By Sei Shōnagon, Ivan Morris
'The Pillow booklet of Sei Shonagon', a casual diary of the memories of a lady-in-waiting on the courtroom of a Heian Empress.
The Pillow booklet of Sei Shonagon is an immensely distinctive account of courtroom lifestyles in eleventh-century Japan. Written on the peak of Heian tradition, it's a vintage textual content of significant literary good looks, filled with full of life anecdotes, funny observations, and sophisticated impressions. Sei Shonagon used to be a modern and erstwhile rival of girl Murasaki, whose novel, the story of Genji, fictionalized the courtroom lifestyles that woman Shonagon captures so vividly in her diary. The Pillow booklet includes her reflections on royal and spiritual ceremonies, nature, pilgrimage, dialog, and poetry. woman Shonagon stocks personality sketches and the issues she either loves and loathes. Her type is so eloquent, her wit so sharp, even the briefest fragments enchant us. there isn't any greater advent to the day-by-day preoccupations of the Heian higher classification, and Ivan Morris's notes and contextualization improve the cloth for students and common readers.
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Extra resources for The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Small wonder that the young men regard them as immodest 1 Yet are the gentlemen themselves any less so ? They are not exactly bashful when it comes to looking at the great people in the Palace. No, everyone at Court is much the same in thiS respect. 39 Women who have served in the Palace, but· who later get married and live at home, are called Madam and receive the most respectful treatment. To be sure, people often consider that these women, who have displayed their faces to all and sundry during their years at Court, are lacking in feminine grace.
Soon the child starts crying for her. One tries to comfort it by games and other diversions, and even sends a message to the nurse telling her to return immediately. ' This is not only depressing; it is no less than hateful. Yet how much more distressed must be the young man who has sent a messenger to fetch a lady friend and who awaits her arrival in vain 1 It is quite late at night and a woman has been. expecting a visitor. Hearing finally a stealthy tapping, she sends her maid to open the gate and lies waiting excitedly.
I like a cat whose back is black and all the rest white. 20. The Driver of an Ox-Ca"iage The driver of an ox-carriage should be a big man; his greying hair should have a slightly reddish tint, and his face should be ruddy. He should also look intell~gent. Attendants and escorts should be slim. I prefer gentlemen also to be on the slender side, at least when young. Stout men always strike me as sleepy-looking. I like page-boys to be small. They should have beautiful hair that hangs loosely, lightly touching their necks.