the phenomenal literary, philosophical and social/cultural allusions that Joyce makes in his book.


Re The Pillow Book the Ivan Morris translation has quite extensive notes although I do find his Introduction, a tad patronizing. I haven't read the Waley translation.

light pilgrim
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 12:53:16 PM by light pilgrim »

Lorraine Pester

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hi light,

the kindle translations of both the pillow book and the tales tales of genji are only about 25% of the total text. i feel cheated.

waley admits in his introduction that he deliberately avoided passages that he deemed boring.

suematsu had @54 chapters in tales of genji and only translated @20 of them.

i thank you for your recommendations. i look forward to acquiring the editions you suggest.

lorraine
My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.   Nikos Kazantzakis

light pilgrim

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Hi Lorraine,


This sounds very frustrating. The Genji is a huge work and I wonder which parts of this extraordinary novel are missing. The Pillow is not long so 25% of this would mean quite drastic cutting. You're right to feel "cheated."
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the kindle translations of both the pillow book and the tales tales of genji are only about 25% of the total text. i feel cheated.


I suppose translators do make such decisions but I would still find this frustrating although Waley has his fans:
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waley admits in his introduction that he deliberately avoided passages that he deemed boring.


Morris believed that the final chapters were missing while Seidensticker thought that the novel was incomplete :
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suematsu had @54 chapters in tales of genji and only translated @20 of them.



My pleasure. I hope you will enjoy the Edward Seidensticker translation in Penguin paperback. There are Waley admirers but personally I prefer Seidensticker's translation:
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i thank you for your recommendations. i look forward to acquiring the editions you suggest.


By the way, I didn't answer this question of yours in your original post as I wasn't sure if you were referring to Genji or the Pillow Book.
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according to what i’ve read, the ivan morris translation is superior to that of meredith mckinney

Mckinney has not translated Genji (as far as I know) but her Pillow Book is quite highly regarded. But again, Morris's translation is popular.


My apologies for the mistake here in my answer to the previous post:. I meant Waley's translation is popular not Ivan Morris, who has not translated Genji but has written extensively about Japanese culture and history of the period that Murasaki describes in her book. It would be fair though to say that Waley's translations of Japanese works are not as excellent as his translations of Chinese works.
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Ivan Morris's translation is good but the Penguin Classics translation by Edward Seidensticker, is excellent, all 1090 pages of it.

I have enjoyed this discussion so thank you for this.

light pilgrim

« Last Edit: May 22, 2021, 09:08:44 AM by light pilgrim »

Lorraine Pester

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thank you so much for coming back to this conversation.

the pleasure is all mine i should think

lorraine
My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.   Nikos Kazantzakis

pottygok

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I haven't seen it mentioned, so I'd recommend Dennis Washburn's Tale of Genji translation on Norton. It's unabridged, and considered pretty competent in terms of accuracy.

When we studied The Pillow Book in school, we used the McKinney translation, which I think is better than the Morris or Waley. I've also heard VERY good things about Henitiuk's research on this book, but have never read it.

Lorraine Pester

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thank you
My entire soul is a cry, and all my work is a commentary on that cry.   Nikos Kazantzakis