Murasaki Shikibu [key], c.978–1031?, Japanese novelist, court figure at the height of the Heian period (794–1185). Known also as Lady Murasaki, she is celebrated as the author of the romantic novel Genji-Monogatari [tale of Genji], one of the first great works of fiction to be written in Japanese and often considered the world's first novel. Written in long, flowing, lyrical sentences, it concerns the life and loves of Prince Genji and his descendants and is a subtle and thorough delineation of a complex society.
See her diary translated by R. Bowring (1982); classic translation of Genji by Arthur Waley (1925, repr. 2000); modern translations by E. G. Seidensticker (1976), R. Tyler (2001), and D. Washburn (2015).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Asian Literature: Biographies