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Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics$
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Wm. Theodore de Bary

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153973

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153973.001.0001

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Passion and Poignancy in The Tale of Genji

Passion and Poignancy in The Tale of Genji

(p.220) 16(B) Passion and Poignancy in The Tale of Genji
Finding Wisdom in East Asian Classics

Wm. Theodore de Bary

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the major theme of Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, namely love and loss. The conversation that sets the tone for the whole of the tale takes place as if by happenstance: on a rainy night when nothing much is going on, Genji's good friend catches him sorting through some old letters and suspects that he might find in them some intriguing secrets of Genji's most intimate life. It ends up in an exchange of views, among them and other companions, concerning different women they have known, each of whom has some attractive features but each of whom also has some offsetting and off-putting defect.

Keywords:   Asian classics, Japanese classics, classic text, Murasaki Shikibu, love, loss, women

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